Fall colors are a sure sign of the fast-changing seasons and this week we’ll explore a fine place to enjoy the show. The Tualatin River is born high in the Oregon coast range and it flows nearly a hundred miles through the heart of fast-growing Washington County on the western edge of the Portland Metro area.

The Tualatin Riverkeepers centers its activities on recreation and protection of the watershed. It is a grass roots conservation organization that puts the paddles of their members into action to help the river. For example, on a recent fall afternoon, scores of volunteers gathered and walked the talk of caring for the stream. They gave up their time to pickup up boatloads of trash from the river’s shoreline.

The most common tree along the river is Oregon Ash and when they drop their leaves, it’s as if a bright yellow carpet had been laid down across the water’s surface. It is really beautiful! Not only on the river, but ashore at the Tualatin River National Wildlife Refuge where many people stop in at this time of year to gaze across more than a thousand acres of protected landscape near Sherwood, Oregon.

It’s a remarkable contrast and the sort of place that may leave you wondering, ‘Why haven’t I been here before?’ The refuge was established in 1992 and it opened to the public in 2007. It is vast for an urban wildlife refuge at more than a thousand acres.

The site is best enjoyed on the “Refuge Trail:” a mile long, wheelchair accessible ribbon of wonders that skirts the wetland’s perimeter and follows the river too. There are plenty of stops along the way including a river overlook where you may spy waterfowl during the fall and winter seasons.

It is a fine place to escape the city rush for the rush of wings.

Editor’s Note: Grant’s Getaways is a production of Travel Oregon brought to you in association with Oregon State Parks, Oregon Dept. of Fish & Wildlife and Oregon State Marine Board. Episodes air Thursdays and Saturdays on KGW Newschannel 8 and Saturdays on Northwest Cable News Network.

About the Author: Grant McOmie

Grant McOmie is a Pacific Northwest broadcast journalist, teacher and author who writes and produces stories and special programs about the people, places, outdoor activities and environmental issues of the Pacific Northwest. A fifth generation Oregon native, Grant’s roots run deepest in the central Oregon region near Prineville and Redmond where his family continues to live.

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In this Grant’s Getaway

These maps and directions are for planning purposes only. You may find that construction projects, traffic, or other events may cause road conditions to differ from the map results. For travel options, weather and road conditions, visit tripcheck.com, call 511 (in Oregon only), 800.977.6368 or 503.588.2941.

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