Now that spring is officially here and the weather will soon be warm, we thought this would be a good time to share tips on exploring the many attractions found in nature here in Oregon’s Washington County.
Hiking the great outdoors is just one of the many outdoor adventures you can find here in Oregon (and Camping, too!). Biking through the hundreds of miles of impressive trails and paths is also a great way to enjoy what our beautiful region has to offer.
Traveling on a budget? No problem! Some of our favorite attractions are under $10 per person and in many cases, free of charge. Article source: Washington County Visitors Association
Washington County boasts some of Oregon’s most scenic and lush natural spaces, making it a desirable year-round destination for nature walks, hikes and cycling adventures. Most of the area’s natural outdoor attractions are free of charge (donations may be suggested), making it one of the most affordable adventures available.
1. Tualatin River National Wildlife Refuge
The Tualatin River National Wildlife Refuge is one of only a handful of national urban refuges in the National Wildlife Refuge System, and is home to more than 200 species of indigenous and migrating birds, waterfowl and mammals.
(19255 SW Pacific Hwy, Sherwood, Ore.)
Admission is free (unless otherwise posted); complimentary parking. Bicycles and pets are not permitted. Open year-round: Trails open dawn until dusk; interpretive center open Tuesday-Sunday, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Closed Monday and major holidays.
2. Jackson Bottom Wetlands (2600 Hillsboro Hwy., Hillsboro, Ore.)
Jackson Bottom Wetlands is a 725-acre wetlands preserve that is home to various species of birds, including bald eagles, egrets and red tail hawks, as well as a host of mammals. Trails meander through the preserve, allowing for exploration of the wetlands.
Admission is free (donation requested); complimentary parking. Bicycles and pets are not permitted. Open year-round: Trails open daily, dawn to dusk; interpretive center, daily, 10 a.m.-4 p.m.
3. Banks-Vernonia State Trail (Banks trailhead: Main St./Banks Road/Sellers Road, Banks, Ore.)
The scenic, 21-mile Banks-Vernonia State Trail connects the towns of Banks and Vernonia, and a portion runs through L.L. “Stub” Stewart State Park. The trail, part of the Rails-to-Trails conservancy program, is open to all non-motorized users, including horseback riders, bicyclists, walkers and hikers. Pets allowed and must be on a maximum 6-foot leash at all times.
Free to the public (unless otherwise posted); complimentary parking available at some trailheads
Open year-round, dawn until dusk
4. Cooper Mountain Nature Park (18895 SW Kemmer Road, Beaverton, Ore.)
Cooper Mountain Nature Park is a 231-acre park with 3.5 miles of gravel hiking trails –plus a 3/4-mile loop designed for accessibility– that traverse through the park’s rare habitats and natural features. The park is open for hiking, walking and wildlife watching. A Nature House and demonstration garden also are located at the park.
Free to the public (unless otherwise posted); complimentary parking. Bicycles and pets are not permitted.
Open year-round, dawn until dusk
Oregon’s Washington County is scenically situated between Portland and the Oregon Coast. The destination covers 727 square miles and includes the growing communities of Banks, Beaverton, Cornelius, Forest Grove, Gaston, Hillsboro, King City, North Plains, Sherwood, Tigard, Tualatin and Wilsonville. Washington County is home to world-class golf courses, award-winning wineries, an array of outdoor recreation opportunities, lush, natural and scenic wetlands and wildlife preserves, superb dining, and myriad shopping.
From wine tasting to hiking; from shopping to golfing, there is something for everyone who visits Washington County Oregon (located just outside of Portland and home to Tigard & Tualatin). We are thrilled that many new attractions and businesses have been added to our area in the past year. On your next visit, we recommend taking some time to experience some of these new additions. Here is a list of some of the newest attractions:
1. Mountain Bike Freeride Trail. Washington County’s first single-track, mountain bike freeride trail and skills area is scheduled to open at L.L. “Stub” Stewart State Park in spring 2012. Spearheaded by the Westside Trail Federation and built by a grassroots group of volunteers, the freeride area will add another amenity to the four-year-old state park. Earlier this year, the park saw the completion of an 18-hole championship disc golf course.
2. Super Zip-Line. Tree to Tree Adventure Park, a seasonal aerial ropes course complete with tree-top obstacles and zip-lines that opened to much fanfare and success in 2010, will mark its spring 2012 opening with an 800-foot-long “super zip-line” and up to 10 additional lines.
3. Create Your Own Glass Art Masterpieces. Live, Laugh, Love Glass is an innovative glass-blowing studio, located in downtown Tigard. The studio, which opened May 2011, offers private and group instruction for artists of all levels. Saturday evenings, the studio hosts a unique style of dinner theatre, “Dinner Party and Hot Shop Show,” where guests participate in a group creation of a glass masterpiece, while dining on a buffet meal provided by local caterers. 12230 SW Main Street, Suite B, Tigard, Oregon; 800-913-7015 (toll-free); 503-244-7811
4. Two Kilts Brewing Company’s tasting room opened in Sherwood in 2011. In its short time, Two Kilts has amassed a following and praise from local beer enthusiasts with their India Pale Ale, Scotch Ale and other brews made with local ingredients. 14841 SW Tualatin-Sherwood Road, Sherwood, Oregon; 503-625-1700
5. Comfort Food with a Twist. Forest Grove, Ore., welcomed its newest upscale eatery, 1910 Main – An American Bistro, in April 2011. With entrees that put modern spins on American classic comfort food, chef Russ Schillereff uses locally sourced ingredients in a menu that changes weekly. 1910 Main Street, Forest Grove, Oregon; 503-430-7014
6. Banks-Vernonia State Trail. After nearly a decade, the final portion of the Banks-Vernonia State Trail, linking the towns of Banks and Vernonia, Oregon, was completed in late 2010. Construction of the 21-mile trail, which follows the route of an abandoned railroad corridor, started in the 1990s and was Oregon’s first rails-to-trails project, spearheaded by the Rails-to-Trails Conservancy. While parts of the trail—paved and unpaved—have been accessible to the public for several years, the opening of the trailhead in the town of Banks marks the completion of the final leg of the trail. The trail is open to all non-motorized traffic—hikers, runners, cyclists and horseback riders—and is marked by moderate and steep climbs. This scenic trail boasts 13 bridges and two 700-foot long, 80-foot high railroad trestles, popular spots for wildlife viewing and photography. Camping is available at nearby L.L. “Stub” Stewart State Park, which also is home to the Hares Canyon Horse Camp.
7. Blend Your Own Wine at Tigard Wine Crafters-Billed as a “local micro winery,” Tigard Wine Crafters is a new tasting room specializing in custom-made wine blending and features a range of white and red wine varietals. Guests can handcraft their own wine blends, design custom labels and receive 27-30 bottles of their own handcrafted wines after the fermentation and bottling process is complete, according to their website. The process is simple: guests create their own blends, while the winemakers at Tigard Wine Crafters ferment the custom-made blends for six weeks. Guests return after fermentation to bottle their creations and add their own specialty label. The tasting room, which opened in late 2010, also pours wines from around the world, including a merlot infused with dark chocolate and other surprising varietals. 12436 SW Main Street, Tigard, Oregon; 503-895-0538
ABOUT OREGON’S WASHINGTON COUNTY
Oregon’s Washington County is scenically situated between Portland and the Oregon Coast. The destination covers 727 square miles and includes the growing communities of Banks, Beaverton, Cornelius, Forest Grove, Gaston, Hillsboro, King City, North Plains, Sherwood, Tigard, Tualatin and Wilsonville. Washington County is home to world-class golf courses, award-winning wineries, an array of outdoor recreation opportunities, lush, natural and scenic wetlands and wildlife preserves, superb dining, and myriad shopping. For more information, visit the Washington County Visitors Association’s official destination website.