At the end of Gilkison Road on the very edge of Scappoose sits a forest getaway most residents have never heard of. Vedanta Retreat is a culturally unique blend of hiking trails, meditation seats, and shrines to the world’s major religions. It is situated in some of the region’s oldest forest (on one trail I found several legitimate old-growth trees) and many nature enthusiasts enjoy the setting’s quiet ambiance.
It’s difficult to explain the retreat in words, so we posted a few pictures of the family visit we made while checking out the area last month, followed by a video I took when returning alone the next day. Unlike most of our videos there’s no talking or adventure, just a quiet tour of the premises that gives a picture of what time there feels like.
Please maintain the meditative quality of the retreat site if you decide to visit
Vedanta Retreat at a glance
What: meditation, hiking
Where: From Hwy 30 heading south from Scappoose, turn west onto NW Watson Road just after going past the county line. After 0.8 miles veer left onto NW Gilikson Road. In another 1.6 miles you’ll reach a cul-de-sac at (45.7109, -122.9132). Please park where it doesn’t block the gates or other cars, and then walk into the park via the orange gate or the green one.
Hiking: There are 5 miles or more of trails if you take every option. Most of the main trails are flat but a few involve meaningful elevation gain, most especially the ascent to Advaita Shrine which climbs 300 feet in a very short distance. A map can be found here but it might be better to pick up the slightly updated map in the brochures available near the entrance gate.
Notable Wildlife: Roosevelt Elk, woodpeckers, Coastal Giant Salamander
Property status: Vedanta Society of Portland
Website: The Vedanta Retreat website
Forest Hiker: Vedanta Retreat