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 giallo fiction.

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, nor has it been for forty million years. Which I’m guessing was before it was named. By humans.
  • May unwittingly stumble upon a shallow grave or pagan ritual.
  • 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: March 15, 2019.

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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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