Hike of the Month: Tualatin Hills Nature Park

Learn something new about the beauty in your backyard.

Sun shines down through trees laden with moss. A paved path winds among ferns and other undergrowth at Tualatin Hills Nature Park.

Tualatin Hills Nature Park hosts guided adult forest bathing, as well as programming for kids and families.

Photo by Ben McBee, PDXtoday

You’ll find a peculiar sculpture at the entrance to Tualatin Hills Nature Park. On first glance, it looks like two telescopes pointed at a planter, but take a look through either eyepiece and you’ll be greeted by quite a kaleidoscopic view.

Fittingly, the 222-acre park nestled on the edge of Beaverton is a place for the kid in all of us (and actual children) to let their curiosity roam free. Inside the Nature Center you’ll find a reading corner and interactive exhibits, including a microscope with specimens collected in the park. Let’s see what else there is to explore.

A gif shows the kaleidoscope planter box at the entrance to Tualatin Hills Nature Park. Looking through the eyepiece shows a prism of greenery.

Just imagine what this looks like in the spring.

Gif by Ben McBee, PDXtoday

Quick facts

  • Starting point: Tualatin Hills Nature Center
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Distance: 5 miles total, distance varies by route
  • Route type: Out-and-back or loops
  • Elevation gain: ~72 ft
  • Trail surface: 1.5 miles paved; 3.5 miles soft surface
  • Wheelchair accessible: Yes (Oak and Vine Maple trails)
  • Open: Year-round
  • Dog friendly: No

Brief overview

There aren’t many hikes you can access via the MAX, but this is one of them. It’s also a popular spot for Nike employees to stroll during lunch — the campus is right next door — and who can blame them? There are forests teeming with wildlife and unique flora and fungi. Birdwatchers will delight in the chance to pick out great blue herons in the ponds or nuthatches among the cedar grove. And you can see most of it without getting your shoes muddy.

A person take a photo of a blooming tree from a boardwalk at Tualatin Hills Nature Park.

Green foliage and white blossoms are starting to brighten the brown of winter.

Photo by Ben McBee, PDXtoday

Why you should try it

Incorporating the outdoors into your life doesn’t have to mean driving out of town or scaling a mountain. Much like Hoyt Arboretum or nearby Cooper Mountain, its ease of access is hard to beat. The kids will have a blast collecting stamps on the letterbox quest, too.

Pro tips

Stop by the Nature Center to familiarize yourself with the upcoming activities, from yoga classes to nature camps. Plus, every year the park hosts a native plant sale.

Let us know

Did you try this hike? Do you know of one we should check out? Send us your thoughts and recommendations — or check out our other monthly hiking guides.

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