All good things must come to an end — as the holidays draw to a close so does the annual Willamette Valley Forest Ornament Contest. Come back to discover a new ornament that will be hidden in the Willamette Valley forests during the 2022 season.
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
If you are looking to add a touch of magic to your adventure. Here you’ll find ideas for other recreation opportunities in each of the region’s four ranger districts, along with where to eat, drink, and stay the night. With this helpful guide, we hope you come back with memories that last a lifetime—in addition to a prize-winning ornament, of course.
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.
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.
Add Some Magic to Your Willamette Valley Forest Ornament Hunt
As you head into the Willamette and Umpqua National Forests this season, we wanted to offer a few ideas for making the most of your experience.
So we’ve put together a guide to each of the participating ranger districts—complete with ideas for where to play, stay, eat, and drink!
With this guide, we hope you come back with memories that last a lifetime—in addition to a prize-winning ornament, of course.
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.