A place for children

Eagle Fern Park offers a safe, fun outing for people of all ages
by: Barbara Adams, Rivermill Elementary teacher Lori Hughes enjoys a sunny afternoon at Eagle Fern Park catching small fish in Eagle Creek with her daughter, Hannah, 6.

Gently flowing under the cool shade of old growth timber, Eagle Creek beckons on warm summer afternoons.

During their first visit, children cautiously test the mild rapids-nervously slipping on rocks in shallow water. Bruised knees do not quell the curious. Children tiptoe, then, with gaining confidence, run and throw themselves full force into the clear water.

Eagle Creek at Eagle Fern Park is a swimmer-in-training paradise. The rapids are perfect for inner-tubers with a low threshold for thrills. The swimming hole is deep enough for an 8-year-old's sense of danger, but safe enough for anxious moms.

Eagle Fern Park is three miles north of Estacada, off of Wildcat Mountain Road. A well-maintained nature trail begins at a swinging bridge over the creek at the park, and loops around an old growth forest. Educational markers along the trail point out the diverse wildlife in the area.

The park also offers many picnicking areas, including tables right along the creek and a covered group area, as well as restrooms, drinking water, horseshoe pits, a ball field and a play ground.

The park is open from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. may through September, and from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. October through April. A day use fee of $3 is charged on weekends and holidays Memorial Day through Labor Day weekend.