It’s time again for one of the best-loved holiday traditions in the Willamette Valley: the annual Willamette Valley Forest Ornament Contest! The contest is returning this year, giving you the chance to explore some scenic trails, find one of 200 Willamette Valley-themed tree ornaments—made by Portland’s 20 Leagues—and enter for your chance to win great prizes, including an overnight stay!
Here’s how it works:
The Willamette Valley Visitors Association is teaming up with the Willamette National Forest and the Umpqua National Forest to place 200 wooden ornaments, each featuring a colorful valley sunrise, across non-wilderness trails in both national forests.
Eagle-eyed hikers and visitors can then hit the trail to track down the ornaments; participants can keep the ornaments they find, register to win a grand prize if they grab one (one per household), and put the ornaments on their own tree back at home. Ornaments have been placed on family-friendly trails and more arduous paths alike, giving hikers of all abilities the chance to win.
How can you take part in the ornament contest?
Ornaments have been placed on the non-wilderness trails listed below. Visit the Willamette National Forest website and Umpqua National Forest website for driving directions and key information about each trail. We’re updating this page regularly as hikers register their ornaments to give participants the best possible chance to snag one. Please be kind, and take one per household to give other hikers the chance to find an ornament.
We ask that more advanced hikers leave ornaments placed along the first mile of each trail for children, families, and those with less mobility; ornaments have been placed at various points on each trail, catering to all levels of hiker so that everyone has a chance to win a prize.
How can you stay safe and responsibly take part in the ornament contest?
All ornaments have already been placed on trails—and will remain there until January 1, 2022, when the contest will end for the season. We are doing our part to abide by Leave No Trace principles, so rangers will collect any remaining ornaments by January 15, 2022.
As you explore the Willamette National Forest and Umpqua National Forest this fall and winter, please remember to leave only footprints, take only pictures, and make only memories. And if you pack it in, please pack it out.
While you’re out and about, use the following hashtags to document and showcase your journey—and share your adventure with us: #FindYourOrnament, #FindYourTrail, #IwonderWV, #pnwonderland, #willamettenationalforest
A friendly note: None of the trails impacted by recent wildfires will have ornaments this year. We encourage you to steer clear of the fire-affected areas as you explore the wider Willamette National Forest.
When You Find An Ornament, Enter to Win the Grand Prize!
As soon as you find an ornament register the information, including the ID tag number located on the back of your ornament, online.
If you find an ornament and register it by Jan 1, 2022, you will be automatically entered to win this year’s grand prize: an adventure and overnight stay in the Willamette Valley.
Need a Hint? Ornament Contest Hiding Spot Locations
Willamette National Forest: Sweet Home Ranger District
- Gordon Lakes Trail #3386
- Hackleman Old Growth Trail #3411 (family-friendly)
- Tombstone Nature Trail #3420
- Santiam Wagon Road: Mountain House Section
- House Rock Trail #3406
- Yukwah Nature Trail #3421 (family-friendly)
- Walton Ranch Interpretive Trail #4170 (family-friendly)
Willamette National Forest: McKenzie River Ranger District
Willamette National Forest: Middle Fork Ranger District
- North Fork Trail #3666
- Greenwaters Trail #4250 (family-friendly)
- (note that this trail is not on the U.S.F.S. website. If hiking this trail, start from the community of Oakridge, traveling east on Highway 58. After 0.2 mile, turn left at the Greenwaters Park/rest area entrance. From the parking area, cross the Jim Tharpe Memorial Bridge to reach the trailhead.)
- Larison Rock Trail #3607
- Hardesty Trail #3469 (ornaments will be hidden on the first 2-3 miles of trail)
Umpqua National Forest
About the Willamette National Forest
With more than 1.5 million acres, the beautiful Willamette National Forest is home to eight wilderness areas—including the popular Three Sisters and Mt. Jefferson Wilderness areas—and has over 1,700 miles of hiking, backpacking, mountain biking, and horseback riding trails. The varied landscapes of the high mountains, Cascade foothills, temperate rainforests, narrow canyons, and trickling streams offer visitors enchanting opportunities to play and explore.
About the Umpqua National Forest
With nearly one million acres, the beautiful Umpqua National Forest stretches across the southern Willamette Valley and into southern Oregon. The national forest’s many attractions range from towering Cascade peaks to whitewater rapids to verdant forests of hemlock, cedar, and more—with more than 530 miles of trails, 40 developed campgrounds, and three scenic wilderness areas ripe for exploration.