Hillsboro Travel Guide

  • New Map of Trail System at Jackson Bottoms
    New Map of Trail System at Jackson...
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  • Hillsboro
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  • New Trail Section along West Side of Main Pond
    New Trail Section along West Side of...
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Hillsboro Things to Do

  • glabah's Profile Photo

    by glabah Updated Apr 10, 2013

    Depending on the season and even particular day, the variety and abundance and specific animals that appear here will change. Despite the attraction of the birds, there are a number of other animals that visit the wetlands.

    Just what is Jackson Bottom Wetlands? Among other things, it is the sewage settling ponds for the local sewage system. However, it is also arranged to provide extensive wildlife preservation. Recreation for hikers and birds watchers is provided by a number of trails (see my March 17, 2013 travelogue, photo 7 for a map of the trails as they existed at that time). Due to the wildlife, dogs are not permitted on the trails here.

    As time has gone on, more and more effort has gone into providing more interpretive signs, and making the trails a bit less rough. However, some of the trails are a bit uneven and are not suitable for those who can't walk on rough ground.

    There are a few trails through the wetlands, including one that encircles a large pond and others that reach deep into the wetlands area. During severe wet weather, some of the trails will be submerged - and sometimes significant portions of the trail network are inaccessible. A map is available of the facility free of charge, but keep in mind that a lot of the work is done by volunteers (if you live in the area and appreciate visiting Jackson Bottom, consider joining them - they could use the help!) and therefore some of the information just hasn't been updated yet.

    Nesting boxes are scattered through the area, and these have been particularly attractive to barn swallows. You will also see killdeer, ducks and geese, great blue heron, and quite an assortment of other animals depending on the season and day.

    The trails, nature education center and primary public access point is about 1/2 mile south of the bird blind on the north end of the wetlands area. There are no trails or sidewalks between the two areas, and traffic on highway 219 moves very fast. Therefore, I would suggest not walking between the two unless it is very early on a weekend morning and thus a time with little traffic.

    Canadian Geese, including babies, @ Jackson Bottom Tree swallow observes territory in Jackson Bottoms Jackson Bottoms: looking west to Coast Range Jackson Bottom Wetlands and nearby housing complex Jackson Bottom Wetlands: western bird blind
    Related to:
    • Birdwatching
    • Hiking and Walking
    • Family Travel

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  • glabah's Profile Photo

    by glabah Updated Jun 11, 2008

    As there are two separate parking areas for Jackson Bottom, I am writing two tips about this area. The southern section is where all the action is, in terms of being able to get out and walk around the wildlife refuge and the nature center and other activities.

    The north section consists only of a bird blind that overlooks an extensive section of the wetlands, and a paved parking lot. Other than to sit in the bird blind, there are no trails here at the north end of the wetlands. Bald Eagles are nesting at the north end of the wetlands, and in order to prevent people from interfering with the nesting pair the area has been closed off.

    Even so, this shelter offers some good viewing of the wildlife, and if you are serious about bird watching this is definitely a place to spend some time. We can hope that you will also get a chance to see the bald eagles as well, but their range is large and so it will be rare, even here near the nesting site.

    You may have to wait a while. Thankfully, there are benches in the bird blind, and you can see quite far. You will probably be able to see at least one Great Blue Heron out there looking for food.

    However, most people will probably prefer to drive past this shelter on the north end and continue 1/2 mile further on highway 219 to the Jackson Bottom trails, nature center and area primarily designed for visitors.

    There is a remote controlled camera near the North Bird Blind, and the display is in the Nature Center and it is possible to zoom in on the Bald Eagle's nest and any other animals that may be wandering through where the camera can see it.

    North Bird Blind, Jackson Bottom Wetlands Great Blue Heron, North Bird Blind, Jackson Bottom Jackson Bottom north Bird Blind, overlooks wetland North Bird Blind, Jackson Bottom Wetlands, bench Bald Eagles: beyond here you may not enter wetland
    Related to:
    • Birdwatching

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  • glabah's Profile Photo

    by glabah Updated Jun 11, 2008

    While it is true that the nature center at Jackson Bottoms Wetlands Preserve is fairly small, it does have a number of interesting features that are worth the $2 admission charge.

    There is, of course the locally famous Bald Eagles Nest that dominates the center of the room.

    The bald eagle pair that reside at Jackson Bottoms north bird blind are not visible most of the time, and the public is not allowed near the nest. However, a camera has been set up with a wide screen monitor and it is possible to zoom in to the nest area and many other parts of the north end of the wildlife refuge with the remote control part of the camera. Pan, zoom in, zoom out, etc. are all part of an easy to use touch screen system that is all transmitted by radio.

    However, it is still very difficult to see the nest, even when the camera is zoomed in all the way.

    There are a number of other features in the nature center that permit people to explore wildlife and what is going on in this preserved habitat.

    The nature center also has a store, where one can purchase Jackson Bottoms Preserves.

    Bald Eagle nest on display,dominates nature center camera system for exploring north bird blind area microscopes for exploring nature on small scale wall of displays near bald eagle nest display
    Related to:
    • Family Travel

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  • glabah's Profile Photo

    by glabah Updated Jun 11, 2008

    The clever folks who help create and maintain the Jackson Bottoms Wetlands Preserve also created and are now selling Jackson Bottoms Preserves. These are local fruit preserves that are available in the store at the Jackson Bottoms wildlife store.

    The store has a number of other items that are useful for bird watching and wildlife exploring. Most of those are available in other stores, however. The Jackson Bottoms Preserves are truly an item unique to this little corner of Hillsboro. Buying them also helps the people at Jackson Bottoms Wetlands Preserve operate and maintain their wonderful wildlife home.

    Jackson Bottoms Preserves: local craft fruit items store located in Jackson Bottoms Nature Center
    Related to:
    • Birdwatching

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Hillsboro Favorites

  • oneonta_ni's Profile Photo

    by oneonta_ni Written Oct 4, 2002

    Favorite thing: see the airshow. Every June, the Hillsboro Airport hosts an airshow. Occasionally, The Blue Angels perform there, too. This is a picture of them flying over our house.

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