Tryon Creek State Park is a 670-acre forested canyon located on the boundaries of Portland and Lake Oswego.
Although the canyon was first logged in the 1880′s, the forest has naturally regrown into a lush stand of red alder, Douglas fir, big leaf maple, and western red cedar. Over 50 species of birds and many small mammals reside in the Park. Tryon Creek, home of crayfish, trout and other aquatic life, is one of the last unobstructed tributaries of the Willamette River in the Portland area and is located within a highly vulnerable watershed due to its urban location. The park has fourteen miles of hiking, biking and equestrian trails, as well as a Nature Center and open-air shelter that can hold up to 125 people.
In the 1960s, the forest was almost lost to the public as plans were made to develop part of the land for housing. Neighbors of the property came together and worked with Multnomah County to purchase 45 acres. At that time, the neighbors organized themselves into the Friends of Tryon Creek Park (the Friends) to help secure funds to save more land. It was decided that Oregon State Parks and Recreation Department (OPRD) would maintain this complex property and in 1970, the state decided to incorporate the Tryon Creek canyon as a State Park. The State continued to buy more land until the original 645 acres were acquired.
At that time, the Friends agreed to develop and fund the Nature Center to thank the community for its support. The Nature Center is still the focus of activities in the park (it was remodeled to house the Friends’ growing staff and programs in 2002). Due to the efforts of the Friends, the park remains relatively pristine, with a third of the park free of invasive species and structures and trail signs held to a minimum. Tryon Creek State Natural Area (as it has been re-named by OPRD) remains the only state park within a major metropolitan area, allowing the park to play a unique role in the state parks system.