Pets allowed
Allowed with Restrictions
Elevation Gain
55.00 ft (16.76 m)
Trail type
1.30 mi (2.09 km)
Please respect the outdoors by practicing Leave No Trace. Learn more about how to apply the principles of Leave No Trace on your next outdoor adventure here.

One of the most diverse habitats in the Portland area also contains the oldest exposed rock in the area - 40 million years - in the form of dried lava flows of an ancient volcano, Elk Rock Island may be one of the most interesting and underappreciated gems in the area.

Formed by lava flows that predates most of the bedrock in the area by around 15 million years, Elk Rock Island today is a forested plug of past volcanic life, and is only accessible during times of lower flow in the Willamette as it requires crossing a land bridge to access the small island's interior. A well-defined path leads from the neighborhood corner past spring-fed wetlands and emerging views of the island and river, before reaching the edge of the land bridge crossing required to reach the island. During winter months and times of higher water flow, visitors may find the land bridge covered in water, making the island unreachable except by boat. 

However during drier and warmer months, the rough rock is exposed, allowing visitors to cross onto the island. Here, a variety of paths circle the island's perimeter, as well as heading into its forested interior. Shadeless clusters of rocks provide small platforms for swimmers during the hotter months, and a couple sandy/muddy beaches offer wading opportunities. 

Views of the surrounding landscape, including parks, homes, docks and railroad bridges decorate the area. Vernal pools around the island provide habitat to their own collection of species. And a couple trails head into the forested interior of the island, offering the chance to find quiet.

Elk Rock Island is definitely worth exploring. Additionally, after the City of Milwaukie took over the park from the City of Portland in 2016, additional features such as interpretive signs and a playground were built near the trailhead.

Visitors can find onstreet parking near the park, just make sure you're aware of where the No Parking signs are placed. 

Elk Rock Island is open for day use only.

Logistics + Planning

Preferable season(s)




Parking Pass

Street Parking

Open Year-round



Beautiful destination. Varied landscapes. Unique natural area.


Unreachable during certain seasons.

Trailhead Elevation

50.00 ft (15.24 m)

Highest point

50.00 ft (15.24 m)


Family friendly
Vault toilet
Near lake or river
Historically significant
Big vistas
Geologically significant
Bird watching

Typically multi-day


Permit required



Nearby Lodging + Camping


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