Monday, May 29, 2006

Tryon Creek State Park

My continuing series on Oregon's open and wild places brings us to an urban area. Or rather a wild oasis in the Portland urban zone. Within the city limits, down Terwilliger Blvd toward Lake Oswego there is a reserve of about 550 acres, with nothing but trails, creeks and lots of Douglas-fir and Cedar trees. It's called Tryon Creek State Park, named for the major drainage that flows through it.

The one thing that I noticed right off the bat was how dense the canopy was. Very shady on a bright day. If you enter the park from the Terwilliger entrance and drive down to the parking lot, there is a nature center (really more like a visitor center) with lots of displays to learn from and stuff to buy to support the park.

Obie's Bridge
The trails are well maintained, and though some of them are used for horses, the horse trails are very similar to the hiking trails, and are not quite as beat up as some state parks with horse trails. Either this is because of better maintenance, or possible because this is more of an urban park, there aren't as many people keeping horses nearby. There are over 15 miles of trails in the park, and all of them are worth going down. The Lewis and Clark trail going toward the Law School was my favorite.

Tryon Creek at Obie's Bridge
The park is a part of what used to be owned by Socrates Hotchkiss Tryon in the 1850s. After his death, the land was divided among his descendents and then sold to the Oregon Iron Company. The Iron Co. logged it for their foundry in Lake Oswego. There was a huge forest fire in 1900, and you can still see some of the charring on snags and stumps in the park. Friends of Tryon Creek Park was created after the 1960s, and eventually convinced the state to permanently protect it.

Dense brush over the river at High Bridge

Terry Riley Bridge


Anonymous said...

Ok, so i love tryon creek and all but when they say that it is well kept up, ya by the looks of it but when i was down there my daughter was running ahead of me and all of the sudden she began to cry so as a good mother i ran up there, she had stepped on a needle, and who knows what it had been used for, thankfully when the test results came back through the docter there was nothing threatnening on it but when you say clean you need to clarify that PLEASE!

thank you,
clean keeper!

Anonymous said...

that park is not clean, my daughter stepped on a needle......

Richard said...

I'm not really all that surprised. When I say well maintained, and perhaps clean, I am referring to the state of the trail, and obviously things like needles are not really visible to all first time users of the park.
But this is an urban park, and as such probably gets used by undesirable elements as well. It's thick canopy and dense forests probably invite lots of after hours activity and people not wanting to be seen.
So, know that it's a beautiful park, but be careful anyway. Thanks for the comment.