Three Ways to Spend a Day in Tualatin
Somewhat eclipsed by the myriad recreation options available in nearby Portland, Tualatin is mistakenly overlooked by tourists and locals alike. This area of Washington County includes tons of attractions including miles of beautiful walking and cycling paths, sweeping vistas, golf ranges, and even a wildlife refuge. But you wouldn’t know it if you’ve only spent time in Tualatin’s developed areas around Bridgeport Village and the I-5 corridor.
Here are our top picks for ways to spend a day in Tualatin.
The Tualatin River Greenway Trail
This trail was officially opened in the winter of 2016 as a way to build Tualatin’s bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure. It promotes healthy outdoor activity and provides a safe alternative to driving while connecting the otherwise disconnected elements of the region. The Greenway trail connects housing areas, commercial developments, public parks, and natural settings so residents and visitors alike can connect with nature without leaving town.
Since opening in February of 2016, the city of Tualatin has received numerous awards for the trail’s sustainable design and success in building a stronger community. Roughly 10,000 hikers, joggers, and cyclists use the trail with an impressive 83% rating the trail’s usability as excellent or good (a higher level than similar projects in the US).
The trail meanders through towering conifers, alongside the roiling Tualatin River, and in sight of protected wetlands. According to the city government website, visitors can learn about Tualatin’s natural and cultural history including “the last Ice Age Missoula Floods, Pleistocene megafauna, and the emergence of Paleo-indians. The trail is part of a new Ice Age Loop on the Tualatin ArtWalk and a new Ice Age Discovery Trail linking Tualatin’s many Ice Age and paleontological landmarks with informative exhibits.”
To find the trail, start at Barngrover Way next to the Tualatin Public Library. It connects to Browns Ferry Park through the Nyberg Woods shopping center with connectors near The River Lofts, Forest Rim Apartments, and Nyberg Rivers shopping center.
Tualatin River National Wildlife Refuge
For a more immersive experience in nature, head to the Wildlife Refuge where you can view a dynamic panorama of wildlife without having to spend the night out in the woods. This refuge is a major stopover along the Pacific Flyway, the West’s north-south arterial for migratory birds and offers a quiet place to rest, eat, and raise their young. It is one of only a few national wildlife refuges located in an urban area.
Due to its diversity of habitats, this portion of the watershed supports a high concentration of wildlife year-round. With over 200 species of birds, more than 50 species of mammals, 25 species of reptiles and amphibians, and countless types of insects, fish, and plants, the refuge is a great place to learn about wildlife. Check the U.S. Fish and Wildlife website for the best times to see your favorite species of waterfowl, songbird, or shorebird.
Located on SW Pacific Highway (Highway 99W), the refuge gates are open from sunrise to sunset every day of the year, and the Wildlife Center is open for business and information from 10 am to 4 pm Tuesday through Sunday. There is plenty of parking (even for bikes!) and the Refuge is even accessible by the 93 and 94 TriMet buses (stop ID# 12743).
Tualatin Island Greens
If a manicured “greenway” is more your style, the Tualatin Island Greens is a 43-bay driving range and 3-acre mini golf course located in Tualatin on SW Cipole Road. Of its many amenities, you can enjoy a full bar and grill offering a variety of cuisine and an expansive dining patio. The mini course is great for entertaining large groups and can even be reserved in advance. Meandering through trees and natural foliage, the mini-golf course tests even the most experienced of putters.
The prices for each service are conveniently listed on the Tualatin Island Green’s website with a variety of lesson types and even some designed specifically for juniors. Range deals, practice ball prices, senior discounts, and annual memberships are available at reasonable prices to help make the lengthy process of improving your game easier! They even have a fully-stocked golf shop full of clubs, bags, gloves, and other swag.
The range’s hours start bright and early at 8 am and end as late as 10 pm every day of the week.