The Finley Wildlife Refuge is a short drive South of Corvallis and is a great place to check out on a nice day! The refuge is a nesting ground for Canadian Geese, and you can drive or walk past fields of thousands of them during the right season. There are tons of large gravel paths and driveways to walk along, through large fields and ponds. There are also trails through the woods and an even a visitors center. It is a good place to hike if it is a sunny day and you don’t want to be stuck in the shady trees. I also recommend finding some cattails like the one pictured below – they will create a blizzard of fluff!
The Japanese Gardens of Portland are some of the best gardens you can visit in Oregon. The gardens offer a peaceful experience and many trails to explore for an hour or two. The trails are all very easy and accessible, with no serious inclines. There are five different styles of garden to explore, including an impressive Zen garden. The gardens are at a higher elevation than downtown Portland, so it is sometimes possible to find some surprise snow in the Winter!
The Oregon Garden is a botanical garden in Silverton, OR, about 14 miles East of Salem.The garden covers 80 acres and includes an amazing variety of flowers, trees, vegetables, and more. The Garden is a popular location for weddings, includes a lodge and restaurant, and also a Frank Llyod Wright Home, which is open for tours. There are special events in the fall for harvest, but of course the most amazing time to go is in the Spring and Summer. We went in late Summer and the flowers were the best!
Silver Falls State Park is a great hike, 25 miles East of Salem, that is both family-friendly and challenging for serious hikers. The park has over 20 miles of trails, including those for hiking, biking, pets, and horseback-riding.
We went to Silver Falls in the fall, on a fairly cold day. Nevertheless, it was a beautiful hike that took a couple of hours. We stuck to the most popular trail, “Trail of Ten Falls”, a 9 mile loop that passes, you guessed it, ten waterfalls throughout the trip.
Another great trail to check out in Eastern Oregon is the Deschutes River Trail! There are many trails called this, but the one we visited is called the Deschutes River Trail at Eagle Crest and is a perfect short hike that closely follows the river’s path through the Eagle Crest Resort.
This trail is open to the public and guests of the Resort, and is a great place to check out birds and other wildlife. Only a few miles from Redmond, this is a great trail to check out if you’re in the area.
A really fun and easy “hike” to do when in the downtown Portland area is the Eastbank Esplanade.
The Eastbank Esplanade is a pedestrian and bicycle path along the East side of the Willamette river, directly across from downtown Portland. The pathway spans from the Hawthorne Bridge north to the Steel Bridge, passing the Morrison and Burnside bridges. The path features convenient connections to pedestrian walkways over each bridge and therefore the Waterfront Park on the Westside. The path descends directly over the water at some points, and includes benches, docks/launch areas, and sculptures.
Powell Butte is a large nature park in outer Southeast Portland, off Powell St. This park contains over nine miles of trails, both through meadows and forest.
The first hike I want to talk about is probably my favorite hike in Oregon so far – Smith Rock!
Smith Rock State Park is a gorgeous hiking, camping, and rock climbing area in Eastern Oregon, closest to the city of Redmond. When we took our trip to Smith Rock, it was early March and the weather was absolutely perfect. Spring and Fall are great times to go, and Summer as well if you can stand the heat. We spent a night camping as well, and it was just warm enough to be comfortable without serious camping gear…
Welcome to Oregon Hikes!