Canemah Bluff Nature Park

So what is there to see at the Canemah Bluff Nature Park in Oregon City, Oregon? Start with meadows filled with spring wildflowers and views of Willamette Falls. Then add ferny forests and a historical graveyard to the mix for even more incentive to go on this 1.7-mile stroll. Camas lilies at Canemah Bluff Nature Park in April and early May steal the show, creating bursts of purple in a meadow on a landing above the Willamette River. Throughout the year, the thick forest in the rest of the park serves as a shaded retreat.

The name Canemah comes from the Native Americans' term for canoe, and it is derived from their word for canoe. The Clackamas People formerly inhabited Canemah and maintained a portage around Willamette Falls before settlers arrived. Willamette Falls was under Clackamas control, as well as access to the Lower Willamette River and Clackamas River.

The most difficult portion of the journey is the southern circuit, which includes Big Slide Trail and Licorice Fern Trail. With just two of the three loops completed, the trip may be shortened to less than a mile long with just 35 feet of elevation change. The first trail on the loop, Camas Springs Trail, follows alongside an overlook along the bluff above the Willamette River and passes grasses where spring wildflowers bloom.

The trailhead is Canemah Children's Park, which is a developed park that borders Canemah Bluff Nature Park. Even if you aren't interested in the playgrounds, picnic area, or basketball court, take the concrete walk around the park's authorized perimeter. To the right, as you leave the parking lot, this walkway bends around the eastern side of Canemah Children's Park and provides views north over downtown Oregon City and Willamette Falls, backed by the old paper plant, to the west. The roughly horseshoe-shaped waterfall is America's second biggest waterfall, after Niagara Falls, in terms of volume.

Continue around the Children's Park on a wide, well-groomed route that starts on the northwest side. For a tenth of a mile, Camas Springs Trail meanders through grassland and reaches a fork. A short extension from the path leads to a lookout at the base of Canemah Bluff. Walk above it and take in the stunning view of the Willamette River. McLoughlin Boulevard (99E) is just below the bluff, but out of sight, allowing you to enjoy a panoramic river view.

This is a great way to get some exercise with the family and explore something new!

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