Peaceful Winter Walks in Oregon’s Tualatin Valley
Winter time 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. But this year, getting outside is more important than ever. Peaceful winter walks in Tualatin Valley 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.
This park is an oasis in the middle of a bustling city. Once on the 4.5 miles of paved and soft-surface trails, you would never know the 222-acre wildlife preserve is surrounded by Beaverton’s businesses and homes. All ages can enjoy the wildlife viewing here, where unique habitats are home to a variety of birds, mammals, reptiles and insects. See if you can spot a red-tailed hawk or a blue heron on your leisurely hike through the park.
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.
Wandering through wetlands, forests, and parks, the Fanno Creek Trail spans 4.5 miles of ADA-accessible trail through three Tualatin Valley cities; Beaverton, Tigard, and Tualatin. The mostly flat trail is great for families to walk, run or bike together as the trail is made for pedestrian and cycling traffic. Spend the morning on the trail or make this an all-day excursion with stops along the way including, Main Street Tigard, Greenway Park, and Koll Center Wetlands.
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 gentle winter walks deserve a post-outing treat. If you find yourself staying overnight, book a room at 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.
In October 2020, the U.S. Interior Department designated the Tualatin River Water Trail as one of the newest routes in the National Trails System.
Just minutes away from the urban buzz of Portland, you'll find the chirps and tweets in Tualatin Valley’s wetlands, nature preserve and nature parks.
Soak in the splendors of the lush, agricultural landscape and a surprising smorgasbord of wineries, historical sites and spectacular views.