The Wapato Access Greenway Trail circles Virginia Lake, which sits at the heart of the 15-acre Wapato Access Greenway State Park on Sauvie Island. This 2.5-mile loop is a fantastic choice if you are in the Portland area looking for a quick escape. The trail is virtually level, stays very wide, and has plenty of places to stop and watch for birds and other wildlife. And this makes it an ideal hike for families with young children; you'll have plenty to explore, and you'll never be more than mile from the parking lot if moods and/or weather are working against you.
As you leave from the trailhead, stay right at the first junction to reach the sheltered picnic area and the path to an excellent viewing platform. There is also a bird blind just a little southeast from the platform. The trail spends some time along the Multnomah Channel, which breaks off from the Willamette River just before its confluence with the Columbia River. This is a prime habitat for birds, so bring your binoculars and watch for red-breasted sapsuckers, yellow warblers, pied-billed grebes, and great blue herons. Doubtless you'll also hear a few Pacific chorus frogs as well.
Less than a 30-minute drive from Portland, the Wapato Access Greenway does get some attention, especially on sunny days. Because of the heavy use this area receives, it is imperative to respect the land and other users. Dogs are allowed, but must be kept on leash for habitat protection, safety, and sanitation reasons. Please clean up after your pet. And note that there are no vault toilets, restrooms, or garbage cans at the trailhead.