As we get set to say “hello” to 2021, it’s also time to start planning your resolutions for the new year. If getting out into nature more is your plan for 2022, these outdoor destinations are the perfect socially distant activity to get out and enjoy nature and wildlife in Tualatin Valley. Add these new and old favorites to your list when planning your next outdoor adventure.
View Local Wildlife at Wapato Lake
Oregon’s newest national wildlife refuge is the Wapato Lake National Wildlife Refuge, which opened in 2021. Located near the small town of Gaston, this rural refuge offers meandering hiking trails and six hunting blinds. While hiking, visitors can see a diversity of wildlife found at the refuge including,10 species of bats migrating annually, 56 species of mammals, more than 150 bird species,13 reptile species,14 amphibian species and at least 16 species of fish.
Hike Chehalem Ridge Nature Park
Ten years in the making, the Chehalem Ridge Nature Park opened to the public November 2021. 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.
Paddle Tualatin River
In late 2020, the 38.5-mile navigable portion of the Tualatin River Water Trail was designated as one of the newest routes in the U.S. National Trails System. The Tualatin River National Water Trail flows through the Tualatin Valley from the Willamette River to the city of Hillsboro and is open year-round. Visitors can rent kayaks, canoes and stand-up paddleboards during the summer months at Brown’s Ferry Park (via Alder Creek Kayak and Canoe) and Cook Park. Other access points to the river trail are available at Tualatin Community Park, Jurgens Park, and the Pacific Highway (99W) & Hazelbrook Road Canoe and Kayak Launch. Request a Tualatin River Water Trail Map >>>
Camp Under the Stars*
There are many locations in Tualatin Valley to pitch a tent in the middle of a forest. The Tillamook State Forest offers many walk-in and drive-up campsites open on a first-come, first-served basis. One of the most popular campgrounds is Gales Creek Campground. Open mid-May to October, Gales Creek campsites sit creek side and offer great catch-and-release fishing. Year-round camping can be found at L.L. Stub Stewart State Park near Buxton. This state park has a variety of camping opportunities including tent, trailer, and cabin camping, and miles of trails for hiking, mountain biking, and horseback riding. (*Please check websites before traveling as reservations may be required.)
Make getting out into nature part of your goals for 2022.