If there is one thing that Oregonians have in common, it’s a love for the outdoors. With Portland chalk full of parks and trails that weave its citizens and visitors seamlessly between nature and city, the suburbs are following suit.
Just west of Portland are two of Oregon’s largest cities, Beaverton and Hillsboro. Set aside the Nike world headquarters in Beaverton and their private park with trails for employees to enjoy, there are plenty of places on Portland’s Westside that offer the perfect environment to help anyone hit the reset button.
How Spending Time Outdoors Reduces Stress
Whether you’re on your way home from work or even have time for a lunch break walk, getting outdoors has shown to reduce stress. Over the past several years, research has shown that work is still a leading cause for stress due to work-related issues like workload, people issues, work-life balance, and job security. As a matter of fact, a recent study from Bensinger, DuPont & Associates have also shown that Millennials are experiencing more anxiety and depression at work than any other generation.
So how does spending time outdoors help reduce this stress?
For one, spending time in nature has consistently been linked to reducing stress. Spending time outdoors can not only help relieve stress, but also improve one’s memory and attentiveness.
Interestingly enough, the University of Michigan found that not only does spending an hour walking in a park make a difference but also just viewing pictures of nature can impact memory performance and attentions spans by upwards of 20 percent. But why spend an hour on Instagram, when you can spend an hour out exploring nature, and for you Fitbit people, logging those steps.
Oh, by the way, did we also tell you that 1 in 5 Americans say tech is a major source of stress? So, why not take an hour each day to take a tech fast by taking a walk? In Beaverton and Hillsboro alone, there are plenty of places one can go to hit that reset button and relieve some stress. Here are 5 trails on Portland’s Westside that will help you hit that reset button.
Westside Portland Trails You’ll Love
Ranging in difficulty, these 5 trails offer varied landscapes that can transport anyone, in a matter of steps, from a place of stress, to a place of peace.
Cooper Mountain Nature Park
This beautiful park on the side of Cooper Mountain in Beaverton offers a lot of stress reducing elements in its 3 miles of trails. Here, on a good day, you will encounter all kinds of wildlife by both ground and sky as well as a myriad of plants, trees, and wildflowers. Park hours are from dawn till dusk, and be advised that no pets are allowed on this popular trail. After one visit, there’s no question as to why Cooper Mountain Nature Park is a favorite of many on Portland’s Westside.
Tualatin Hills Nature Park – Hiking Trail
Not far from Nike, this forest setting, which runs adjacent with light rail, is a 222-acre that features about five miles of trail that winds its way around an incredibly diverse setting. The Tualatin Hills Nature Park is a unique setting, and is a wildlife reserve that includes wetlands, forests, and streams. The location of this park is perfect for a stop on the way home to unwind and reset.
A popular setting for weddings and private events, Jenkins Estate is 68 acres with 2.25 miles in trails. The trails are a popular spot for days when the neighboring Cooper Mountain Nature Park is at capacity. Lining the edge of the estate is a forest area with trails running straight through. Here’s a pro-tip, if you really need to reset, look for the 2-3 park benches scattered about along the forest trails and spend a few minutes breathing in the beauty that makes Jenkins Estate a Westside gem.
Rood Bridge Park
This 59-acre community park has it all, but it’s the wooded natural areas, which offer glimpses of the Tualatin River, that offers visitors a perfect place to retreat and hit that reset button. Here’s another pro-tip, the large pond in the middle of Rood Bridge Park is instant reset. Do yourself a favor and spend some time in this beautiful suburban oasis.
Orenco Woods Nature Park
From golf course to nature park, Orenco Woods Nature Park has seen it all. Originally a part of the largest nursery on the west coast and best known for apples, Orenco Woods, which is located along the Rock Creek Trail in Hillsboro boasts spectacular foot bridges, wetlands and so much more.
We All Need A Reset At Some point
The truth is, wherever we are in life, we all need to hit that reset button from time to time. And, being that this is Oregon, we know that just 5 trails, as listed here, only scratch the surface of a thousand more where people visit every day, right here in this beautiful state, for but a moment just to hit pause.
We look forward to seeing you out there.