Elk Rock Island Park

Location: SE 19th and Sparrow St. in Milwaukie. Limited parking on neighborhood streets.

Access: Island accessible by foot in summer only, through Spring Park just south of downtown Milwaukie. Take the dirt path downhill and cross over to the island.

Lowdown: Elk Rock Island is one of the hidden swimming and hiking areas near Portland. Even many locals are unaware of this river refuge. It has some excellent swimming holes. Most are accessed via the rocky shore, although there are two small sand beaches.

Formed by a volcano that erupted 40 million years ago, this small island is acclaimed for its river access, trails, and wildlife including eagles and blue herons. It’s a beautiful spot with outstanding views, located where the river narrows.

Safety: Go with someone. Don’t swim alone – you may be hard to see. Be careful and watch for boats and jet skis. This has some of the deepest spots in the Willamette River. The shore drops off fast in spots.