Five Reasons to Visit Tualatin Valley This Fall
Autumn in the Tualatin Valley is a treat to the senses. The crisp, cool air. The smell of fireplaces burning. The crackling sound of fallen leaves underfoot. The sight of beautiful valleys as they glow in hues of orange, red and green. We’ve compiled a list of the five top reasons to visit Tualatin Valley this fall.
1. The Wine Harvest
During autumn months, our wineries are hoppin’ with activity. From harvest to crush, the energy at our award-winning wineries is infectious. Although wine lovers will have to wait to get a taste of the 2018 harvest (many white wines will be released next summer, while Pinot Noir and other reds may age in barrels for one to two years), tasting room visitors may have the opportunity to sample and buy new releases throughout the fall.
2. Pumpkin Patches & U-Pick Harvest Season
Fall is apple season, and whether you pick your own or buy them already picked, bite into a fresh, Tualatin Valley apple. Apples ripen in late summer, so September is prime picking time for apples such as Gravenstein and Akane. Smith Berry Barn grows more than two dozen varieties of apples and pears in its u-pick orchard. Bell’s Orchard has “short orchards,” which allows families to pick apples without a ladder.
In October, a trio of apple celebrations are must-visit stops. Oregon Heritage Farms hosts a CiderFest, and the annual AppleFest. And Smith Berry Barn, the annual Heirloom Apple Festival is another great place to go for apple fun.
October also marks harvest season at Tualatin Valley’s farms. Pick pumpkins to take home to carve, get lost in a corn maze, play a round of pumpkin bowling, and pick apples and other fall fruits at u-pick farms.
3. Autumn Bird Migration
October is bird migration season, as the Tualatin Valley is on the Pacific Flyway, the north-south path for migratory birds in North America and South America. The Tualatin River National Wildlife Refuge and Jackson Bottom Wetlands Preserve are just two wildlife areas with trails that offer some of the best bird watching opportunities in the Tualatin Valley during this active season.
4. Fall Colors
September and October are prime months for “leaf-peeping” in the Tualatin Valley. One of the best ways to view the splendor of the Tualatin Valley this time of year, is with a drive along the Vineyard and Valley Scenic Tour Route, a 60-mile driving tour. Discover farms, wineries, amazing sights and more along this experiential tour of our agricultural valley. Or paddle along the scenic and serene Tualatin River Water Trail for a memorable way to soak in the colors of the season.
5. Outdoor Adventure
Cooler temperatures invite cyclists to ride along the 21-mile (one way) Banks-Vernonia State Trail, a rails-to-trails project that converted a dated railroad line, takes hikers, cyclists and equestrians of all levels on a scenic route through rural lands.
Zip lining also is a popular pastime in the Tualatin Valley during the fall. Catch the autumn breeze while zipping from tree to tree at Tree to Tree Adventure Park—an aerial ropes course and guided zip-line park. This “playground in the trees” features an aerial adventure ropes, zip line tours, dueling zip line racing and more. Pumpkin Ridge Zip Tour is a guided zip-line tour along eight zip lines that will take adventurers through a beautiful forest, across majestic suspension bridges and near the breathtaking Brunswick Canyon.
BONUS: Affordable Hotels
Tualatin Valley’s hotels are a great value year-round, and the autumn months are an ideal time of year to take advantage of great rates. Our hotels offers affordable rates and free parking, with many also featuring complimentary amenities that range from free breakfast to a nightly reception.
The vastness of the Tualatin Valley, especially when venturing beyond the urban cities, offers innumerable options for outdoor recreation. Many of the valley’s 727 square miles are devoted to pristine, rural wetlands, nature parks, wildlife refuges, verdant forests, tranquil waters and open fields, perfect spots for hiking and cycling, paddle trips, fishing, birding and wildlife watching and other outdoor recreational pursuits.
Oregon is undoubtedly one of the finer places in the country for birding, as it’s filled with a rich mixture of habitats including forests, wetlands, marshes, lakes, rivers, and beaches. Many species of birds live here in the Tualatin Valley year-round, and dozens of species are just “passing through” during the fall migration season.
Whether you are planning to explore the tasting rooms of the northern Willamette Valley, or want to take the road less traveled and see the Tualatin Valley by car, bike, foot or kayak, we have the tour routes and trails to help you accomplish your mission. Find a trail to match your interests, or create your own Tualatin Valley adventure using these trails as a guideline.
In addition to producing stellar wine grapes, the nutrient-rich soil of the Willamette Valley also produces fantastic hops. When it comes to excellence in hand-crafted brews, the Pacific Northwest is “Beervana.” Tualatin Valley is exploding in the Portland craft beer scene with local breweries that attract the serious beer connoisseur, as well as the casual beer aficionado.
It’s been more than 80 years since the end of Prohibition, and Oregon has blossomed into a leader of craft beer, full-bodied wines and well-aged spirits. Oregon’s distilleries–and Tualatin Valley distilleries in particular–are earning well-deserved accolades and are introducing handcrafted spirits to a new generation.
Coffee lovers flock to Oregon. A cup of java perfectly matches our low fog mornings, crisp and bright winter days, or drizzly evenings. It helps that our locals make outstanding coffee and are eager to share it with visitors.