Northwest Portland is a haven for outdoor enthusiasts, despite being situated near a major urban area. There are vast, sprawling parks just moments away, as well as mountain ranges, rivers and forests near Portland to keep hikers, cyclists and outdoor enthusiasts of all sorts entertained without having to drive for hours to arrive at a destination replete with fresh air, trails and terrain to tackle.
A 10-mile trip up Highway 30 from Northwest Portland takes outdoor enthusiasts to Sauvie Island, a destination with splendid natural beauty that provides hiking opportunities fit for all levels of endurance and skill. There are 12,000 acres of land that are environmentally protected as part of the Sauvie Island Wildlife Area, meaning the urban backdrop of Portland seems hundreds of miles away when hiking the island.
Because of the natural preservation efforts, a good majority of the island is habitat for various wildlife and aquatic life in the water bodies surrounding the island and within it. Sturgeon Lake comprises the island’s interior, meaning the hiking conditions are typically damp; bring appropriate attire for the mud likely to be encountered during a Sauvie Island hike.
It is worth noting that hunting is a popular Sauvie Island activity, and hikers ought to take caution when traversing paths and routes that are off the main roads (though there aren’t many in the area). Wild, predatory animals may be encountered at any time, so a good knowledge of what to do when encountering these creatures is vital for a safe hiking experience on the island.
As for human presence on Sauvie Island, there are often fellow hikers, cyclists, hunters and outdoor enthusiasts in the area, some with expert knowledge of the terrain and others visiting for the first time. The island is so vast, however, that the concentration of people pales in comparison to the residential and urban areas of nearby Portland and Vancouver; this means hikers should expect little contact with other parties and be sure to go prepared with a map, appropriate supplies and confidence in their basic survival skills.
Sauvie Island features very few man-made structures, and thus hikers ought to plan on bringing their own snacks and, if camping overnight, their own shelter. Cars are allowed on some parts of the island, though this is mostly a man-versus-nature area that pits a hiker’s natural gifts against water bodies, forestry and wildlife in the stead of convenience stores, motor traffic and helpful resources and destinations.
The island has a resource guide for anyone considering a visit, including details about camping permits and prices, getting to the island and historical information. Check out their website and the map below to determine the best means of reaching Sauvie Island and plan a hike today!