Elk Rock Island

Welcome to Portland's second creepiest park (after Kelley Butte, of course). Marshy badlands surround an ancient woodland harboring an unnameable evil. Possibly. Personally, I wouldn't bring children here (again), unless they really liked climbing on rocks and weren't of a sensitive disposition.

hour of fun


All year / whatever.


A photograph taken at Elk Rock Island


  • Riverbank setting.
  • Rocks to climb on.
  • There’s a small playground at the trailhead.
  • Reminiscent of sets from bleak early eighties post nuclear dramas.
  • Not far to travel if you have a body in the trunk.
  • View of posh riverbank homes from opposing swamp makes it easy to romantically imagine oneself as one of the protagonists from Braveheart or A Clockwork Orange, or one of the antagonists from any film previously shown on MST3K.


  • Not actually an island. Yes, that’s right, Google Maps! Even the official brochure states that “Elk Rock Island is connected to the mainland by a 40-million-year-old land bridge.”
  • May unwittingly stumble upon a shallow grave or pagan ritual.
  • It’s in Milwaukie.
  • The trailhead parking lot is tiny and the surrounding area is plastered with no parking / tow-away warnings.
  • Igneous bedrock makes deep burial of victims arduous.
  • Did I mention this place is creepy?

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First posted: September 7, 2011; last updated: April 16, 2014.

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If you find any factual innaccuracies in this post, please email me via richard at thingstodoinportland dot org so I can fix it for everyone. Thanks in advance!

A photograph taken at Elk Rock Island
A photograph taken at Elk Rock Island
A photograph taken at Elk Rock Island
A photograph taken at Elk Rock Island

Trailhead at 19th Avenue and Sparrow Street, Milwaukie [Google map].

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