Great Family Hikes in the Willamette Valley
It’s finally feeling like spring (summer!) in the Willamette Valley. It’s a great time to get outside for some family hikes and enjoy the benefits of being in nature.
Looking for an easy-with-a-stroller walk or forested hike with some hills to climb? How about seeing waterfowl and other wildlife? The Willamette Valley has it all.
Here are a few great places to take a family hike, well documented by Oregon Hikes With Kids.
The Peavey Arboretum is in the McDonald Research Forest just north of Corvallis. It is an easy loop hike, just under 1.5 miles. It has a gradual incline, with wide, well-marked trails. Information placards tell you about the variety of tree species along the trail.
Calloway Creek is also in the McDonald Research Forest and offers a 3-mile loop trail that intersects with a number of other trails in the forest. Like the Peavey Arboretum trail, you’ll find information placards along the way that help you learn about trees and forests.
Jackson Frazier Wetland is located in north Corvallis, not far from the Cheldelin Middle School. It’s a lovely short loop trail, under a mile, on a boardwalk through the wetlands. Some parts of the year the water laps the sides of the boardwalk, while during the drier months, there is scarcely sight of water along the path.
Bald Hill offers many options for family hiking. A long paved path runs from the west end of the Benton County Fairgrounds to a parking area on NW Oak Creek Drive. If you want to bring bikes or strollers, this is an easy in and out walk. From the Oak Creek end, a loop trail, some paved and some not, takes you through pasture and wooded areas along the base of bald hill. For a challenge, hiking up to the top of Bald Hill offers great views of Corvallis and the Coastal Range.
The Finley Wildlife Refuge is located 10 miles south of Corvallis off Highway 99W. Home to a variety of species of wildlife, the Finely Wildlife Refuge has both roads and trails, allowing you to drive through the refuge, or get out and hike along its 12 miles of trails. Bald Eagles can often be seen circling overhead. A trail map can be found here.
For those of you on the coast, or looking for a day trip to the coast, check out the Hobbit Trail near Florence. This short half-mile hike to Hobbit Beach on a densely forested trail includes a ‘hobbit tunnel’ formed by the bushes along the trail.
Want to see them all on a map? Check out that out here.
Getting outdoors together is a great family bonding opportunity. Physical activity is good for everyone and the opportunities for unexpected conversation with your kids and teens are an added bonus.