With moderate temperatures, cool breezes and a wealth of discoveries waiting to be explored, summer is one of the best times of the year to visit Oregon's Washington County. It's a great year-round destination for families, couples, "mancations" and girlfriend getaways, yet there is something magical in the air during the summer months, when things get hoppin’ with activity.
Try Something New
It's time to check off things from your "bucket list." Ride a zip line. Check. Take a hot-air balloon ride. Check. Fly in a glider plane. Check.
Now in its third season, Tree to Tree Adventure Park, an aerial ropes and obstacle playground in the trees, premieres its new Woody's Ziptastic Voyage, a zip-line park with a 1,200-foot "super zip." As the only park of its kind in the region, Tree to Tree features tree-top obstacles on four courses ranging from "beginner" to "double-diamond," and is a definite must-see in Oregon.
Other sky-high adventures include rides over the Willamette Valley in a hot-air balloon, which fly over the scenic agricultural lands in this breathtaking experience. Another great way to get a bird's eye view of the Valley is on a glider plane flight, piloted by the Willamette Valley Soaring Club. Don't forget the camera!
Ditch the Car and Ride a Bike
From well-traveled roads to firmly packed trails through the forest, Oregon’s Washington County offers cyclists of all abilities exhilarating experiences. With a variety of terrain along hundreds of miles of paths to be explored, cyclists can pedal through forests or picturesque towns, stopping at u-pick farms or visiting a winery to taste a flight of Oregon wines. No matter which path you choose to blaze, there are plenty of options from which to choose.
As Oregon's first rails-to-trails project, the Banks-Vernonia State Trail is a 21-mile path suitable for cyclists, hikers and horseback riders. This forested trail takes adventurers tree-lined pathways, over old railroad trestles and bridges and through L.L. "Stub" Stewart State Park. Several opportunities to rest, have a picnic or to use the facilities also are featured along the trail. (Download the Banks-Vernonia State Trail bike map)
Pedal through the foothills of the Chehalem Mountains, near wineries, parks and golf courses--including one of the Pacific Northwest's oldest golf course--on the 23-mile Jackson Bottom Loop. Stop at a winery (or three) along the way, or park the bike and take a stroll through the Jackson Bottom Wetlands Preserve, a 725-acre sanctuary for birds and wildlife (sorry, no bikes are allowed on the trails in the preserve).
The Fern Hill Loop takes cyclists through the lush Tualatin Basin, passed farm lands, vineyards and wineries, and a prime birding location. Stop at the three wineries directly along the route, or veer off path and visit Oregon's only saké brewery, SakéOne. Bring your binoculars and trek to Fernhill Wetlands, which attracts various birds, such as herons, hawks and bald eagles, as well as a host of other animals, including beaverts, otters and mink.
For more trails, visit our website and learn why in Oregon's Washington County, the road less traveled is a bike path.
Don't Just Watch an Event, BE the Event
Throughout the summer months, Washington County plays host to a number of events, including a long list of cycling and running events that allow visitors to participate in the fun. A variety of cycling events range from family-friendly leisure rides to long rides (up to 100 miles!). From two wheels to two feet, running events run the gamut from 5K and one-mile fun runs to triathlons that test even the most conditioned athlete. (See June-July running events; see August-September running events)
New this summer is Ponzi Vineyard's special summer series, "Yoga in the Vineyard," featuring instructions from Escape to Yoga, located in Sherwood, Oregon. Welcome the weekend with Asanas and meditation among the vines.
Spend a day on the water and paddle down the calm Tualatin River during the 23rd annual Discovery Day. Rent a canoe or kayak from the Tualatin Riverkeepers (paddles, life jackets and safety gear included) or bring your own for a family-friendly paddle trip. (Register online)
Explore Oregon's Washington County's Diverse Selections of Wine
Being situated in the northern Willamette Valley--Oregon's premier wine growing region--has its benefits. Fantastic produce, lush trees, fragrant flowers, and wine grapes of various varietals are just some of the advantages of Washington County's prime location. The fertile valley gives way to nearly 30 wineries, most with tasting rooms that are open during the summer months. Each winery offers its own brand of hospitality, and pours its signature wines, whether it's Pinot noir or Chardonnay, or a host of different varietals--some suprising. This summer, many of the area's wineries will be hosting open houses during annual events such as Red, White and Celebrate, or sample local wines at Forest Grove Uncorked! or the Best of Oregon Food and Wine Festival.
Get in Touch with your inner farmer
Washington County boasts many farms where you can pick your own produce, visit livestock and even pet an alpaca. Dozens of "u-pick" farms are located in this rich growing region, each beckoning guests to pick their own fruits, berries and produce. A visit to a u-pick farm is a great bonding experience for families (younger children and teens will enjoy it), and throughout summer, several farms host special events and feature live music and family activities. One of the best ways to explore the agricultural bounty of Washington County is along the Vineyard and Valley Scenic Tour Route, a nearly 60-mile ride through several of the area's rural agricultural communities. Stop at a nursery or farm along the route, of venture off the trail and visit an alpaca farm, such as EasyGo Farm or Alpacas of Oregon, or visit L-Bar-T Bison Ranch to get an up-close and personal view of a Great North American Plains bison.
Oregon's Washington County offers visitors a plethora of activities and adventures. Check it out and make you're own list of top five things to do this summer.
Whatever your Washington County summer plans are, you are sure to have a memorable experience. And don’t forget to use our interactive trip planner to help create your own adventure.