“A multi-use, doubletrack trail with great opportunities to see birds of prey and wildlife.
— Forest Park Conservancy
Birding · Views · Wildflowers · Wildlife
On the steep descent to St. Helens Rd. there are many small pebbles that can cause slipping.
The BPA Road is a doubletrack, multi-use trail that offers the best opportunity to see birds of prey in Forest Park. As it descends just over 1,000 feet, from Skyline to St. Helens Rd., it follows the power line after which it is named. Beginning with a stroll through alders, bigleaf maples, and a few conifers, it soon opens up to a wide expanse of open land that offers unobstructed views of the sky.
The first mile is gently rolling terrain before it drops off in a steep descent toward St. Helens Rd. At the intersection with Fire Lane 13, there are two picnic tables that offer an opportunity to relax and take in the amazing view of the Willamette, the Willamette channel and the distant Columbia River, as well as the Cascade Mountain Range. Just before arriving at this point you pass through a stand of conifers.
From this point, approximately 850 feet above the Willamette, thermal air currents often occur, especially during warm, sunny days in late winter and early spring; it is on these currents that Bald Eagles love to soar. They often perch on one of the nearby power line towers as others continue to sail in the currents.
Care should be taken when running down the steep end of the trail, as small rocks can be a hazard. If considering running a loop in this area, it might be best to begin at Newton Road
and starting up the BPA Road.
Flora & Fauna
In addition to eagles, turkey vultures, and various species of hawks can be seen hovering in the distance or directly overhead. Although they are similar is size, turkey vultures can easily be distinguished because their wings form a slight V-shape, where eaglesâ€™ wings are flat as they glide.
It is not uncommon to see signs of black-tailed deer, coyotes, and even elk along this trail, and garter snakes can frequently be seen, sunning in the warm rays. Thimbleberry, blackberry, and many other sun-loving plants are numerous along the open section.