Fall Foliage & Bird Watching in Oregon’s Tualatin Valley
Where to Watch the Seasons Change
Drenched in hues of earthy golds, oranges, reds and browns, Oregon’s Tualatin Valley is home to some of the area’s best birdwatching and fall foliage viewing. Pair the vibrant hues of fall with the migration of birds as they fly south for the winter, and you have the perfect fall getaway. Whether you are here for two hours or a whole weekend, staying overnight or just passing, through ignite your senses in Tualatin Valley.
Fall Foliage Leaf Peeping
For a front row seat to nature’s ever-changing beauty, take a ride along the Vineyard and Valley Scenic Tour Route, a 60-mile driving route through the Tualatin Valley’s peaceful rural areas. The route provides the perfect views for watching the seasons change from one to the next. Find panoramic views at local vineyards whose vines are hanging on to the post-harvest yellows and reds before gracefully lying bare for the winter months. Along the scenic tour route, the fall colors of the Oregon Coast Range also are within view.
Cyclists will enjoy the views from the 50-mile Tualatin Valley Scenic Bikeway, the only bikeway of its kind in the region. The car-free Banks-Vernonia State Trail provides a canopy of trees overhead, allowing the heart of the season to be seen with a simple look toward the sky. Cyclists of all levels, plus horseback riders and hikers will enjoy its dense canopy of trees, which erupt in earthy colors during the fall months. Pro Tip: Rent a bike at Banks Bicycle Repair and Rental
Set atop Cooper Mountain in Beaverton is the aptly-named Cooper Mountain Nature Park, where leaf peepers will enjoy the amazing views of the Chehalem Mountains and the Tualatin Valley. Hike through the changing forests, prairies and oak woodlands along the three miles of trails.
Migration Season Bird Watching
Tualatin Valley is smack-dab on the Pacific Flyway, which runs from the Arctic tundra to South American wetlands. Each year, millions of birds migrate along this flyway, bringing many species of birds to the valley during autumn months as they fly south for a long winter vacations. October is the best month to view these migrating bird species, which can be found at wetlands, preserves and nature parks throughout Tualatin Valley.
Some of the best spots to view birds AND view the fall colors include Killin Wetlands, a vibrant location for bird watching with one of the highest densities of the American Bittern in all of Oregon. From the observation deck, you may also see Greater Yellowlegs, Mallards and Double-Crested Cormorants. The Tualatin River National Wildlife Refuge, Fernhill Wetlands and Jackson Bottom Wetlands Preserve also offer some of the best bird watching opportunities in Tualatin Valley during this active season. Pro Tip: Pets are not allowed in the nature parks and wildlife refuges; best times to view wildlife is during the most active times for the birds and animals: dawn and dusk.
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