ACTIVITY: Nature walk
DISTANCE: Up to 3 miles of trails
WHY IT’S GREAT Tucked just inside the urban growth boundary, Metro’s newly opened Graham Oaks Nature Park in Wilsonville is a boon to Southwest-area denizens in search of quick woodsy retreat. Just under 20 miles from downtown Portland, the park’s 250 acres comprise five richly varied habitat types, including dense conifer forests, pocket wetlands, and very rare native pine and oak woodlands and savannas. Restoration began here in the ’00s, after Metro purchased the former farmland near the site of the old Dammasch state mental hospital. Volunteers planted more than 150,000 native trees and shrubs, including some 15,000 oak trees, to bolster habitat for Northern harriers, orange-crowned warblers, and Western gray squirrels. The regional Tonquin Trail, a paved, multiuse path, bisects the park, and will one day connect Wilsonville, Tualatin, and Sherwood.
DON’T FORGET To help protect the sensitive savanna habitat, dogs are not allowed in Graham Oaks—except on the paved Tonquin Trail—and must be kept on leash.
POST-HIKE WATERING HOLE Boston’s Pub & Grill After choosing from a handful of local beers on draft, do as the regulars do and order up a plate of the cheesy fries: a mess of house-cut fries, melted cheddar, and crispy bits of bacon. 29890 SW Town Center Loop, Wilsonville; 503-682-0773; bostonsgrill.com
TRAILHEAD DIRECTIONS From Interstate 5 southbound, take exit 283 for SW Wilsonville Road and turn right. Drive approximately 1.5 miles and look for the park entrance on the right. No fees or permits required.
Find more trails by following Brian and the Muddy Boot blog.