What’s to Love: If your family is into disc golf, the 21 acre Orchard Park is worth the drive to Hillsboro. The park has a VERY nice 3-par, 9-hole course with a paved path winding throughout the length of the course. The paved path makes a 1/2 mile loop, which is a decent length for beginning bikers or kids on scooters.
We headed out to Orchard Park because we heard a rumor that the park has a huge boulder for climbing. Being avid climbers, we’re always looking for places outdoors to add to our usual indoor workouts at The Circuit Bouldering Gym. I looked online to see if I could find a picture of this alleged “boulder.” Sure enough, it looked like a legitimate piece of stone on which to do some bouldering.
When we got to the park (a Tuesday), we learned that every Tuesday throughout the entire summer, the disc golf course is reserved for a tournament. Can a disc golf course be reserved for a tournament every single Tuesday? Apparently so! Doesn’t make much sense to me, but I wasn’t going to argue about it. Despite not being able to play, it looked like an excellent course with a challenging layout for a 3-par course.
What about the boulder? Well, it wasn’t exactly as awesome as I thought it was going to be! It has a realistic textured finish similar to real rock. It had some cool features like giant “Huecos” or pockets for your hands. It also had some cool crimping holds and sit-starts.
Caveats: These parks just look a little too perfect for me! Can grass really be that green with no weeds? I have a feeling they manage this with as many chemicals as regular golf courses. I could be wrong, and I hope I am!
Distance from Portland: 12.7 miles from downtown Portland. Here is a Google Map.
Recommended Ages: If you have kids 8 and younger, it might be worth taking them to play on the boulder, especially if you couple it with some disc golf. My 8-year old was quickly bored with this pseudo-bouldering-rock. I thought it was pretty cool. I know we would have enjoyed the disc golf course – it looked really fun! Teens might like the course as well.
Parental Stress Factor: Very low stress park! Of course, your stress might be through the roof with traffic on your way out to Hillsboro! Make sure you come out with the traffic in mind.
Physical Difficulty: Trail that goes through the park is fully accessible and easy hiking. Watch out for flying discs!
Family Fun Factor: If you play disc golf, boulder, bike and combine the trip with other parks/attractions, fun factor is high! You could easily blow a full day exploring all the various parks.
Pet Friendly: Dogs are fine on leashes. If you want them to roam free, there is a dog park within the Hillsboro park system.
Weather Considerations: To make the drive worthwhile, I would wait until the sunny season, or try to head out on a dry day during rainy season.
Insider Info: If you don’t know much about disc golf and don’t want to try the whole course, the park offers a practice hole right next to the playground! Here, you can work on your approach and “putting” skills.
Plan to make a whole day adventure when combining this disc golf course with Horning’s Hideout. Horning’s has three, 18-hole disc golf courses and excellent fishing. It’s within 10 miles of Orchard Park heading west.
If you need to pickup some snacks or get some lunch, there is a Whole Foods Market nearby. Also, an option that is not nearly as healthy – Five Guys Burgers and Fries, which has a popular following and is also right in the area.
Family Tips: Hillsboro has an excellent collection of parks – several of which are connected by the Rock Creek Trail, which is 1.5 miles long currently. It’s a fully ADA accessible paved path. Therefore, you might want to bring your bikes for some fun riding! Here is a map of existing sections.
Other Posts of Interest...
Learn to Climb: Chockstone Guides on October 9th, 2012
Horsethief Lake State Park on July 10th, 2012
Beacon Rock State Park on August 11th, 2012