While we hold onto every last vestige of autumn sunshine and the fresh air options that coincide, it’s also groovy to check out places that are delightful come rain or come shine. Exhibit A: Tryon Creek State Park. With a glorious tree canopy, flat, well-maintained trails, wooden footbridges galore and wildlife discoveries at every turn, this gem is open for nature-loving business all year and is mos-def a worthwhile adventure for you and yours whether the skies are blue or gray. A little rain never hurt anybody and neither did a good walk in the park.

tcsp overturned tree roots

Roam Around, Around, Around
Under the impressive stewardship of Friends of Tryon Creek this state park has been rocking and rolling on SW Terwilliger since the early 70s.  The FOTC team of staff, volunteers and Board of Directors work hard to keep the park all it is now known for; Trillium viewing and festivals, kid-friendly classes, camps, field trips and hikes, and an amazing (and free) outdoor, tree-laden resource for all of Portland.

On any given day you will see multigenerational families, leashed dogs, trail runners, horseback riders on designated trails, and Lewis & Clark staff and students all wandering and enjoying the amazing green space.  With trail maps explaining the many short and easy trails that can be combined for any length adventure, it is a very easy place to explore and exhale.

tcsp high bridge

Hit the Trail
Our early autumn storms brought about changes to the forest and for the kidlets this means stumps to climb, forts to investigate and climbing options a-plenty.  Birds and beavers make for teachable moments for all of us and simply listening to the creek helps melt away the stresses of carpools, workweeks, and dinner dilemmas.  Four footbridges dot the trails and make for destinations and so does criss-crossing back and forth across the creek, the Maple Ridge Trail and Big Fir Trail (among many, many others).

tcsp trees

Let’s Get Centered
Their Nature Center is ready for the mini canyoneers. Displays of deer, birds and beavers await. Super helpful volunteers will help coordinate your hike. Plus there’s a whole room dedicated to nature books, coloring and cutting, and a build-your-own-forest table. The kiddos will feel right at home checking it all out and here, too, are the only bathrooms.  Perfect pit stop all around.

tryon crek meadow fb page

For the Little Birds
Oregon State Parks run several fam-tastic guided walks each week at TCSP. On Fridays at 1:00 kiddos ages two to six (and their grown ups) are invited for a Story and Stroll that combines art, nature, music, and literature with outdoor play. Saturday morning at 10:00 boasts 90 minute guided nature walks with rotating themes for fresh air enthusiasts of any age. Kiddos welcome and parents must stick around as well. Make it a bonding moment and learn about moss, woodpeckers, lichen or the winter solstice.  Then pat yourself on the back for a superb morning.

tcsp nature ctr

A State Park and Then Some
Over winter break nature day camps abound. Their Annual Holiday Market is set for December 7 and 8 and classroom field trips are not only welcome, they are underwritten, with a field trip coordinator on staff.

Tryon Creek State Park is open everyday from 7:00 am. to dusk and the Nature Center is open everyday from 9:00 – 4:00 pm. Free, donations accepted. Easily accessible off of I5 at Exit 297.

11321 SW Terwilliger Blvd
Portland OR 97210

What does your fam love to do at Tryon Creek State Park? Tell us in the comment section below.

— Liz Overson

Thank you for the photos Tryon Creek State Park Facebook page and Liz Overson.