One reason so many health-conscious people choose to live in Corvallis is the network of multi-use trails in the city and surrounding natural areas. Linked park trails provide over a hundred miles of off-road adventure, accessible on foot or bike right from town.
Winding forest trails provide cool shade during the summer. Some lead to glades, streams, and meadows and others to hilltop vistas of the Willamette Valley. Make time to catch a sunset from the top of Chip Ross Park – the views of Marys Peak are excellent in the summer! Paved paths in Riverfront Park beside the Willamette River are sprinkled with sculptures to enjoy and benches to rest on as nature and people continue to pass by.
When it’s finally time to cross a road, you will be impressed with the courtesy of automobile drivers. As you could expect from one of America’s most bicycle friendly towns, a wide variety of bicycle shops and sporting goods stores can give you advice on hikes and bicycle rides that fit the season and your ability level. Here are a few year round opportunities that you should try.
Bald Hill Natural Area is a great starting point for a variety of off-road adventures. Three separate lots with plenty of parking lead to both paved trails and branching single-track that connects to Fitton Green, Oak Creek, and Cardwell Hill County Parks. Ride quietly and you’re likely to see deer, coyote and many species of birds. Make sure to clean your bike before and after rides to reduce the transportation of invasive species.
In addition to nearly 20 miles of paved multi-use paths within Corvallis, many roads in the area offer wide shoulders and light traffic. Ride south or east and you’ll be greeted by rolling hills and local agriculture. Head north or west for a more challenging route such as the ride up Sulpher Springs Road or the daunting climb to Marys Peak (4.097 feet).
Whether your ideal hike is on a boardwalk, paved path, forest trail, or grassy meadow, you can find it nearby. Catch a glimpse of the rare Fender’s Blue Butterfly on a hike through William L. Finley National Wildlife Refuge just south of town. Watch beavers build their dams at Sunset Natural Area or have a picnic among wildflowers in Timberhill Natural Area. North of town OSU manages Peavy Arboretum, a great place to grow your love of trees. More than fifty great hikes are nearby; for more, look for the book Corvallis Trails, by Margie C. Powell, available from Grassroots Books and Music (227 SW Second Street).