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Tualatin Hills Nature Park
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What’s to Love: Tualatin Hills Nature Park (THNP) can seem like Nike’s trail running course – it’s literally in the company’s backyard. I’m usually a bit leery of a “Nature Park” in the middle of a giant suburb. However, our visit to Tualatin Hills Nature Park was perfect! The weather was fantastic, the trails were immaculate, the biking was fun and just right for a 4 year old without training wheels, and the picnic area was relaxing and quiet. I invite your comments on this wonderful park. Read more…NOTE: Just visited again on March 5 – hadn’t been there for a couple of years, and it’s still awesome!

Nice hiking trails at Tualatin Hills Nature ParkTHNP has two paved, mult-use paths. They are both relatively short, but loop-hikes abound while you’re hiking these paths. We found the paved paths perfect for a casual bike ride. My son is just learning to ride without his training wheels, and the THNP offers a reasonable challenge for his skills. On a hot day, the park offers some nice shade as well.

Biking is fun at Tualatin Hills Nature ParkTHNP is easily accessible via the Max Train (158th stop), which literally borders the park. The Interpretive Center has a small library with plenty of books to entertain young children, and there is a patio in the back just right for a picnic lunch. Start your trip off here with a trail map and/or a guided hike with a staff member. Admission is free! The park is dog and smoke free.

Boardwalk at Tualatin Hills Nature ParkCaveats: I’m sure the THNP gets very busy. Even on a relatively slow day, we bumped into plenty of traffic on the paved path. If you’re riding bikes, take it real slow. You never know what might be around the next turn. If your goal is just riding bikes, you may prefer Willamette Park.  Here is a short clip of our recent visit.

Website: Tualatin Hills Nature Park

Distance from Portland: About 17 miles from downtown Portland

Recommended Ages: Older kids may be bored here. There is biking, but the trails are pretty short. It’s best suited for kids 4 – 6.

Parental Stress Factor: Based on a single visit, I would rate this park pretty low stress. They have enough rules to keep things pretty mellow. Plus, we encountered two park staff members out on the trails, which is good for keeping the peace.

Physical Difficulty: Fully accessible (Interpretive Center, bathrooms and paved paths)! The entire park is pretty level.

Family Fun Factor: Medium to high – if you’re bike riding, you’ll have a blast watching your kids ride the winding paved path. If your there to hike and watch for wildlife, the family fun factor goes down slightly.

Pet Friendly: No dogs in the Nature Park.

Weather Considerations: Year round destination. I wouldn’t let the weather deter you from visiting anytime.

Interpretive Center at Tualatin Hills Nature ParkInsider Info: I’ll say it…I hate so smell cigarette smoke anytime, but it bothers me when people smoke at parks – they are not supposed to. Here, there are plenty of reminders, and it’s very unlikely that you’ll encounter smoke!  Skateboards and in-line skates (rollerblades) are not allowed in the park.  However, it appears that scooters and any type of bicycle is fine.

The park can get overcrowded.  Therefore, if your kids are riding bikes, you may want to keep a close eye on them; unless, they are very courteous riders.  You certainly don’t want to your kids biking ahead at break-neck speeds.

Interpretive Center Library at Tualatin Hills Nature ParkMake sure you bring a lock for your bikes. You’ll probably have to get on and off at different times during your visit, especially if you’re planning on exploring the other (dirt) trails in the park. Bikes are allowed only on the paved paths. Also, if you’re Letterboxing, be VERY discreet here – the park staff monitors the trails often.

Outdoor patio at the Tualatin Hills Nature Park Interpretive CenterFamily Tips: This is not a park for Frisbee or throwing a football around. This is a “nature park” and has the feel of a wildlife refuge. Almost any type of child-carrier will work here including a stroller.  If you need some food, Me Too! is only about 2-3 miles away – it’s a great options for family dining and features a separate childcare area for the kids.

Exhibit at Tualatin Hills Nature ParkThere are many Letterboxes in the park, but we were 0/4! We couldn’t find one! If you have some luck, please give us some comments on the site. Bring some snacks and eat out on the trail (plenty of benches), or take your snacks or picnic to the Interpretive Center’s outdoor patio. There is some shade back there depending on the time of day.

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2 Comments


  1. Nature is pleasant and tensions are man made things, people living closed to nature and according to nature will be healthy, wealthy and happy and resourceful. I always love to visit hill stations and forests and greenness.

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