It’s hiking season once again, and what could be better than hiking in Oregon on an epic trail, then capping the day with a relaxing evening in one of the world’s finest wine making regions?
The Willamette Valley in western Oregon is a great mix of wilderness and luxury, offering not only beautiful views and eden-like trails, but dozens of wineries in a fables mix of working farm and vineyard finery.
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Here are just three outdoor adventures you can enjoy in between your tour of the easing rooms. And remember, this is Oregon: You can sip your Pinot while wearing your boots covered in the grime of a fine hike to a beautiful spot.
Ten Falls Canyon Trail, Silver Falls State Park
Take the 10 Falls Canyon Trail through a beautiful canyon in Silver falls, Oregon’s largest State park. Located about 20 miles east of Salem, near the town of Silverton, this 10-mile loop takes you past ten waterfalls, for essentially a falls each mile, ranging in height from 27 feet to 178 feet.
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The loop is part of a 9,000 acre park with more than 24 miles of trails for biking and hiking. Ten Falls, however, is the jewel of the park. There are options to loop back, taking a shorter route and bypassing some of the falls, but we wouldn’t recommend that. Otherwise, how could you hold your head up later on, while swapping stories over wine and brie? You wouldn’t want to be the one who took the easy way.
This 4,097-foot Mary’s Peak is the highest point in Oregon’s Coast Range and the dominant feature west of Corvallis. It’s a 6.2 mile hike, normally requiring a half-day to complete. From the top, allowing there are no clouds, you’ll be able to see both the Pacific Ocean to the west and many of the Cascade peaks to the east across the Willamette Valley. This time of year, and into the summer, rolling meadows on the peak are filled with wildflowers, and Noble Firs line the meadows.
You’ll also be able to gaze upon vineyards, as you imagine your after-hike visit one of the wineries, sipping a Pinot Gris while gazing up at the peak you conquered.
If you want more of a challenge, or at least bragging rights, you’ll have two options to hike to the 5,440-foot summit of Iron Mountain. One is short but difficult hike, and the other wraps around the mountain through meadows. Either way, you’ll enjoy a view from what is considered the crown jewel of the cascade range.
Located between Bend and Sweet Home, the mountain boasts over 300 species of flowering plants and 18 different plant communities. But check this out: Somebody built a nice deck at the summit. So maybe for this hike you’ll want to bring a bottle of Oregon wine with you, for even look tot he east and imagine the breweries you could enjoy down there in Bend.
Located just north of Sweet Home, McDowell Creek offers views of Royal Terrace and Majestic Falls from the bridges, as well as viewing decks. At just 1.6 miles, it’s a light hike that affords wonderful views.
At just 2 miles, Spencer Butte is the most popular hike in Eugene, this one offers a choice of trails through Douglas fir trees. The rocky outcropping at the top gives you a commanding view up and down the Willamette Valley, letting you survey wine country and choose your luxuries evening spot.
Photo credit: Flickr CC