The city’s first wildlife refuge is right next to Oaks Amusement Park.
A loop trail encircles the lake and good views of ducks, herons, eagles, and many songbirds can be had on the leisurely walk around the lake. There are no restrooms and only the paved bike trail along the dike is wheelchair accessible.
There are three commonly used meeting places: 1) Oaks Amusement Park parking lot located just north of the Sellwood Bridge on Oaks Park Blvd. Look for the Ferris Wheel. Easy access to the dike trail from this site. 2) Sellwood Park located on SE 7th at the top of the bluff overlooking the lake. Steep trail down hill to get to the lake. 3) Oaks Bottom parking lot on SE Milwaukie south of Holgate. Good place to meet in spring as the trail goes through good songbird habitat before getting to the lake. Birding Oaks Bottom can entail a lot of walking if we try to get all the way around the lake.
How to Get There: From the west side take the Sellwood Bridge east onto Tacoma Blvd. and follow signs for Oaks Amusement Park to get to the amusement park parking lot. For the Sellwood Park site, turn left off Tacoma onto SE 7th and follow it to the park. For the northernmost site on Milwaukie, turn left onto 13th from Tacoma, then left onto Milwaukie at the stoplight intersection. Look for the parking lot on your left
after about a mile.
This information excerpted from the wonderful resource, Wild in the City: A Guide to Portland’s Natural Areas edited by Cody and Houck.