12 Adventurous Things To Do In The Willamette Valley This Summer
There is nothing like summer in Oregon Wine Country. Mild temperatures and the endless sunshine allow you to take advantage of life’s simple pleasures in a valley where farms, vineyards and forests reign supreme.
Whether you’re looking to pick your own produce at a local farm, take a walk to a waterfall or through a scenic covered bridge, or view Oregon’s Wine Country from the basket of a hot air balloon, this region has something to please everyone.
Try one of That One Adventure Couple’s top Willamette Valley adventures on your next visit. They are sure you will be back for more.
1. Experience Wine Country on Horseback
Equestrian Wine Tours offer a unique opportunity to experience Oregon’s wine country! They offer 2 1/2 hour guided tours to several wineries while your mode of transportation is on a horse!You will enjoy a beautiful and comfortable ride on the Tennessee Walking Horses. This is an experience that you won’t forget!
2. Chase Waterfalls in Silver Falls State Park
There are so many incredible waterfalls in Oregon, but did you know that you can see ten of them in one hike?!
The Trail of Ten Falls is located in Silver Falls State Park. Its a 7.8 mile loop that is well marked and has options for longer or shorter loops. It’s a great trail to take the whole family on.
3. Hike the Willamette Forest
The Willamette National Forest has many trails that you can go on, but some favorites include Tamolitch Falls also known as Blue Pool, Koosah and Sahalie Falls. The 2.2 mile loop trail to Koosah and Sahalie Falls feature two breathtaking waterfalls! Make sure to stop by the McKenzie General Store and Obsidian Grill Restaurant after a day of hiking!
4. Dine at a Summer Farm Dinner
Field and Vine Events offers an amazing summer farm dinner series. They partner with local vineyards and farmers to create an outstanding farm style dinner on location paired with wine! Doesn’t that sound just so good?! Each dinner is unique and features the bounty of the Willamette Valley.
5. Go Berry Picking
As soon as the summer months come there is fruit and farm fresh veggies to be picked! The Mid-Willamette Valley is home to dozens of nurseries and orchards. Pick your own fruit at the farm, cool down with a sweet treat at a farm stand.
6. Spend A Day Cycling Minto-Brown Island Park
Minto-Brown Island Park spreads out over 1,200 acres making it the largest Park in Salem. You can choose to walk, run, or bike any of the 29 miles of trail that make up nine loops. Start the ride from Salem’s Riverfront Park and then continue onto the Peter Courtney Minto Island Bicycle and Pedestrian Bridge that connects to Minto-Brown Island Park. Rent a bike at The Bike Peddler in Salem, OR or bring your own.
7. Experience Farm Life at Leaping Lamb Farm
At Leaping Lamb Farm you can experience farm life and a peaceful getaway all at the same time. Leaping Lamb Farm is located in a quiet creek valley of the Coast Range, Oregon, 40 miles from the ocean and 25 miles from Corvallis. Guests are invited to stay overnight on the farm, either in the farm cottage that sleeps six or the farm house that sleeps ten. It’s a retreat from city life and with an opportunity to take part in some farm chores. There are trails for hiking and a kitchen to cook a homemade breakfast from the eggs that were collected in the evening!
8. Take A Detour To The Coast
Only being an hour or so away from the Willamette Valley, the Oregon Coast is a must visit place for the summer. The entire Oregon coast is amazing and you can’t go wrong no matter where you go. If you’re feeling ambitious, hike up to Marys Peak, the highest point in Oregon’s Coast Range. If you are traveling from the McMinnville area a great place to start the road trip would be from Lincoln City and go down to Florence, Oregon making stops in between. Florence, Oregon is a perfect place to experience adventure in the sand dunes that stretch for 40 miles from the charming old town of Florence to Coos Bay. After exploring the coast you can take head to Eugene, OR to see more of the Willamette Valley!
9. Paddle, Swim, Fish, or Canoe on Clear Lake
Clear Lake is located in the Willamette National Forest. Clear Lake is considered one of the best spots for freshwater diving in America with visibility of up to 200 feet! It is also home to an ancient forest beneath its beautiful clear waters. It’s a perfect spot for fishing, canoeing, kayaking, swimming and stand-up paddling. There is a great hiking and biking trail to go as well!
10. Go Mountain Biking
The Willamette Valley has two amazing mountain biking areas that are recognized by the International Mountain Bicycling Association, the Black Rock trail system and Oakridge Black Rock is located just outside Falls City which is southwest of Salem. Black Rock has four primary trails, two secondary trails and a skills-development area where riders can practice. Oakridge is located 40 miles southeast of Eugene. It’s a charming little town known as a mountain bike town! It’s right in the hills of the Willamette National Forest and has hundreds of miles of well maintained trails. There’s something for everyone!
11. Ride the Willamette Valley Scenic Bike Way
Pedal this summer along the 134 miles of the Willamette Valley Scenic Bikeway. It takes you through breathtaking scenery, alongside fields, vineyards and small towns. The Bikeway follows the Willamette River with the Coastal Range to the west and the towering Cascade Mountains to the east.
12. Discover The Covered Bridges
Did you know that Oregon has over 50 covered bridges and Lane County has more remaining covered bridges than any county west of the Mississippi River? The Covered Bridges Scenic Bikeway follows the Cottage Grove Covered Bridge Tour Route. It’s perfect for any rider and features lake views, flowers, and covered bridges. It’s a 35.8 mile loop.
Written by Katie and Alex Gensitskiy known as That One Adventure Couple