Camassia Natural Area

AreaPortland
Best time to visitMid-April through early June
Blooming NowUnknown
Elevation270-300 feet
Trail InfoLess than one mile loop, no significant elevation change
 PLANT LIST AVAILABLE
 ADDITIONAL PHOTOS
 Oregon Hikers Field Guide information
DogsPROHIBITED. Please respect this location by leaving your dog at home.

Description

Located on a rocky plateau above West Linn, the Camassia Natural Area was The Nature Conservancy's first preserve in the state of Oregon. Sculpted by prehistoric floods, this nature preserve is home to over 300 plant species, including several rare Willamette Valley species particularly White Rock Larkspur (Delphinium leucophaeum). Its namesake wildflowers -- Common Camas (Camassia quamash) and Great Camas (Camassia leichtlinii)* -- bloom profusely during April. Other species include Rosy Plectritis (Plectritis congesta), Large-flowered Blue-eyed Mary (Collinsia grandiflora), Western Trillium (Trillium ovatum), Western Saxifrage (Saxifraga occidentalis), and Oregon Fawn Lily (Erythronium oregonum).

The preserve's shallow soils support wet meadows, Oregon white oak-madrone woodlands, vernal and permanent ponds, and even a stand of quaking aspen.

The trail utilizes boardwalks, which can be slippery during the spring. There are also some sections which can be quite muddy earlier in the season, so I recommend hiking (or rubber) boots. Also, PLEASE stay on the trail and (as always) do not pick any wildflowers!

*Common Camas (C. quamash) and Great Camas (C. leichtlinii) can look very similar, so here are are some tips for distinguishing them:

  1. Common Camas is generally between six inches and two feet tall, whereas Great Camas can reach heights of four feet or more.
  2. As Great Camas' petals (tepals) dry and wither, they twist to cover and protect the seeds during the maturation process.

Directions

Take Interstate 205 to West Linn Exit #8. If you are driving westbound, turn left at the end of the exit ramp onto Highway 43 and go under the interstate. If you are driving eastbound, turn right at the end of the exit ramp onto Highway 43. If you are coming from SW Portland, drive south on Highway 43 (Macadam Avenue) through Lake Oswego to West Linn.

Turn uphill onto Willamette Falls Drive just before the gas station. If you cross the bridge over the Willamette River, you have gone too far!

In one block, Willamette Falls Road makes a 90 degree turn to the left... follow the sign for "Willamette Area". Continue on Willamette Falls Road for another quarter mile, then follow the sign for "Sunset/Rosemont" and veer right uphill onto Sunset Avenue. Immediately after crossing I-205, turn right onto Walnut Street. This street dead-ends at the Nature Preserve entrance and parking area. There is room for 4-5 cars. Please do not block any driveways if the small parking area is full.

NOTE: Dogs are not allowed anywhere within Camassia Natural Area!

Trip Reports

DateSubmitted by
05/08/2017 Karen Amann Talerico
04/29/2017Greg Lief
04/20/2017Greg Lief
04/08/2017Katie
Reports from previous years
05/12/2016Greg Lief
04/26/2016Greg Lief
04/12/2016Greg Lief
04/22/2015Greg Lief
04/15/2015Greg Lief
04/08/2015Greg Lief
04/01/2015Marianne Nelson
05/22/2014Greg Lief
04/23/2014Greg Lief
05/23/2013Greg Lief
05/09/2012Greg Lief
05/18/2011Greg Lief
05/04/2011Greg Lief
04/13/2011Greg Lief
05/24/2010Greg Lief
04/12/2010Greg Lief
05/11/2009Greg Lief
04/19/2009Rory Nichols
05/16/2008Greg Lief
06/06/2007Greg Lief
05/14/2007Greg Lief
04/28/2007Greg Lief
04/17/2007Greg Lief
04/10/2007Greg Lief

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Photo Gallery


Rosy Plectritis and Camas at Camassia Natural Area

Rosy Plectritis at Camassia Natural Area

Wildflower meadow at Camassia Natural Area

Large-Flowered Blue-Eyed Mary at Camassia Natural Area

Camas at Camassia Natural Area

White Rock Larkspur

White Rock Larkspur


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