Connect to nature: Get Out This Spring Along These Amazing Nature Trails
When it comes to “soft adventure,” Oregon’s Tualatin Valley is king. Miles and miles of pathways—accessible to all—help to connect visitors to protected nature. These nature walks showcase the valley in all its beauty, and are all part of Tualatin Valley’s vast array of open spaces, wildlife corridors and lowlands that showcase the region’s diverse ecosystem.
Best for Hiking and Cycling Tualatin Valley’s newest nature park, Chehalem Ridge Nature Park (38263 SW Dixon Mill Road, Gaston) opened to the public in early 2022. Adventurers can walk, ride their horse or off-road bicycle on nearly ten miles of trails. This nature park encompasses 1,250 acres and a variety of habitats, including upland forests, oak woodlands and wetlands. From the park, visitors will see panoramic views of the surrounding Tualatin Valley and the Coast Range.
Best for Bird Watching Killin Wetlands Nature Park (46280 NW Cedar Canyon Road, Banks) offers 370 acres of lush habitat for flora and fauna and is a vibrant location for bird watching, as well as for spotting beaver, river otters and elk. Located outside of the small city of Banks, this nature park is recognized by the Audubon Society as an Important Bird Area,” and attracts American bittern, sora and Virginia rail birds. Walk the trails and take in views of the rolling hills and wetlands.
Best for Flora Walks Jackson Bottom Wetlands Preserve (2600 SW Hillsboro Hwy., Hillsboro) is a 635-acre wildlife preserve with 4.5 miles of trails and picture-perfect views. Open year-round (although some trails may close), the preserve is a complex of wetlands and uplands within the Tualatin River floodplain. The restored habitat at the preserve supports a diversity of native plant communities and creates ideal conditions for the recovery of plant and animal species that are endangered, threatened or protected.
Best Views Cooper Mountain Nature Park (18892 SW Kemmer Road, Beaverton) features 3.5 miles of nature trails (including that wind through several distinct native habitats, from conifer forest to prairie to oak woodlands. With spectacular views of the Chehalem Mountains and the Tualatin Valley, the park features a demonstration garden showcasing native and drought-tolerant plants.
Tualatin Valley is home to many additional nature parks and two national wildlife refuges. Most parks do not allow pets (service dogs are allowed). Additional parks of note include:
- Fernhill Wetlands 1399 SW Fern Hill Rd, Forest Grove
- Tualatin River National Wildlife Refuge, 19255 SW Pacific Hwy, Sherwood
- Tualatin Hills Nature Park, 15655 SW Millikan Way, Beaverton,
For a full list of nature parks, cycling trails and more, visit tualatinvalley.org