Natural playgrounds don’t come much bigger than Sauvie Island — at 24,000 acres, the Manhattan-size isle is one of the largest river islands in the country and sits at the confluence of the Willamette and Columbia Rivers just 10 miles northwest of downtown Portland. And from one end to the other, families can find an entire day’s worth of adventures; it’s a hot spot for fruits and veggies, as well as a paradise for bird-watchers, beach-goers, bicyclists and kayakers.
Sauvie Island Hiking
For a quick nature excursion, take the Wapato Access Greenway State Park Trail, an easy two-mile loop that tours a seasonal lake. Among mammoth bigleaf maples and Douglas firs, you’re likely to spot at least half a dozen kinds of birds, including bald eagles. At the northeast end of the island, the seven-mile round-trip Warrior Rock Lighthouse Trail leads to a sandy beach with views of Oregon’s smallest lighthouse.
Know Before You Go
Oak Island Nature Trail is only open April 16th through September 30th.
The Oak Island Nature Trail is another delightful walk that takes you off the beaten path and into the tall island grasses. Winding through the fields near Sturgeon Lake and Steelman Lake, this 2.4-mile loop is dotted with Oregon White Oak trees, which can live to be 500 years old and serve as critical habitat for dozens of bird species found in the area like the black-capped chickadee and northern flicker woodpecker.
Sauvie Island U-Pick Farms
Getting lost is just part of the fun at the Pumpkin Patch. Open from June through the first week of November, the farm boasts two of the area’s largest corn mazes, including a “haunted” maze each fall, while a barnyard petting zoo and fields of U-pick berries make for sweet memories.
If you find yourself in Portland during berry season (June–August), don’t leave without sampling the Pacific Northwest’s sweet summer bounty.
Freshly-picked Pacific Northwest apples are a local favorite, and many Portland-area orchards allow visitors to pluck the fruit right off the branch.
With wine country in its backyard, Portland overflows with wine bars and urban wineries, offering special varietals from around the world.
No island visit is complete without a trip to Kruger’s Farm, which hosts a weekly summer concert series, a fall harvest party and free hayrides into the pumpkin fields. Adults have plenty of reason to cheer, too: On weekends, the Captured by Porches beer bus serves up fresh microbrews.
In the summer, grab a basket and head out into the berry fields for a pick-your-own adventure at one of Sauvie Island’s many berry farms. Choose from rows of strawberries, blueberries and blackberries, or discover the Northwest’s tasty hybrid varieties like loganberry and marionberry.
After a sunny day in the berry fields, head to Bella Organic Pumpkin Patch and Winery for a tasting of their unique fruit-forward wines and hard ciders. Rhubarb and cherry wines share the shelf with classic varieties like pinot noir and chardonnay, all of which can be combined into gift baskets with organic chocolates, hazelnuts and jams—a perfect souvenir for friends and family (or yourself).
Sauvie Island Beaches
On the north and east coast of the island, sandy beaches beckon swimmers and sunbathers. Enjoy a picnic on the sand or wade in the gradual, waist-deep waters of the Columbia River by the shore at the Reeder, North Unit, Walton, Collins and Warrior Point public beaches.
Catch sight of 200+ types of birds at the Portland area's dozens of prime bird watching destinations, including sanctuaries, refuges and urban parks.
Stay cool all summer long at these serene swimming spots, surrounded by the stunning natural beauty of the Pacific Northwest — and all less than an hour away from Portland.
Put on some comfortable shoes and start walking — you’ll be surprised how easy Portland makes it.