Wapato Access is a 170-acre, day-use park along the western edge of Sauvie Island. The area is 30 minutes from downtown Portland. Take a walk on the 2-mile loop around Virginia Lake and watch waterfowl in winter, listen and look for birds in spring, notice tiny young Pacific chorus frogs and garter snakes in summer and enjoy the change of leaves in fall. Perhaps you’ll see coyote scat along the trail or signs of beavers near the lake.
Wapato Access has a variety of ecosystems and birds. Look for giant oak trees along the northern section of the access. You might hear a red-breasted nuthatch in the trees. A riverside forest grows along the Multnomah Channel, home to Pacific wrens and red-breasted sapsuckers. Many wetland plants are around and in Virginia Lake, where you might hear a marsh wren and common yellowthroat. Buffleheads, mallards, and wood ducks are common visitors to the lake.
A picnic shelter and tables is about a quarter-mile from the parking lot. Stop at the viewing platform and bird blind for a closer look at the lake or walk down to Hadley’s Landing and listen for belted kingfishers and osprey fishing from Multnomah Channel.
Wapato Access is part of the Willamette River Greenway system of parks and conservation areas managed by the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department. These areas were established in 1960s-1970s to protect and preserve the natural, scenic, historic and recreational qualities of lands along the Willamette River. Totaling nearly 5,000 acres on 90 parcels of land, these properties continue to offer places to recreate and enjoy nature near many communities in the Willamette Valley.