PDX Runs: Tualatin Hills Nature Park
Tualatin Hills Nature Park is an easy-to-run oasis that's great for trail neophytes and Beaverton-area folks seeking dirt, shade, and solitude without the expedition to Forest Park.
Right up front: This is a wildlife preserve, so no dogs are allowed.
Driving directions take you to the main entrance off Millikan Way. There's a parking lot, a water fountain, and restrooms (not open 24 hours). There is also an easy transit entrance from the SW 158th/Merlo Road MAX station. Hop off the MAX and take the paved access path into the park, landing about halfway between the main entrance and the far end.
Despite its name, Tualatin Hills Nature Park is mostly flat. Inclines are slight as well as few and far between. There are many small loops and side paths to keep you from having to repeat the same path.
The paths from the main entrance (Vine Maple and Oak) are paved, totaling about 1.5 miles. You won’t be able to complete a loop, however, without running on unpaved, mostly wooded trails. Without too much repetition, you can cover 3–5 miles in the park easily.
Find the Old Wagon Trail, a wooden boardwalk trail covered with greenery, and forget you’re just in a park in Beaverton (until you run by the Trimet building, anyway). Run the Chickadee Loop, a boardwalk overlooking Beaverton Creek.
You’ll be hard-pressed to find a time when there are enough visitors on the paths to inconvenience a run, except weekend mornings.
This run has:
- tree cover (some protection from rain and direct sunlight);
- easy access;
- many paths and and generally good signage inside;
- drinking fountain and restroom;
- lack of hills.
To get to Tualatin Hills Nature Park take Hwy 26 to Exit 67 for Murray Boulevard in Beaverton. Go south on Murray Boulevard for two miles, then turn right onto SW Millikan Way. The entrance to the park will be on your right.
Julie Baker is a former collegiate swimmer who runs for the Portland Running Company Race Team. She lives in Portland with her husband and two children. Email firstname.lastname@example.org.