What’s the Word?In Washington County, Oregon

Posts Tagged ‘Canoeing’

Tualatin River Water Trail

Posted on: September 4th, 2015 by Jackie Luskey 2 Comments

Tualatin River Water TrailThere are trails for days in the Tualatin Valley, making outdoor lovers some very happy campers when they visit. No matter your outdoor activity of choice, we’ve got the attraction—and accompanying guide!—for you. Whether you’d call yourself a Pisces, water baby or just somebody who loves being near good ol’ H2O, our latest guide should get your fins going.

The new Tualatin River Water Trail guide describes the points on the Tualatin River that are currently accessible to the public, starting at the mouth of the river and working upstream from there. Order a guide for detailed descriptions of river access points along the lower stretch of the Tualatin River. The guide also includes an extensive, easy-to-read map. In addition to river access points, the map also calls attention to parking access, caution areas, restrooms and restaurants near the water trail. In short, it’s super helpful!

Labor Day weekend marks the last open hours of the season for the Tualatin Riverkeepers’ kayak rentals; however, avid paddlers can still bring their own kayaks and canoes to river access points year-round. As we transition into fall, expect higher flow levels, fallen trees and submerged debris. With these conditions at hand, the water trail best for intermediate and experienced paddlers in the cooler months.

If you want to paddle post Labor Day, but can’t schlep your own gear, then register for a beginner stand-up paddle boarding class with Dog Star Adventure Tours. These classes, which run into November, meet at Cook Park for a 90 minute foray into fun watersports.  

While ordering your free Tualatin River Water Trail guide, why not check the little boxes for some other guide goodies, too?  We’ve got fantastic guides for cycling, the Vineyard & Valley Scenic Tour Route and our Nature Passport that we’d love to deliver right to your mailbox!

Find places to stay. | Create a personalized itinerary. | Find places to eat. | View the digital visitor guide.

Nature Passport: Tualatin River

Posted on: February 25th, 2015 by Jackie Luskey No Comments

tualatin river

Splish-splash, I was takin’ a…paddle! The Tualatin Valley’s landscape wouldn’t be complete without the water habitats of wetlands and rivers. Order a free copy of our Nature Passport—a complete guide of wildlife and outdoor attractions in the area—for information on the best river access points and the creatures you’ll encounter there.

The Tualatin River is a calming, yet driving force running throughout the length of the Tualatin Valley. The water trail is home to all sorts of local animals, including Great Blue Heron and Green Heron and Ospreys. It’s no wonder that these fish-eating birds hangout by the riverbed as so many cutthroat trout and steelhead swim under the river’s soft current.

Before modern roads were paved throughout the region, the Tualatin River use to carry steamboats full of local crops. While you won’t find a steamboat chugging along the river today, kayaks and canoes are a welcomed sight. In the summer months, the Tualatin Riverkeepers provide boat rentals out of Cook Park.  Through winter and spring, you can stop along the river’s picnic points for a peaceful lunch date. Share your picnic outing via the Winter Wonder Instagram Photo Contest!

For those planning ahead, pencil in these fantastic annual Tualatin River Events:

Tualatin River Bird Fest Paddle
May 16 | Bridge Boat Launch | 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. | free to $50

Tualatin River Discovery Day Paddle
June 27 | Tualatin Community Park | 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. | free to $30

A MidSummer Night Paddle
July 18 | Tualatin Community Park | 6 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. | $10 to $50

Fall Colors Paddle
October 3 | Browns Ferry Park | 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. | $10 to $50

Tualatin River’s Cook Park Entry Point
Location: 17005 SW 92nd Ave, Tigard, OR 97224
Phone: (503) 218-2580
Trail Hours: open year-round
Riverkeeper hours: July-September, Friday-Sunday from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Past Nature Passport Blog Posts:
Banks-Vernonia State Trail
Cook Park
Cooper Mountain Nature Park
Fernhill Wetlands
Jackson Bottom Wetlands Loop
L.L. “Stub” Stewart State Park
Magness Memorial Tree Farm
Rood Bridge Park
Tillamook State Forest
Tualatin Hills Nature Park and Interpretive Center

Order your Nature Passport and share your pictures with us on Twitter and Instagram. Tag your photos with the #tualatinvalley.

Kitschy Old World Themed Summer Events

Posted on: July 11th, 2014 by Jackie Luskey No Comments
Meet Maid Marian and her Court at the Sherwood Robinhood Festival.  photo: Robinhood Festival

Meet Maid Marian and her Court at the Sherwood Robinhood Festival.
photo: Robinhood Festival

From the “Game of Thrones” series to the Settlers of Catan board game, there seems to be a new wave for the old world. Here in the Tualatin Valley, experience multiple kitschy summer events that fully embrace the throwback to olden and mythical times.

Sherwood Robin Hood Festival
July 18-July 19 | all-day |Old Town Sherwood |free
Dress up like the heroic outlaw—or his fair maiden—during this 60-year old Sherwood tradition. This family friendly event includes a regal knighting ceremony, quick-fire castle building competitions, and the ever-popular International Archery Tournament.

Midsummer Night Paddle
July 19 | 5 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. |Tualatin Community Park |$10-$50
After a rousing day jousting and jesting at the Sherwood Robin Hood Festival, cap the evening with a romantic paddle down the meandering Tualatin River. With a nod to Shakespearean romance, keep an eye out for a mischievous Puck hiding in the lush flora—or you can just enjoy the serene wildlife watching.  

Oregon Renaissance Festival
August 16-September 21 | Saturdays & Sundays from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. |Washington County Fair Complex |$7.95-$15.95
Get ready to party like it’s the year 1499! Just a few minutes from the trendy restaurants and boutiques of Portland, you can transport yourself to a 16th century European village, complete with cackling witches, exhilarating duels and hearty food fit for a Medieval king.

Pietro’s Pizza
Year-round | Sunday-Thursday from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. and Friday-Saturday from 11 a.m. to midnight
If your historical daydreams have sea legs, then unleash your inner buccaneer at this pirate-themed mini-golf course and laser tag arena. The mix of blacklight and laser guns with swashbuckling pirates creates a near-steampunk atmosphere that’s easy to love.

After you’ve successfully binge-watched “Game of Thrones” and you need to quit Settlers of Catan before you and your loved ones get in an epic fight over lumber resources again, get out of the house and make a quick getaway to Oregon’s Washington County. We’ve got mystical and daring adventures in the flesh!

Find places to stay. | Create a personalized itinerary. | Find places to eat. | View the digital visitor guide.

Eighth Oregon Wonder

Posted on: May 19th, 2014 by Jackie Luskey No Comments

Are the Seven Wonders of the World on your bucket list? How about the Seven Wonders of Oregon? When it comes to Oregon’s Seven Wonders, why see just one? In fact, it’s quite easy to plan a getaway to see both Oregon Wonders of the Oregon Coast and Mt. Hood, using Oregon’s Washington County as the equally-as-beautiful hub between them.

Just 64 miles from the Mt. Hood, you can make it to Oregon’s Washington Country in under an hour-and-a-half. Go from skiing on the mountain to drinking spectacular Oregon Wine in the Tualatin Valley.  For a no-stress day or wine tasting, book the Beer & Wine Hotel Package with the McMenamins Grand Lodge. The package includes lodging for two at McMenamins’ charming and historical property, transportation to and wine tastings with Grape Escape Winery Tours, as well as two hearty meals at the lodge. Pick a bottle from each winery you visit to create a make-your-own case. If you fly through Alaska Airlines, then you can check the whole case for no extra charge. Yes—that’s right. With the Wines Fly Free promotion, you can bring home a whopping 12 bottles of our finest wine without the hefty shipping fee. If that’s not the eighth Oregon Wonder, then we don’t know what is!

If your legs are still sore from your day on the slopes, then give your arms a workout instead. During summer months, the Tualatin Riverkeepers rent canoes and kayaks at Tigard’s Cook Park boat launch on Saturdays and Sundays through September. There’s also an Alder Creek’s Tualatin rental location at Brown’s Ferry Park where river-lovers can rent canoes, as well as single and tandem recreational kayaks. All this time on the lazy and relaxing Tualatin River should whet your appetite for the next Oregon wonder on your list: the Oregon Coast. Only 75 miles from the Cannon Beach and Seaside alike, Oregon’s Washington County is a perfect connecting point between the glorious peak of Mt. Hood to the sea-level of the State’s shorelines. With the lush vineyards and rivers between the two, it’d be a traveling travesty to not spend time in Oregon’s Washington County, as well.

The wonders of Oregon included David Hill Vineyard & Winery and the Tualatin River

The wonders of Oregon included David Hill Vineyard & Winery and the Tualatin River.


Find places to stay. | Create a personalized itinerary. | Find places to eat. | View the digital visitor guide.

Tualatin Valley Scenic Bikeway: Wheel Turn #1

Posted on: February 26th, 2014 by Jackie Luskey No Comments
Warm up or cool off from a great ride at Rood Ridge Park.

Warm up or cool off from a great ride at Rood Ridge Park.

Cyclists are smitten with the Tualatin Valley Scenic Bikeway and its 50 miles of cycling nirvana. While the terrain of Oregon’s Washington County is no doubt part of the bikeway’s power, any bicyclist will tell you that it’s the unexpected pleasures that take a ride from pristine to spectacular.

This is why we’re kicking off a monthly “wheel turn” series, showcasing highlights along the Tualatin Valley Scenic Bikeway. And okay—we’re not going to take you painstakingly turn by turn. However, we’re thrilled to break this half-century ride into mini stretches of fun.

Many cyclists choose to begin (or end) their time on the bikeway at Rood Bridge Park and Rhododendron Garden, which is worth exploring in its own right. The über active can jump of their bikes and play a game of doubles on the tennis courts. Alternately, trade wheels for paddles with the park’s kayak and canoe ramp. After pedaling hard, a relaxed row down the lazy Tualatin River provides a nice respite.  For just a quick-stop, spend a few minutes wandering through the mix of woods and wetlands, mapping out your ride on the picnic tables, or taking in the view of fluffy pink rhododendrons.

Just down the road from Rood Bridge Park is the Meriwether National Golf Club. The club provides a great opportunity for fun-seekers who want a short ride followed by a short 9-hole course. That pairing is sure to work up an appetite for ahi tacos or BBQ pulled pork sandwiches at the Meriwether Grill.

This is just one of a multitude of ways to experience the Tualatin Valley Scenic Bike Route. Start wherever you want on the bikeway—and complete whatever feels right to you. Next month, we’ll discuss the wineries and farm stands along the SW Johnson School Road of the bikeway.  

Road Closure Notice:
The N.W. Porter Road portion of the bikeway in Forest Grove will be closed for a film production event on Saturday, March 1 from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Find places to stay. | Create a personalized itinerary. | Find places to eat. | View the digital visitor guide.

Trail of the Week: Tualatin River Water Trail

Posted on: August 19th, 2013 by Jackie Luskey No Comments
Paddling the Tualatin River, you'll see Oregon's Washington County in a whole new way.

Paddling the Tualatin River, you’ll see Oregon’s Washington County in a whole new way.

Every trail has its peak season. Whether it’s catching the autumn change of oak trees or it’s simply the perfect temperature for hitting the trail, we all feel the seasons through the changing nature of the trails we use. Water trails are, of course, no exception. In the last days of summer, feeling the soft splash of the Tualatin River come off of a kayak or canoe oar is nothing short of delightful.

Instead of the usual tromp through the forest, paddle down the Tualatin River Water Trail. To make it easy, the Tualatin Riverkeepers’ affordable kayak and canoe rentals are stationed at Cook Park—but only through Labor Day!

Along the 40 mile stretch of the Tualatin River Water Trail, paddlers can find swimming deer, turtles, eagles, and even otters. Nature lovers can truly unwind and experience wildlife from a new angle.

As the river is a friendly one (and a life jacket is included with your boat rental), The Tualatin River Water Trail is the ideal first experience for new kayakers and canoeists. Simply paddle at your own place and enjoy the easy-breezy style of water trail travel. Kayaks, canoes, and lifejackets are available to rent from the Tualatin Riverkeepers through September 2, 2013. The Tualatin Riverkeepers are located at Cook Park (17005 SW 92nd Avenue, Tualatin, Oregon). Rental hours are Friday through Sundays (and Labor Day), 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Rental rates are $30 per canoe or tandem kayak, $20 per solo kayak. After four hours, there is an additional $10 charge per additional hour of use.

Fast Facts
Length: 40 miles, with various access points    
Type: kayaking, canoeing
Level: beginner
Map: Tualatin Riverkeepers Paddler Map

Tune into the next installment of Trail of the Week! We will be shifting gears, going from paddles to pedals. With the Inaugural Ride for the Tualatin Valley Scenic Bikeway less than a month away, we are thrilled to take some time to talk about how beautiful and fun this ride is. Can’t wait? Register for the Inaugural Ride now.

Did you catch our first Trail of the Week installment? Don’t miss out on the Fanno Creek Trail—it allows you to walk alongside the Tualatin River instead of paddling in it!

What’s a Teen to Do?

Posted on: August 31st, 2011 by Sylke Neal-Finnegan No Comments

Tree to Tree Adventure Park is one of several attractions in Oregon's Washington County that your teen will enjoy.

Traveling with teens can be a frustrating experience. Attractions that adults may find inviting, such as museums and art galleries, may be boring to the average American teenager. And kid-friendly spots can be too “babyish” for the finicky teen. As a parent to a teen, here is a handy guide of places that are fun for adults and are teen-friendly, too. (Although they will never acknowledge that they’re having fun, you know they are and will.)

For the Teen with a Sense of Adventure

Hands-down, Tree to Tree Adventure Park remains on the top of the list for teens when it comes to outdoor adventure. The thrill and excitement of playing in the trees while navigating a course of obstacles can bring out childlike enthusiasm in even the most jaded teenager.

Kayaking and canoeing is also a good pastime for teenagers, whether it’s a leisurely ride along the slow-moving Tualatin River, or a family race to an imaginary finish line. Boat rentals are available from the Tualatin Riverkeepers or Alder Creek Kayak and Canoe.


Bonding Time

Hagg Lake, located at Scoggins Valley Park, is one of several fishing spots perfect for a day of parent and teen bonding. Horning’s Fishing and Picnic Hideout also is another popular fishing hole, stocked with rainbow trout. As an added bonus, after a day of angling, try a game of disc golf at each of these locations.

For many, myself included, a great deal of bonding happens while shopping; however, we parents of teens know that this often creates some short-lived drama, so shop ’til you drop at your own risk.


Friendly Family Games

Washington County is chock-full of teen- and family-friendly hands-on activities: laser tag at Laserport, bowling at Big Al’s, outdoor go-kart racing at Malibu Raceway or indoor go-karting at Sykart Indoor Racing Center. For less competitive sports, try trampolining at Sky High Sports or rock climbing at Stoneworks Climbing Gym. (Some attractions are open during evening hours, which will keep your teen happy after the sun goes down.)


Teen-Friendly Dining

So you’ve hiked, biked and climbed your way to an appetite, and you ask, “Where can we go for dinner that has food my teenager will like?”  Here are some local places that teens will enjoy, for the food, and the ambiance:

For the complete list of restaurants in Oregon’s Washington County, visit our dining page.


So, there you have it, a quick quide to exploring Oregon’s Washington County with teenagers. My own teenager helped me compile this list, so it has an unofficial stamp of approval. There are hundreds of other things to do and see while here, more than what’s on this list. Whatever you choose to do while visiting, we’re sure you (and your teen) will have a blast.



Newfound Paradise: Paddlin’ Down the Tualatin River

Posted on: August 10th, 2010 by Sylke Neal-Finnegan 2 Comments
The Tualatin Riverkeepers have a colorful assortment of cool kayaks (funded, in part, by a WCVA tourism grant)

We were riding in style in the colorful kayaks provided by the Tualatin Riverkeepers (which were funded, in part, by a WCVA tourism grant).

Over the weekend, the Washington County Visitors Association (WCVA) threw a summer social at Tualatin Community Park, located in the heart of downtown Tualatin (and one of the locations of this week’s Crawfish Festival). It was an ideal summer day in Oregon, and a perfect Saturday to take a leisurely trip down the serene Tualatin River.

With some quick instruction and guidance from the fine volunteers of the Tualatin Riverkeepers, and after being suited up with life jackets, my daughter and I –and the rest of the guests at the summer social– set out in the kayaks for an hour-long paddle trip down the Tualatin River.

The quiet calm of the river was amazing. Trees flanked both sides of the river, and the only clues that we were in a suburban area were the occasional overpasses we floated under, which also served as makeshift habitats for nesting birds who make the river their home.

Along our slow journey, we passed a young man and his brother fishing, presumably for the largemouth bass that thrive in the Tualatin. Other folks enjoying the river passed us slow-poke kayakers on their kayaks and canoes, each sharing a smile and saying a pleasant “hello” as they paddled past us.

It wasn’t just river dwellers of the human variety that were enjoying the Tualatin River that day. Plenty of birds were enjoying the sunny, cool afternoon. Wood ducks, green heron and other birds indigenous to the area were swimming and flying alongside the kayaks, with some stopping for a quick bite to eat.  Although we didn’t see any river otters or beavers during our excursion, we did see evidence that at least one beaver makes the river its home.  Sue, one of the fabulous guides from the Riverkeepers, found a recently gnawed piece of bark floating downstream, an artifact left behind by a busy beaver.

Why I waited three years to try kayaking down the Tualatin River, I don’t know. What I do know, however, is that I can’t wait to get back out on the river and spend another lazy Saturday with the birds and beavers.

Read more about the Tualatin Riverkeepers and their mission to protect Oregon’s Tualatin River system.

Volunteering and Canoeing with the Tualatin Riverkeepers

Posted on: July 24th, 2009 by Guest Blogger 3 Comments
Putting in at Munger Farm, Tualatin Riverkeepers

Putting in at Munger Farm, Tualatin Riverkeepers

Paddling on the Tualatin River is a fun outdoor recreational opportunity during the summer months, and recently some of the WCVA staff and our guests went on a guided canoe trip on the Tualatin River led by the Tualatin Riverkeepers.  If you haven’t heard of the Riverkeepers, they are a terrific community-based nonprofit organization working to protect and restore the Tualatin River watershed through education, restoration, advocacy, and facilitating public access to nature.

The paddle trip was also intermingled with a good cause: habitat restoration.  Some of my coworkers started the day by helping the Riverkeepers hand-clear some invasive, non-native plant species.  Hand pulling weeds may be hard work, but it protects the nearby watershed and wildlife from herbicides and other chemicals, to give native, soil-stabilizing plants  a chance to recover.

Pulling invasive species for a good cause.

Pulling invasive species for a good cause.

We all had a great time on the river, and although I personally didn’t catch many glimpses of wildlife during our two hour trip, the little pirates in my canoe claimed sightings of Crocodiles, Chilean Sea Bass, and Harry Potter. 

The 'pirates'.

The 'pirates'.

Takin' in some shade before heading back.

Takin' in some shade before heading back.

After the paddle trip, we hit the South Store Cafe for a delicious lunch, and then headed across the street to shop and pet the goats behind the Smith Berry Barn. *Tip*: remember to bring some quarters for the goat-treat dispensing machine if you head back there. These cute little goats love their treats!


The Tualatin Riverkeepers website  www.tualatinriverkeepers.org is chalk full of information, including a down-loadable paddler’s map of the Lower Tualatin River with river access points, hazard zones, and estimated paddling times.

Canoe Rentals
The Tualatin Riverkeepers has limited canoes available for participants on their organized paddle trips. Check their website for further information, including  their guided trips and events schedule. Other local canoe rental sources include:

Alder Creek Kayak & Canoe 503-285-0464 *Easy Alert*: They offer family friendly paddle-away boat rentals right on the Tualatin River from their location in Browns Ferry Park during the summer months.