A hummingbird in Oregon's Tualatin Valley: 2014 Nature Photo Contest
Unger Farms Berries
Duyck's Peachy-Pig Farm Berries
Birds, Alpacas and Berries


Beaverton Farmers Market
White Egret

Birds, Alpacas and Berries… Oh, My

During the summer months there is no shortage of spectacular birds to spot. Morning doves, California quail, Great Blue Heron and Red-tail hawks are commonly spotted during the summer. If you add an agricultural tour into the mix, you will have a weekend of birds, farms and berries… the perfect Tualatin Valley getaway.


To best explore Tualatin Valley’s agricultural areas, set out along the Vineyard and Valley Scenic Tour Route, which showcases this special commingling of farmland and natural areas along its 60-mile drive through the serene Oregon countryside.

Grab a bite at South Store Café, a quaint country cafe situated in the heart of Tualatin Valley’s agricultural area. The sweet yellow building is a cozy lunch spot for farmers, winemakers and visitors alike. From old-timey meatloaf to health-conscience matcha lattes, this cafe is a must-stop location for any visit to Tualatin Valley.

Cross the street and stop at Smith Berry Barn. This historic barn houses aromatic candles, lotions, honey and teas. Basically, it’s a delicious heaven. Surrounding the barn store, seasonal u-pick and garden wares tempt even those with a black thumb.

If your trip falls in June or July, then take a quick detour off the route and follow the scent of lavender to Mountainside Lavender Farm. Lavender fields are good for the soul. Bring the fragrance home with you by way of Mountainside’s massage oil, eye pillows and lip balm (all made with lavender from the farm).

Continue along the Vineyard and Valley Scenic Tour Route, stopping at farms to pick berries, estate wineries to sample a flight of Oregon wine, or to revel at the historic attractions along the route.

One must-see stop, however, is Helvetia Tavern. One bite from a Helvetia burger, and you will see why it continually lands on the top 10 list of best burgers around.  This no-frills restaurant focuses on traditional, simple burgers, grilled sandwiches, fries and onion rings. For the vegetarians and pescatarians, the tavern has meat-free options, as well as fish and chips. Bring cash, as the tavern does not accept credit cards.

Before the sun sets, head over to Fernhill Wetlands in Forest Grove for a little dusk birdwatching. This recently renovated wetlands area features a 1.1-mile loop trail around the wetland, as well as a gorgeous water garden designed by famed landscape architect Hoichi Kurisi.

Now that the day is done, overnight in one of our hotels and rest for another day of exploration. For dinner, find a restaurant near your hotel or use our guide to find a great restaurant near you.

Did you know?
The best time to view wildlife is during the most active times for the birds and animals: dawn and dusk.


Jump start the morning at the Tualatin River National Wildlife Refuge, home to nearly 200 species of birds, more than 50 species of mammals, 25 species of reptiles and amphibians, and a variety of insects, fish and plants. Explore the Wildlife Center, the nature store and the one-mile trail that meanders through the refuge, providing great photography opportunities along the way.

Next, visit Heart 2 Heart Farms, a family-run, community supported agriculture (CSA) and livestock farm dedicated to growing and cultivating fresh, pesticide and hormone-free food products. Heart2Heart Farms is as soulful as its name suggests with heritage livestock and sustainable growing processes.

For lunch, travel to Old Town Sherwood and enjoy the comfort foods of Fat Milo’s Family Kitchen. This family-owned restaurant serves homestyle breakfast, lunch and dinner using local produce.

After lunch, visit Our Table Cooperative. Here, farmers and artisan producers work together to create handcrafted, thoughtful and delicious food for the local community. From a 58-acre diversified farm in Sherwood, they grow a variety of fruits, vegetables and flowers as well as raise chickens and geese. All of their produce and flowers are certified organic.

After spending much of the day in Sherwood, head over to the agricultural areas of Beaverton and Hillsboro.

First, visit Hoffman Farms Store and pick your own berries or buy a pint of ready-picked berries from the farm. Hoffman Farms Store also bakes the most delectable little hand pies with fruit from their very own berry fields. The farm store operates out of an old milk parlor, which it pays homage to with strawberry milkshakes.

Then head to Cooper Mountain Nature Park and explore the more than three miles of trails that will take you through numerous habitats filled with nature trees, flowers and grasses, home to many birds and other wildlife.

Before the sun begins to set, travel to Jackson Bottom Wetlands Preserve, a 725-acre wildlife preserve with 4.5 miles of trails, wildlife viewing blinds and picture-perfect views. This truly is one of the best places in the valley to spot winged wildlife.

Now that the day is done, overnight in one of our hotels and rest for another day of exploration. For dinner, find a restaurant near your hotel or use our guide to find a great restaurant near you.

Download these bird checklists to keep track of the many species you may encounter while visiting: Tualatin River National Wildlife Refuge’s “Watchable Wildlife” (PDF) and Jackson Bottom Wetland’s “Bird Species Checklist” (PDF).

Tualatin Valley in Oregon