Just ten minutes from downtown Portland is the Portland Audubon Wildlife Sanctuary. This 172-acre protected area features four miles of family-friendly hiking loops, plenty of native flora, fauna, and wildlife, and can connect to the Hoyt Arboretum and Washington State Park. The sanctuary includes an interpretive center with informational exhibits and places to watch birds, a nature store, outdoor enclosures for bird viewing, and restrooms.
The trails are family and kid friendly, but dogs are not allowed on the trails at the Audubon Wildlife Sanctuary. Interpretive Center trail hours are 10 am to 6 pm Monday through Saturday, and 10 am to 5 pm on Sundays. The wildlife sanctuary is free and open to the public. Trail hours are from sunrise to sunset, so make a day of it by seeing the birds then using the Wildwood Trail to head over to Washington State Park!
The Audubon Wildlife Sanctuary features four main, small loop trails: Jay Trail Loop at 0.9 miles, Founders Trail Loop at 0.8 miles, Collins Trail Loop at 0.6 miles, and Collins/Founders Trail Loop at 1.3 miles. Hikers will experience tree species such as western red cedar, Douglas fir, vine maple, and western hemlock (there is even a small section of old-growth Douglas firs) with undergrowth made up of salal, sword fern, trillium, and thimbleberry. Birds living in the sanctuary include Northern Pygmy-Owls, Anna’s hummingbirds, Steller’s Jays, Pacific wrens, pileated woodpeckers, chestnut-backed chickadees, and a variety of birds from the thrush family. Along the wildlife’s floors you can spot salamanders, red-legged Frogs, rough-skinned newts, and Douglas squirrels.
The Jay Trail hikes along the Pittock Sanctuary, with the Wren Trail connecting both ends of the loop for a slightly shorter trek. There is also the option of adding the very short Ancient Forest Loop to this trail. Jay Trail connects to the Woodpecker Trail, which includes another optional short loop.
The Founders Trail begins from the parking area and travels around the Uhtoff section of the sanctuary. At the intersection of the Collins Trail you can turn right to head back to the visitor center. Turn left to hike the North Collins Trail around the Collins section of the sanctuary, which is the Collins/Founders Loop option.
The now 172-acre Portland Audubon Wildlife Sanctuary has come to exist largely through private family donations. In 1929 Portland Audubon acquired its first 12 acres through a purchase of a former dairy farm. In 1930 the Pittock family donated an additional 18 acres. In 1982 additional land protection created the 34-acre Uhtoff Sanctuary. In 2008 the 86 acre Collins Sanctuary owned by metro was added to the Audubon Sanctuary, and most recently, the Kehoe family donated 22 acres that added the Katherine Lynn Kehoe Sanctuary.
The Audubon Society of Portland is a non-profit environmental organization dedicated to conservation in Portland, Oregon. The group was founded in 1902 and incorporated by 1909, making it one of the oldest of its kind of organizations in the world. The society is named after John James Audubon, an ornithologist who painted and cataloged birds of North America for the publication of Birds of America.