Roll on, Willamette! Doesn’t have quite the same ring as “Roll on, Columbia,” does it? That’s okay. I enjoyed a cloudy day walk this afternoon with Jackie Chan near the confluence of the two rivers in Kelley Point Park, feeling their power as I strolled. There are lovely pockets with tall trees, leaf-covered earth, then glimpses of river and birds, surrounded by occasional industrial honks or roars. Finally we reached the strand of sand.
Of course, Jackie Chan wanted the same thing he always wants. He saw me bring the chucker, so I couldn’t just tease him. The sand was deserted, so I threw the ball for a while, then got him back on leash and walked around more of the park. The place seemed empty.
I passed only one other group the whole time I was at the park. The cool, grey weather surely had something to do with that. No complaints here. A visit to Kelley Point makes for a unique walking experience in the Portland area, and I am sure I will return a few times a year.
Kelley Point Park lies at the confluence of the mighty Willamette and Columbia Rivers, and while nobody will confuse it with a hiker’s paradise, it’s a nice place to get away from the rat race in North Portland. As I was reminded by the helpful Portland Hiker’s Field Guide, it’s a great place to walk on the beach, so I went back out there a couple days ago with some neighbors.
First walking down the Willamette, then up the Columbia, there is probably at least a half mile of beach walking, which is unusual this side of the Oregon coast.
We occasionally passed fishermen and gawked at powerful tugboats and freighters in the river.
One recommendation: don’t make the mistake of parking at the first little pullout once you’re on the park road. Park at the second obvious lot, where a paved path begins. Create your own loop between paved path, beach, a dirt road near the northern parking lot, and a great meadow. It makes for a pleasant half hour or forty minutes of walking if you have no particular place to go.
If that isn’t enough of a hike, Kelly Point is about five minutes from the Smith and Bybee Lakes trailhead. You can walk further there, or get out the kayak.
On a sunny weekend, these two spots make a great combination of destinations. Just remember that no dogs are allowed on the trail at Smith and Bybee Lakes.