some dust in the wind

On Foot In and Near Salem, Oregon:

Walking around Salem and Marion County

Approaching the Gazebo at Nelson Approaching the Gazebo at Nelson

Nelson Neighborhood Park

2090 Heath St S, Salem, OR 97302

The parking lot for this park sits near the west end of Madrona Ave. and sits at the foot of the park. Nicely maintained, this wonderful park offers good uphill slopes if you are inclined to seek an uphill challenge.

It is nearly 12 acres in all, with paved walk-ways traversing it in several directions, including one path that takes you over a bridge, and another under the bridge, so that you can cover more than a mile without re-covering the same portion of walkway.

If you feel inclined to take a longer walk, you can easily reach the developing Croisan Creek/Skyline trail system by exiting Nelson Park at the corner of  Heath Street and Croisan Creek Road. Cross Croisan Creek Road, turn right, and take Roberta Ave to Spring St, where the trail begins. If you follow this trail to its end, and follow Croisan Creek Scenic Way until you reach Joseph Street, you can follow Croisan Creek/Skyline Trail all the way to Kuebler Blvd at Sprague High School.

The playground is in good condition, and there is a lovely covered picnic and BBQ area at the apex of the park. Beyond the picnic area the park slopes downward to a tennis court, a basketball court, and a field large enough for field sports.

Map to Nelson City Park

For more about Croisan Creek and Skyline Trails, and about the Salem Area Trails Alliance, visit their website at


Clark Creek Neighborhood Park

745 Ratcliff Dr SE, Salem, OR 97302

There is a small parking lot at the main entrance to the park, and has several other walk-in entrances along the streets immediately adjacent to the park itself, The paved walk-way weaves in and out of the park and the nearby streets in this hilly neighborhood, leaving the impression that the park is an extension to the neighborhood itself. Although the portions of paved walk-ways within the park are not a steep climb, you can find steeper climbs among the adjoining street portions.

Clark Creek itself meanders pleasantly among  the trees, so that one could stay cool walking  here, even on a pretty warm day.

There is  well-maintained play equipment along the gentle slope, a basket-ball court with an extra basket extension, and several spots to rest on a bench or picnic.

A lovely feature of this park is Clark Creek itself passing through it. At this point the creek is highly accessible. People play and picnic along its edges as it runs down to meet in Bush Pasture with Pringle Creek.

It’s a lot of park considering it’s small size of less than 6 acres.


Map to Clark Creek Neighborhood Park


Bryan Johnston Neighborhood Park

400 Mildred Lane SE, Salem, OR 97306


paved pathway in Bryan Johnston Park

Bryan Johnston park gives walkers the feeling they are in wide-open spaces.

Perched above South Salem, Bryan Johnston Park is one of Salem’s newest parks. It is a park where you can give your legs a good stretch without losing sight of where you started. There is enough incline to provide good exercise if you go fast enough, yet gently sloped enough to be restful if you just want to stroll along and enjoy the birds and the views.

Quality and safe playground equipment graces the street side of the park, along with a basketball court and picnic tables. Several benches with lovely views grace its paths.

This park lies close to Creekside Golf Club, which can be reached on foot from the park.

Map to Bryan Johnston Neighborhood Park

Photo of the park entranceAn oddly little used Oregon State Park along an oddly central route

Maud Williamson Recreational Area

Located off OR Highway 221, also known as SE Dayton-Salem Highway, and Wallace Road NW, the park lies approximately 15 miles north of Salem.

This park, situated beside cultivated farmlands, is well visited by meadow birds, but sits largely unvisited by humans .

As is the case with some other Oregon State Parks, the park is minimally maintained.


Map to Maud Williamson Recreation Area

And while out on Highway 221, be sure to take the Wheatland Ferry.

Careful, it is seasonal, and their closures don’t seem to be posted.


Wheatland Ferry (west shore) Wheatland Ferry (west shore)

Wheatland Ferry

Once across the ferry to the east side of the Willamette River, you are in Willamette Mission State Park. We will go there soon!

Map of Wheatland Ferry (west side)

Buena Vista Ferry Viewing the Bella Vista Ferry from Bella Vista Park


Buena Vista Ferry

The Buena Vista Ferry is not mapped on Google, but is well known to cyclists. The ferry traverses the Willamette River between Buena Vista Rd S to Willamette Ferry St. on a 24 mile cycle beginning and ending in Independence, Oregon. This, too, is reportedly a seasonal ferry.

Map of 24 mile cycling route via Buena Vista Ferry

Buena Vista River Park (west shore)


Dogs are anxious to get going! One of the bridges within this extensive trail system. Dogs are anxious to get going!

Tualatin Community Park

Actually three parks, Tualatin Community Park, Durham City Park, and Cook Park are all now a connected trail system.

In the triangle where Tigard, Durham, and Tualatin intersect, and each belonging to a separate municipality, the trail system here provides a wonderful variety of features. From the extensive butterfly garden, soccer fields, and boat launch at Cook Park, to the deep woods of Durham Park, there are several miles of fields and woodlands to explore. The Tualatin Community Park, besides its boat launch, also offers off-leash areas, various sports fields, and large playgrounds.

Although none of the maps each city has posted show all three parks as one, each is posted separately by city.

Tualatin Community Park

Tualatin’s map shows the Tualatin portion only.

Tigard Fanno Creek Trail System

Tigard’s Fanno Creek Trail System map does show the Cook Park trail as well as the Durham portion and includes the portion of the trail system that connects to the Tualatin portion of the map.

Google Overview of the linked areas








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