Lighthouse along the Columbia

The Warrior Rock Lighthouse isn’t very impressive, but it’s a nice goal for a hike.

Take a walk through lush fields and woods and along the sandy banks of the Columbia River. This trail is an easy walk along the edge of Sauvie Island in the Sauvie Island Wildlife Area. Depending upon whether you choose to walk along the shore or stay on the trail, take the loop at the end or not, the hike can be as long as six or seven miles, in and out. There are very few changes in elevation.

Parking for this trail requires an Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife day pass, but you can buy this pass at the grocery store on the island right when you cross the bridge.

Warrior Rock Lighthouse Trail

Rating: Easy peasy

Panting stops: 0

Distance: 6-7 miles, in and out

Elevation changes: 42 feet

The banks of Sauvie Island

Part of the time taking this hike, we used a guide book that my friend brought. Because the trail sometimes follows an old road but has forks off to the water, we couldn’t always figure out where the trail was and the book’s instructions were confusing.

Reeder Road dead ends at the trail head where there is parking and a porta-potty. Park there. If you want to start the trail by going down to the river bank, go through the fence at the right side of the parking area and take the trail down to the bank. If you want to stay on the trail, go past the trailhead sign.

Some classic fairy tale mushrooms along the trail

The guide book we used advised branching off to the river bank immediately and following it up until the sand starts to vanish, where you rejoin the trail. We had a hard time identifying that point, because it said it was a beacon 3. It is actually between the 3rd and 4th beacon. If you choose to take part of the hike along the river bank, you will see a fence between you and the trail and then a cliff. You can rejoin the trail by climbing up a little bit after the cliff disappears and just before you get to the point where the sand disappears.

The trail becomes an old road, but it sometimes diverges. Most of the time, it doesn’t matter which way you go, although some of the divergent paths just take you back to the bank. However, once you are well into the woods and about three miles from the start, if you want to go directly to the lighthouse, take the path that diverges there. If you look into the woods, you can see a small birdhouse or bat house attached to a tree at that point.

The path varies from being an old road, at times overgrown (which is why we sometimes accidentally ended up on the trail when we meant to be on the road) and a path that goes from wider to narrow and lined with grass and brambles. However, none of it is difficult to navigate. If it has been rainy lately, though, boots are recommended.

The road makes a loop away from the lighthouse and then returns to it, so if you take the loop, you will go the full seven miles and see the lighthouse on your way back.

How to get there

Sauvie Island Wildlife Area, Sauvie Island, Oregon

From Portland

Take US-30 toward St. Helens to Sauvie Island. Turn right across the Sauvie Island bridge. Turn left on Sauvie Island Road, where you can stop at the grocery store and buy your pass. Then turn left. Make a right on Reeder Road, and follow it all the way out to the end. There are lots of places to stop and go to the river bank if you would like to do that before going to the trailhead.

From Vancouver

Take I-5 south and take the Marine Drive exit right after you cross the river. This becomes US-30/St. Helens road. Follow US-30 until you turn right on the Sauvie Island bridge. Turn left on Sauvie Island Road, where you can stop at the grocery store and buy your pass. Then turn left. Make a right on Reeder Road, and follow it all the way out to the end. There are lots of places to stop and go to the river bank if you would like to do that before going to the trailhead.

Parking and facilities

At the trailhead, there is parking for about a dozen cars and a porta-potty.

One thought on “Lighthouse along the Columbia

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