The wintertide is most often associated with fireplaces, coffee shop hangouts, cozy reading nooks and other snug indoor activities. In short, it’s the season of hibernation. If you love nature, though, then don’t experience winter from behind a window. Tualatin Valley’s peaceful winter walks offer easy strolls with wintertime views of moss-covered branches, softly rolling rivers and birds who sing despite the rain. Sure, you’ll have to bundle up a bit—that’s part of the fun.
The Tualatin River Greenway Trail is located, funnily enough, behind a Cabela’s outdoor store. Pop into the outdoor outfitters for any items you may need for your outdoor exploring: raincoats, hats, gloves or even shoes with extra grip against icy slips.
The trail itself is an easy, paved ¾ mile stretch that runs adjacent to the river. While your winter walk may be cold, it is certainly not like living in the Ice Age. For a sense of what that would be like, simply follow the string of interpretive panels—and cast mastodon footprints!—along the trail.
Popular among nature photographers, the Tualatin River National Wildlife Refuge is a sanctuary for birds and humans alike. The refuge is one of a handful of urban national refuges and includes various restored habitats that best represent examples of depleted habitats in the Willamette Valley. During the winter months, the refuge maintains one spectacular, just-under-a-mile trail, which leads to the Wetland Observation Deck that photographers love so much. Forgot your binoculars? Borrow them from us at the Visitor Information Desk in the Wildlife Center.
While often revered for its springtime wildflowers, Cooper Mountain Nature Park has its own winter charms. The wide-open landscape and leafless trees give walkers an amazing view of raptors hunting for prey. Similarly, red-tailed hawks soar over the meadows looking for voles. The winter months are also the time to catch a glimpse of the rare Northern goshawk.
The three peaceful winter walks above all have wheelchair accessibility and well-maintained trails, making them lovely options for people of all ages and abilities.
Even a gentle winter walk is deserving of a post-outing treat. Book a room at the McMenamins Grand Lodge where other winter wonders await. Mainly, we look forward to the fireplace, a dip in the soaking pool and a hot toddy.