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Fall in Willamette Valley Oregon

Willamette Valley Hiking and Biking: 7 Trails You Won’t Want to Miss

In this blog post, we’re going to explore The Willamette Valley. The Willamette Valley runs south from Portland, Oregon for 150 miles, passing through the state capital of Salem, and then down to Eugene. The valley is surrounded by three mountain ranges—the Oregon Coast Range, the Cascade Range, and the Calapooya Mountains—making for incredible terrain for hiking and biking throughout the valley. Whether you’re on the lookout for mountain views, waterfalls, or wildlife viewing, there’s a trail for you in this valley. We’ve put together a list of some of our favorite trails to hike and bike in the Willamette Valley to help you make the most of your outdoor time next you find yourself in this beautiful destination.

1. Willamette Valley Scenic Bikeway

Firstly, the Willamette Valley Scenic Bikeway runs for 134 miles, winding through the beautiful countryside along the Willamette River. You’ll cycle through tranquil scenery and some of the most historic destinations in Oregon, including Champoeg State Park. Settlers gathered at this spot in 1843 to vote on the creation of the state of Oregon. Expect to find beautiful fields, meadows, farmers markets, and rain in winter.

2. Marys Peak

This 4,097-foot peak is the highest point in the Coast Range, offering amazing Pacific Ocean views and stunning vistas marked by the snowy peaks of the Cascade Range. The trail to Marys Peak is five miles round trip, winding through old-growth Douglas firs and meadows of wildflowers in summer. The trailhead is only about two hours and 15 minutes from downtown Portland, making it a totally do-able day trip.

3. Trail of Ten Falls Loop

Silver Falls State Park - Ian Sane - Flickr

Silver Falls State Park. Photo Credit: Ian Sane (Flickr)

This popular trail is located in Oregon’s largest state park, Silver Falls State Park. The seven-mile Trail of Ten Falls Loop takes hikers through the Silver Creek Canyon past, you guessed it, 10 waterfalls ranging in size from 27 to 178 feet in height.

4. McDonald-Dunn Forest

Oregon State University in Corvallis, Oregon maintains this research forest located just a 15-minute drive north of campus. There are 24 miles of public hiking, biking, and equestrian trails through this 11,250-acre park. For example, one of the most popular trails in the McDonald-Dunn Forest, Dan’s Trail, takes hikers and bikers through three ecosystems: oak savanna, fern forest, and a pear orchard.

5. Historic Champoeg State Park

Willamette River - Champoeg State Park - Rick Obst - Flickr

Willamette River flowing through Historic Champoeg State Park. Photo Credit: Rick Obst (Flickr)

Champoeg State Heritage Area is on the National Register of Historic Places and features a unique combination of history, nature, and recreation. In the state park, you’ll find museums where you can you learn about Oregon pioneer life as well as forests, meadows, and riverside wetlands through which you can hike, bike, and view wildlife.

6. William L. Finley National Wildlife Refuge

If it’s incredible bird watching and wildlife you’re after, head to the William L. Finley National Wildlife Refuge to enjoy seeking out more than 50 bird species in addition to the beaver, elk, and other fauna that call this place home. You’ll also find interpretive trails and beautiful views throughout the refuge.

7. Powell Butte

Powell Butte is an extinct cinder cone volcano located within a nature park in the city of Portland and you can find miles of trails throughout the park. As a result, these trails are perfect for hikers, bikers, and horseback riders alike. The Butte sits at the headwaters of Johnson Creek, a creek that runs through the city. Subsequently, it contains remnants of native salmon populations as well as steelhead.

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