The start of spring brings a unique opportunity for a hike: The trillium-rich trails at Tryon Creek Natural Area. Accompanying the return of the robins and song sparrows, these beautiful three-petal flower are starting to bloom. The blossoms begin white and then change to a deep reddish purple as they age. These flowers are only found in moist forest settings, and mark the beginning of the new season.
Your hike begins at the Tryon Creek Nature Center. You will enjoy a comfortable descent on the well-marked Old Main Trail as you proceed 0.3 miles to the start of the Red Fox Trail. This path heads steeply downhill to the Red Fox Bridge across Tryon Creek.
Cross the bridge, enjoying views of the beautiful creek that is running quite fast and deep due to plentiful spring rains. Continue 0.1 miles on a gradual uphill to the start of Cedar Trail. Turn right onto the Cedar Trail and follow it as it winds through thick, mossy forest. The trillium are quite plentiful in this area, so enjoy their beauty as you proceed.
The trail initially goes uphill, and then heads down to Bunk Bridge, which crosses picturesque Park Creek. In about 0.5 miles you will reach the intersection with the Middle Creek Trail. This part of the park is less travelled, and you can hear owls hooting in the misty forest.
Turn right at this intersection, and go briefly downhill to Beaver Bridge, which spans Tryon Creek, offering more pleasant views of the water. After you cross the bridge, travel 0.2 miles to another intersection with the Big Fir Trail. Continue through the forest another 0.3 miles, enjoying the trillium, until you return to the Old Main Trail. Turn left and proceed 0.15 miles to return to the Nature Center.
Length: 2.2 miles
Difficulty: Moderately easy
Elevation gain: 400 feet
Highest point: 400 feet
Maps: USGS; Lake Oswego, Oregon City
Open to: hikers, runners, dogs on leashes
Passes and permits required: none
Directions: I-5 S From Portland 1. Head south on I-5 S 1.0 mi 2. Slight right to stay on I-5 S 2.9 mi 3. Take exit 297 toward Terwilliger Boulevard 0.2 mi 4. Keep right at the fork, follow signs for Terwilliger Blvd/Lewis and Clark C./V.A. Hospital and merge onto SW Barbur Blvd 0.1 mi 5. Turn right onto SW Terwilliger Blvd 1.3 mi 6. Slight left to stay on SW Terwilliger Blvd 0.3 mi 7. At the traffic circle, continue straight to stay on SW Terwilliger Blvd 0.8 mi 8. Turn right Destination will be on the right 0.2 mi