Foodies and wine lovers still find time for hiking in Willamette Valley, OR
Willamette Valley wine country is an astonishingly beautiful area of Oregon to see on foot. Hiking the riversides, hills and valleys of this gorgeous countryside puts you right in the thick of nature’s bounty. While outdoor adventure isn’t the primary travel goal for most of our B&B guests, taking a Willamette Valley hike is an affordable and accessible way to work off the indulgences of a vacation (have you seen our breakfasts?) while still experiencing wine country views and wildlife. It remains the most popular activity outside of “wining and dining” that the busy guests of Chehalem Ridge B&B enjoy.
Because we are located at 1000 ft above the valley, hiking directly from the B&B is limited to a few road routes. With a bit of a drive, though, you can fit a hike into your already jam-packed wine country vacation. The innkeepers at Chehalem Ridge Bed & Breakfast did some reconnaissance and figured it out for you. Here are six of our favorite hikes that you, the busy wine country traveler, can enjoy during your next stay at Chehalem Ridge Bed & Breakfast.
1. Peace Trail and Serenity
North Valley Peace Trail – Newberg, Oregon
Just 10 minutes down Chehalem Mountain from our B&B, you’ll find a paved 3/4 mile path looping around the local church and elementary school. The Friends church has placed Peace Poles with “May Peace Prevail on Earth” in many languages along the trail and built a contemplative labyrinth on the east side of the loop. Partially unshaded by trees in the summer, it’s a great trail to take in some sun while exercising and in the winter the paved path will keep you mostly free from mud and slippery conditions. An easy and convenient trail, many B&B guests take advantage of this trail after breakfast and before heading to the first winery of the day. Parking is free and is located at the North Valley Friends Church right off Highway 219 near the junction of Bell Road in Newberg.
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2. A Walk in the Park
Champoeg State Heritage Area – St. Paul, Oregon Part campground, part disc-golf course, part historical site, this trail has a lot going for it. In 1843, Oregon’s first provisional government began as some of the state’s first settlers voted on the grounds of Champoeg (pronounced sham-POO-ee) State Heritage Area. You’ll find 19th century masonry, a homestead and restored cabin and barn of original Willamette Valley settlers on this historical plot of land. Besides offering insight into Oregon’s humble beginnings, the Champoeg Loop also provides plenty of trail diversity. It has widely-paved paths meandering through idyllic picnic areas and, then, narrow wooded trails running along the Willamette River. Before you head into the park, grab a day use pass for $5 at the parking lot kiosk. Head to the visitors center to grab a map because you won’t want to miss all the sights on this engaging 3.4 mile loop.
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3. A Summit Adventure
Harvey Creek Trail – Dundee, Oregon
Hiking this short, up-then-down 1.6 mile loop is wine country’s answer to the quick blood-pumping workout you usually get from a 45 minute gym visit. For those who want to work off those extra vacation calories without cutting into precious wine tasting adventures, this is the hike. Smack dab in the middle of dozens of wineries, Harvey Creek Trail offers a charming web of pathways zig-zagging up 345 feet through fir trees and ferns, maples and oaks. Park at the turnout off of Red Hills Drive marked with the Harvey Creek Trailhead sign and follow its meandering trails – all which lead up to the summit at Dundee Pioneer Cemetery. This hilltop cemetery dates back to 1855 when some of the founding families of Willamette Valley were laid to rest here.
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4. Step into nature
Miller Woods Conservation Area – McMinnville, Oregon This unique property is owned and maintained by the Yamhill Soil & Water Conservation District after original owners Frieda and K.T. Miller donated the 130+ acres to the county in 2004 for conservation and educational purposes. Located about 10 minutes and a world away from the lively downtown of McMinnville, you’ll find this a sanctuary of Oregon natural resources and wildlife.
Park in the $5 suggested donation parking lot at the trailhead entrance (online payments are also available). It is surprising how small you feel in this valley of sprawling hills and tall Douglas Firs and Oaks towering around the edge of the property. The great wide open expanses are good for runners who thrive in the outdoors and hikers will love the densely forested area leading up to K.T. Summit at 600 feet. There aren’t epic views of Willamette Valley at any point of this hike, but there is still much to see and learn about. Nesting bird boxes affixed to dozens of trees will keep you watching for rare sightings of local birds. Adorable footbridges will invoke a spirit of kid-like wonder and the perfectly placed benches will encourage you to sit back, relax and enjoy the quiet of the moment. The trails here are also well-marked with one-way color-coded signs so hikers can easily social-distance and stay on the intended path.
✔Restroom ✖Dogs ✔Garbage
5. A Spiritual Journey
Trappist Abbey Forest Trails – Carlton, Oregon The Guadalupe Loop is a well-maintained, wide-pathed hiking loop that winds through the forest surrounding Our Lady of Guadalupe’s Trappist Abbey outside the wine and food-centric town of Carlton, Oregon. The Brothers mission in offering access to their monastery forest to the community is to provide “a safe and spiritual environment of natural beauty; to reflect, to pray, to heal and to grow spiritually”. One of Willamette Valley’s best kept secrets, it is conveniently located just over 12 miles from Chehalem Ridge Bed & Breakfast. Surrounded by wineries, you can easily plan to hike the Trappist Abbey Forest Trails on your way to a day of wine tasting adventure, in between tastings, or after a day of winery visits.
Parking is easy and free on the Abbey’s grounds and all that is required of hikers is to check-in at the visitor’s center. As dogs and biking is prohibited, hiking here feels very peaceful and stress-free – surely what the Cistercian (Trappist) monks intended. At a little over 3.5 miles and roughly 1000 feet at summit, it’s on the easier side of an intermediate hike, but with the picture-perfect pond at its base and the promise of views of the Coastal Range in the distance, every step is worth it.
✖Restroom ✖Dogs ✖Garbage
6. Fall in Love with Nature
Trail of Ten Falls – Silver Falls State Park – Sublimity, Oregon
If you are a wine country traveler that has a bit more time for exercise and sightseeing, this is the hike for you. Just over an hour from Chehalem Ridge B&B, you’ll find Oregon’s largest state park. Silver Falls State Park covers over 9000 acres of Willamette Valley wonders, including the Trail of Ten Falls – an 8 mile loop that takes hikers within view of 10 different waterfalls. The entire hike is a figure 8, so you can do one half or the other, but if you want to see all the falls, plan for at least 3 hours. We recommend starting at the South Falls Lodge Trailhead where you can grab your $5 day use pass, take advantage of the facilities and visit the gift shop and cafe. Within 10 minutes, you’ll find yourself walking behind the majestically cascading 177-foot South Falls waterfall. Picturesque and magical, you’ll have to take those Instagram-worthy photos to make sure everyone at home knows what a clever wine country traveler you are!
✔Restroom ✔Dogs ✖Garbage
One Step Ahead at Chehalem Ridge B&B
These six Willamette Valley hiking trails for the busy wine country traveler are just a handful of the ones you’ll find in our area. We also keep a handy little flipbook of walking and running routes right by the B&B’s front door for guest use. That way, when you stay with us, you’ll know where the routes are that you can walk to or drive to from the B&B, plus how long, how hard and what type of trail you can expect.
We innkeepers make it our business to keep a step or two ahead of our guests, even the busy ones, to ensure the best possible bed & breakfast vacation. Won’t you come and see for yourself what a wine country traveler can experience when you stay at Chehalem Ridge Bed & Breakfast?
Visit our website at www.ChehalemRidge.com for more information on our rooms, our breakfasts, and our concierge services. You’re a busy wine country traveler. Let us help you make the most of your vacation in Willamette Valley wine country.
By Liz Bethell, Assistant Innkeeper