Pets allowed
Not Allowed
Guided tours
Backcountry camping
Please respect the outdoors by practicing Leave No Trace. Learn more about how to apply the principles of Leave No Trace on your next outdoor adventure here.

The Tualatin River National Wildlife Refuge is located just outside of Portland and along the banks of the Tualatin River. This beautiful sanctuary, visible from Highway 99, is a protected bird migration spot. In the spring it hosts nesting bald eagles, fledgling Canada geese, and plenty of other wildlife. By the count of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service that manages the refuge, Tualatin River National Wildlife Refuge is home to nearly 200 bird species, over 50 species of mammals, and 25 species of reptiles and amphibians. Much of the refuge is a wetland, but trails also run through an area forested with a mix of bigleaf maple, Douglas fir, aspen, and oak trees. 

On a warm spring day the area buzzes with the sound of songbirds. There is something to catch your attention with nearly every step, be it a bird chirping, a frog or salamander alongside the trail, or mammals scampering through the thick grasses and along the pathways. The refuge trails are only for walking: bikes are prohibited, as are dogs. The refuge has many helpful guides for wildlife viewing, and if you are a photographer, a well-situated blind is available for use on a reservation-only basis. Arrangements can be made by phone by calling 503.625.5944.

A newly constructed visitor center is at the entrance to the refuge. It's open Tuesday through Sunday from 10:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m. Although it is currently free to visit the refuge, according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service a fee may be implemented in the future. Unlike other refuges in the area, this one is closed to all hunting and fishing. As far as wildlife viewing opportunities close to Portland go, this is a great place to visit. Remember to bring binoculars for the best views.

Logistics + Planning

Preferable season(s)




Parking Pass

Not Required


Birdwatching and abundant wildlife. Beautiful riparian area.


Views of human development around the refuge.


Flushing toilets
Bird watching


Nearby Lodging + Camping


As a photographer, I was invited to assist with a shoot for a local fashion designer. I had never visited here and I sure was missing out! The forecast called for light sprinkles, but we were surprised with glorious weather and an incredible sunset. There was no shortage of photographers this saturday evening. I conversed with 3 or 4 bird watchers with long telephoto lenses while i waited for the rest of the party to arrive. Apparently this site is also popular with all kinds of photography as we crossed paths with 3 photographers doing family portraits, as well as a 4th photographer doing senior portraits. Many great opportunities for a diverse landscape of towering oak trees, chest height grass as well as ponds and sunsets. Definitely a location I will be visiting again.
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