Nature Hikes, three “Hidden Gems” in Washington County: Chehalem Ridge, Killin Wetlands, Fernhill Wetlands
Here in Washington County (or “Tualatin Valley,” as we like to call it), miles and miles of trails—accessible to all—help to connect us all to protected nature. These nature walks showcase our valley in all its beauty and are part of region’s diverse ecosystem of open spaces, wildlife corridors and lowlands.
No matter where you are in Washington County, you’re not too far from a nature park. Here are three parks that truly are hidden gems.
Washington County’s newest nature park, Chehalem Ridge Nature Park, located in 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.
Another gem is Killin Wetlands, which is close to the city of Banks. This nature park has 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. Walk the trails and take in views of the rolling hills and wetlands. Located outside of the small city of Banks, Killin Wetlands also boasts a quilt block, “Doves in the Window,” as part of the Quilt Barn Trail of Tualatin Valley.
The third gem is located on the outskirts of Forest Grove. Fernhill Wetlands boasts a variety of open water sources providing safe haven to eagles, hawks, herons and migrating waterfowl, as well as beavers, minks, otters and many other species. Approximately 1.25 miles of trails, raised dikes and two viewing shelters provide unobstructed views of the wetlands. The crowning jewel of Fernhill Wetlands is the ADA-accessible Water Garden featuring graceful wooden bridges and a great view.
Please note: Dogs and other pets are no allowed at these nature parks.
For more nature hikes in Washington County, visit tualatinvalley.org. This comprehensive site has information about things to do, places to visit and more. Visit the site or call 503-644-5555 to order maps and visitor guides.