1/17/12

St. John's Bridge to Sauvie Island - Deep NW


You know what's fun to do in the rain? Drive around and look at stuff from the comfort of your car. This sweet little day trip takes you across the stunning St. John's Bridge to Sauvie Island, where you can drive around admiring the countryside, bird watch, look at cute house boats, or see the sandy banks of the Willamette River.

Even if you live on the west side of town, drive to St. John's so your guests can marvel at its cute Main Street before going across one of the most stunning bridges in the NW. Ready to sound smart? Tell them this: the St. John's Bridge was built during the Great Depression and, at the time, had the highest clearance in the nation, the longest steel cable ropes, and was the longest suspension bridge west of Detroit. Because the bridge was so close to a small airport on Swan Island, it was almost painted yellow with black stripes.

Even better in person

Once across the bridge, hang a right onto US 30 to get to Sauvie Island. If you plan on parking anywhere, you will need to buy a $7.00 parking permit, so get Dad to open his wallet at the Cracker Barrel Store on NW Sauvie Island Road (about a half mile on your left after you cross the bridge to get on the Island). Have him pick up a map, too.

Sauvie Island is a dramatic change from the city with quaint farmhouses, vast fields, and rolling hillsides. If it's not raining too hard and your parents enjoy bird watching, go to the Wapato Access Greenway where they can see Cinnamon Teals and other cute-sounding word combinations/birds. Also, impress your parents by telling them that Lewis and Clark came across this island. They did, I swear; check Wikipedia.

Unfortunately, the Oak Island Nature Trail and other hiking trails are not open during the winter because Sauvie Island is rather marshy.


If you REALLY have a lot of time to kill, keep driving north on the island to reach Walton Beach where you can walk along the banks of the Willamette River. In the winter, it's kind of a "meh" experience, but at least you can say you did it.

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