Enjoy the outdoors and the beauty of the Hillsboro area at Orenco Woods Nature Park. This is a great destination for families, runners, bird watchers or those simply looking for a pleasant place to take a stroll. Tourists and locals alike will appreciate the beauty and unique layout of the park.
Rock Creek runs through the park with a beautiful bridge from which visitors can look for one of the many water fowl that call this place home. Patrons may also be lucky and see a beaver or other water life from the bridge. While in the park, make sure to keep an eye out for the many birds and raptors in the area, as well as other wildlife such as squirrels and deer. Here at Insight we love wildlife, but understand that certain pests and insects can be unwelcome in your home. Check out our post Why is Pest Control Important? For more information.
Those with young children will be happy to learn that there is a nature playground along the Northwestern portion of the park. It is near the parking lot and restrooms and picnic tables are available in the area for patrons. This is the only area in the park with play structures and restrooms. The remaining areas of the park are largely forested and contin portions of Rock Creek.
While walking through the park, you may come across the Malcolm McDonald House. This beautiful structure was home to the founder of the Oregon Nursery Company and was built in 1912. Near the house you may find apple trees that have lasted over a century, however, many of them died off in the Great Depression. Currently, the house is not open to the public and is owned by the city.
After the orchards died during the Great Depression, the area became a golf course for a few decades. Developers had their eyes on the area and were hoping to turn it into residential housing, however, the 2008 recession stalled progress long enough for the City of Hillsboro to obtain the land and turn it into a Nature Park.
Photo Credit: The Portland Tribune 2019
Orenco Woods Nature Park was recently home to a unique form of artwork known as Stickwork. The artist, Patrick Doughtery created a piece of artwork named Head Over Heels for the park in 2017. This world famous artist uses flexible branches and sticks from willow and dogwood saplings to create his iconic works of art. Orenco was home to a series of faces with various expressions that reach over 10 feet high. Each face was uniquely crafted and bore a unique expression, different from the rest of its stick friends. Doughtery’s creations will last on average about 2 years before they must be retired. Head Over Heels exceeded this expectation and wasn’t retired until March of 2021.
Doughtery’s work has taken him all over the world. He regularly travels to different states to create his pieces and has gone to various areas in Europe, including France and Ireland. His giant sculptures often take on a structural appearance and patrons can often walk through his creations and see them from a whole new perspective inside the artwork itself. Doughtery is conscious of the area around him, incorporating surrounding structures, nature and walkways into his artwork.
There is so much to do in the Portland and Vancouver area! Check out our Local Eats in Vancouver post for some local cuisine. Another must see destination is Powell’s City of Books, which is the largest used and new bookstore in the world!