People who live and play in Washington County have long known that the Tualatin River is a wonderful outdoor playground. It provides opportunities for canoeing, kayaking, birdwatching, and fishing. Now its beauty and recreation value are being nationally recognized! In October 2020, the U.S. Department of the Interior designated a 38.5-mile stretch of the Tualatin River as a National Water Trail.
National Water Trails are segments of river that are well suited for non-motorized watercrafts.
These trails are designed to attract people using human-powered boats, like canoes, kayaks, and paddleboards. They feature multiple access points, resting places, and attractions along the waterway. The Tualatin River Water Trail has twelve designated access points along its route, including Cook Park in Tigard, Rood Bridge Park in Hillsboro, and Jurgens Park in Tualatin.
The National Trail System includes both land and water trails. It is jointly managed by the U.S. Forest Service and the National Park Service. This massive trail network was created to encourage people to explore the outdoors and experience the nation’s historic landmarks. Water trails provide the unique opportunity to view scenic landscapes, bustling communities, and cultural heritage from the water. Each water trail is actively cared for by organizations who maintain the trail and its access points while encouraging people to preserve shoreland and enjoy their local waterways.
The Tualatin River Water Trail flows through farmland, cities, and natural areas.
The water trail extends 38.5 miles between Rood Bridge Park in Hillsboro and the Tualatin River’s confluence with the Willamette River. Paddlers on this trail pass by fertile farmlands, meander through the Tualatin River National Wildlife Refuge, and journey through the ever-growing urban communities of Washington County. This slow-moving river provides an ideal opportunity for beginner paddlers and families. Paddlers can view birds and wildlife in and along the river and can stop to picnic within the river’s historic floodplainFloodplain Low-lying land adjacent to a body of water that is susceptible to flooding or prolonged wetness..
There are only two nationally recognized water trails in Oregon.
The Tualatin River is the second Oregon waterway to be named a National Water Trail. The Willamette River Water Trail received its designation in 2012. It measures 217 miles and includes portions of the Willamette River’s headwatersHeadwater The origin of a stream, creek, or river. as well as the mainstem.
The Tualatin River is one of thirty new land and water trails added to the federal system in 2020. It was added to the trail system along with sections of other notable waterways like the Colorado River and Ohio River. In total, the national outdoor recreation network was expanded by 1,275 miles.
Looking to explore the Tualatin River Water Trail?
Check out this Guide to the Lower Tualatin River! You’ll find information you need to plan your next river visit, including parking, river access points, public restrooms, and summer boat rental locations.
The Tualatin River is the only river in Washington County. Learn about the different parts of the Tualatin River watershed by exploring this fun map!