The state of Oregon has a vast array of nature recreation opportunities, and each region of the state has its own special, natural qualities. If you are visiting Oregon from another country or another US State and are interested in taking a hike on your trip, or if you are an Oregon local who is looking for suggestions for getting out into nature this summer, now is the time to start planning, and this page can be a good starting point for you! Hiking Oregon offers so many choices for all kinds of ability levels. This blog will be focused on the Willamette Valley Wine Country, Portland and Salem areas.
Willamette Valley Wine Country Area
Beginning at our perch atop Youngberg Hill there are many directions that we can go and places that we can explore from here. Located on the north end of McMinnville, the Rotary Nature Preserve at Tice Park has a forested boardwalk trail along the banks of Baker Creek, with views of two ponds and wetland wildlife. There are benches along the path, and the mile-long loop is perfect for a romantic afternoon or early evening walk.
South of McMinnville toward Sheridan is the famous Glacial Erratic Rock . A paved walkway leads up to the 90-ton rock, which was frozen in an iceberg and traveled all the way to the Willamette Valley from Missoula, Montana during one of the glacial floods of the Ice Age. Picnic tables at the top of the hill provide a nice spot to have a picnic and take in the view of the valley.
Another great hiking haven, Our Lady of Guadalupe Trappist Abbey, can be found in the opposite direction, north of McMinnville and just a couple of miles west of the fun and artsy town of Lafayette. The Trappist Abbey is open to visitors and has a number of hiking trails for guests to explore. Maps of the hiking trails, along with information about the lives of the monks who live at the abbey, are available at the visitor center. For a great review on hiking and other activities to do at the Trappist Abbey, visit www.newlafayette.org/?p=11956.
Portland has a number of walking and hiking options that are right in the city limits! Hoyt Arboretum, which is located in NW Portland right next door to the Japanese Garden, the Rose Garden, and the Oregon Zoo, is a great destination for those who want to walk through the woods without having to commute out of the city. The arboretum has a well marked trail system, each trail showcasing different trees from around the world, including Holly, Magnolia, Maple, Oak, Ginko, Pine, and Sequoia just to name a few. Parking and entry into the arboretum is free to the public which is an added bonus. PHOTO
Just a short drive from Hoyt Arboretum, and accessible from a number of locations in NW Portland is the infamous Forest Park. With over 80 miles of trail systems, Forest Park is a northwest rainforest paradise that is literally right in Portland’s backyard. With wide, level jogging trails, winding forested hiking trails, and a some paved areas with wheelchair access, Forest Park has hiking recreation options for everyone.
If you are looking for recreation outside of town, Timberline Lodge on Mt. Hood is a great place to visit. A little over an hour’s drive from Portland, Timberline offers summer hiking trails, food, chair lift rides, and free historic tours. Another great destination that will take you out into nature but not too far from Portland is Bagby Hot Springs. You can hike in 1 mile to the historic hot springs and relax in rustic hot tubs that were hand carved out of cedar logs – a perfect way to enjoy a day in the wilderness.
In the Salem area there are two hiking sites that I highly recommend: Silver Falls State Park and the Opal Creek Wilderness. Silver Falls has a beautiful historic lodge, lookout points, paved pathways, and camping. Opal Creek is home to an ancient forest center, historic mining claims, and beautiful hiking trails that run alongside creeks, pools, and waterfalls.
Wherever you may roam in Oregon, there is definitely a hike that is perfect for you. For general information on Oregon National Forests, Wilderness, State Parks, recreation and hiking opportunities, visit:
Oregon hiking http://www.oregonhiking.com/
National Park Service http://www.nps.gov/state/or/index.htm?program=all
Oregon State Parks http://www.oregonstateparks.org/
After a long hike, there is nothing better than relaxing on the deck with a bottle of wine. We hope that you can visit Youngberg Hill to share your hiking plans, photos and stories with us! We will be doing another blog about the other hiking areas soon.
Click on the Blog RSS feed on the left or our website to follow us as we post part two of ‘Hiking Oregon’ next month where we will review the rest of the state.
Tags: Bagby Hot springs, Glacial Erratic Rock, Hiking Oregon, Hoyt Arboretum, Opal Creek Wilderness, Oregon wine country, Our Lady of Guadalupe Trappist Abbey, Outdoor adventure, Silver Falls State Park, Timberline Lodge, Travel Oregon Wine Country, Willamette Valley, Youngberg Hill