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Posts Tagged ‘trails’

Trail of the Week: Tualatin Valley Scenic Bikeway

Posted on: August 26th, 2013 by Jackie Luskey No Comments
Hit the open road of the Tualatin Valley Scenic Bikeway

Hit the open road of the Tualatin Valley Scenic Bikeway

The Tualatin Valley Scenic Bikeway is a big deal. The freshly minted bikeway marks itself as the tenth designated scenic bikeway in Oregon. We are proud to claim 50 of Oregon’s Scenic Bikeways cumulative 790 miles, sharing the road and valley of Oregon’s Washington County with our bicycle-loving friends.

The Tualatin Valley Scenic Bikeway means business when it says scenic. Whether it’s a multi-day ride or day trip, get ready to roll by some of the state’s most beautiful landscapes, rivers, and vineyards. While cyclists make pit stops to fuel up at Unger’s Berry Café and Farm Store or Duyck’s Peachy-Pig Farm, they also take pause to watch birds making their own mid-migration pit stop at the verdant Fernhill Wetlands.

The Tualatin Valley Scenic Bikeway is the perfect trail for the avid cyclists who are just as enthusiastic about experiencing Oregon as they are about pedaling it. Biking across the fir and oak trimmed hills, it’s clear to see that this bikeway tells our story.

First, it is the story of the land itself. Pedaling from Hillsboro Rood Bridge Park to the bucolic Banks-Vernonia State Trail, take in abounding mountains spotted with sturdy old tree roots like a grandpa’s knuckles.

And the grandfathers of Oregon are indeed at rest here in Oregon’s Washington Country. The Tualatin Valley Scenic Bikeway pays tribute to a very different trail—the Oregon Trail—as it passes well-weathered Pioneer cemeteries. Then there is the story of the families that have settled here, making the valley their homes. Take in the numerous, well-loved pastoral barns along the trail which have been passed down from generation to generation.

This brings us to today. Celebrate the end of your ride at the trailside Oak Knoll Winery. The Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris, and Chardonnay made by this family winery’s second generation of winemakers give visitors a taste of our valley’s tomorrow.

With a sign unveiling and Inaugural Ride on the horizon, you can become part of the Tualatin Valley Scenic Bikeway’s story. Come see why Portland Monthly Magazine named the Tualatin Valley Scenic Bikeway their August Trail of the Month. Simply register for the September 16 Inaugural Ride today!

Fast Facts:
Length: 50.4 miles
Type: road cycling
Level: intermediate to advance
Maps: Southern Sections (Hillsboro and Forest Grove)
Northern Section (Banks-Vernonia State Trail)

Read past installments of Trail of the Week:
Fanno Creek Trail
Tualatin River Water Trail

Exploring the Outdoors: Birds, Snakes and Venemous Creatures

Posted on: May 22nd, 2012 by Sylke Neal-Finnegan No Comments

The rebirth that spring brings every year is evident everywhere you look in Oregon’s Washington County. From the blooming flowers and the sweet sounds of the songbird to mother ducks walking about with their ducklings and the tadpoles swimming in ponds, the circle of life is on display to be discovered and admired. One day, on a shiny, warm afternoon, I set out to discover more about the nature that surrounds us, and explored several locations that are worthy of exploration–for adults and children alike.

The beauty of spring is on full display in Oregon's Washington County. (Pictured: Jackson Bottom Wetlands, May 2012))

First stop was Jackson Bottom Wetlands, a 725-acre wetlands preserve, and home to the only known authentic bald eagle’s nest on public display. Ed Becker, natural resources manager for the preserve, took me and my group out to explore the trails. As we took a leisurely walk along a portion of one of the 4-plus miles of trail on the property, we were greeted with the signs of spring: sparrows singing, a bald eagle in flight, as well as a host of birds lounging by the water, from egrets to ducks. We were given a “Bird Species Checklist” at the start, with a comprehensive (and impressive) list of the nearly 200 species of birds that have been spotted there.

Before we left for the next stop, we were invited back to see the annual migration of garter snakes, as they emerge from their underground homes out onto the preserve. Since I have an irrational fear of snakes, I will be passing on this event, but all who are fascinated by our reptilian neighbors can venture to watch this act of nature, as the snakes are expected to come above ground any day now.

Jackson Bottom Wetlands (2600 SW Hillsboro Highway, Hillsboro; 503-681-6206; jacksonbottom.org) is open daily, admission is free (donations suggested). The Education Center is open  from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., and the trails are open from dawn to dusk. (Dogs and bicycles are prohibited.)

Next stop was the Tualatin River National Wildlife Refuge, one of only a handful of national urban refuges in the U.S. We ventured out along the one-mile trail into the forested area, and stopped to take in the soothing sounds of the Tualatin River that runs through the refuge. We didn’t spot any wildlife while visiting, but I’ve been told that things really get hopping in the morning or before dusk when many birds and other wildlife are out and about.

Visitors can request a “discovery kit,” which is a backpack full of tools and guides to turn a stroll through the refuge into a fact-finding adventure. These kits, available on loan at no charge, are perfect for families and others who are looking to make their visit to the refuge a fun, hands-on and educational experience. In addition to trails, the refuge also has a Wildlife Center, which provides a historical overview of the area, including during the pioneer days, and a nature store filled with fun activities and gifts for all ages.

The trails at the Tualatin River National Wildlife Refuge (19255 SW Pacific Highway, Sherwood; 503-625-5944; fws.gov/tualatinriver) are open daily, from dawn until dusk, and admission is free. The Wildlife Center is open Tuesday-Sunday, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., and admission is free. (Dogs and bicycles are prohibited.)

Our final stop was the  House of Reptiles and Venomous Reptile Museum. This place, filled with creepy, crawly creatures, was a fascinating addition to our exploration of Oregon’s Washington County. The store itself, the House of Reptiles, with its collection of more than 100 species of creatures, provided an interesting glimpse into the lives of reptiles, amphibians and invertebrates. Among the animals available for sale (as well as the live insects, such as the Madagascar Hissing Cockroach, which is used as food for the animals) are those that have been rescued. These rescued “pets,” including a boa constrictor and alligator, are not for sale, but are interesting to look at, nonetheless.

The Venomous Reptile Museum, which opened to the public in February and is the only museum of its kind in the region, features an array of live, venomous reptiles. We viewed them safely behind glass, while interpretive signs explained the types of venom produced by these ominous creatures and the effect venom has on humans. Needless to say, I got out of there quickly, and headed back into the store with the non-venomous reptiles.

The House of Reptiles (11507 SW Pacific Highway, Tigard; 503-722-1992; house-of-reptiles.com) is open daily (hours vary); admission to the Venomous Reptile Museum is $3 per person.

Build your own Outdoor Adventure itinerary by checking out the many natural spaces and attractions throughout Oregon’s Washington County.

In addition to trails, the refuge also has a Wildlife Center, which provides a historical overview of the area, including during the pioneer days, and a nature store filled with fun activities and gifts for all ages.

It’s Time for an Oregon Adventurecation in Washington County!

Posted on: April 7th, 2011 by WCVA No Comments

When it comes to outdoor adventure, Oregon is tops! In Washington County, miles of beautiful countryside are waiting to be explored. From kayaking and cycling to birding and hiking, and so much more in between, the options are endless.

Activities and attractions such as Tree to Tree Adventure Park, the state’s only public aerial ropes course of its kind; Banks-Vernonia State Trail, a 21-mile trail open to hikers, cyclists and equestrians; and the Tualatin River, which is perfect for kayaks and canoes, are just a sample of the dozens of adventures to be discovered in Washington County.

Create your own Washington County journey via the Create Your Adventure Video Series, interactive videos that allow you to choose a couple’s Washington County adventure.

Don’t just sit there! Plan your Washington County Adventurecation today!

The Best Things in Life Are Free

Posted on: March 17th, 2011 by Sylke Neal-Finnegan No Comments

Enjoying Washington County without Breaking the Bank

Several miles of biking and hiking trails are open year-round throughout Washington County

Several miles of biking and hiking trails are open year-round throughout Washington County

Let’s face it, we often think the sky’s the limit when on vacation, and when we return home, we have to face the sticker shock.  The good news is that a vacation doesn’t have to break the bank. In fact, Washington County, Oregon, is an affordable vacation getaway–and with plenty of things to see and do that are free (or close to it), it’s an ideal destination for families, couples and solo travelers alike.

Visit protected wetlands and wildlife habitats
Washington County boasts several wetland areas that offer walking trails, as well as great viewing spots for birdwatchers and photographers. The Tualatin River National Wildlife Refuge, Jackson Bottom Wetlands, Cooper Mountain Nature Park and the Tualatin Hills Nature Park are just some of the locations to spot native plants, wildlife and migratory birds, sans admission fees (donations are accepted).

Tiptoe through the tulips
The tulips, or rather, rhododendrons, are a sight to behold at The Lloyd Baron Rhododendron Garden, located at Rood Bridge Park in Hillsboro. Colorful, seasonal rhododendrons and scenic woodlands, plus waterfalls and a pond, provide visitors with a serene, calm place to reflect. The garden doesn’t charge admission; donations are accepted.

Hike there
Don your hiking boots and set off on trails situated in the verdant countryside. With miles of trails to discover, including the 21-mile Banks-Vernonia State Trail, adventurers can explore for hours, without paying a dime.  (Bike rentals available for a fee at the Banks trailhead.) Got a bike? Venture out along the the dozens of trails open to cyclists throughout Washington County.

Taste the varietals
Most of Washington County’s wineries, located in the lush northern Willamette Valley, have tasting fees under $10; however, one winery still offers complimentary tastings to guests. Shafer Vineyard Cellars, established in 1978, pours a selection of varietals, plus offers complimentary cheese, crackers and coffee. (While there, check out Miki’s Christmas Shop, which has an impressive collection of German smokers and other “Old World” holiday items.)

These are just a sampling of the fun things to see and do in Oregon’s Washington County. To learn more about the myriad attractions and activities, visit our website or peruse the digital edition of the official Washington County, Oregon, Visitor Guide.

Sylke Neal-Finnegan is the director of marketing and communications for the Washington County Visitors Association. During her free time, she explores many of the riches of Washington County, Oregon, and shares her experiences throughout the destination.

Celebrate Oregon State Parks Day at Stub Stewart!

Posted on: June 2nd, 2009 by Guest Blogger No Comments

State Parks Day logo

This Saturday, June 6, is Oregon State Parks Day. Stub Stewart State Park is offering a full slate of events to get kids of all ages outside to celebrate; activities range from guided mountain bike rides and trail hikes to disc golf demonstrations and bike safely checks.

You can get a guided tour of the upcoming single track biking trail, and a preview of the location for the park’s Gold Tee Disc Golf Course, to be built this summer. The park is also hosting a hot dog lunch from 11:30-1:30, so don’t miss out!

Stub Stewart ActivitiesState Parks Day Flyer
Oregon State Parks are also offering FREE day-use and overnight camping (in traditional campsites only).
To reserve your campsite for June 6, call 800-452-5687 today!