Explore Bald Hill Near Corvallis, Hike Opal Creek in the Cascades
From the coast to the Cascades, Oregon’s beautiful venues intrigue hikers and walkers with spectacular views of towering trees, dense forests, and snow-capped mountains.
Finding hiking trails in Oregon is easier than you think if you know where to look. The areas surrounding Oregon’s cities are teeming with parks, waysides, and paved walking paths. Visit your local visitors center for maps and information on parks and recreation sites. These places can have valuable information on hiking in Oregon.
Yet, perhaps you are looking for a more challenging hike or something more rural. Here are a few suggested hikes to consider. These are dog-friendly hikes.
Bald Hill – Corvallis, Oregon
The Bald Hill hiking and walking area are on the west side of Corvallis, off 53rd street. It has several entrances, either from the Benton County Fairgrounds, off Oak Creek Drive, or off Reservoir Ave. Each entrance has ample parking. The Oak Creek Drive and Benton County Fairgrounds entrances have nicely paved walking paths directed to Bald Hill and circling around the hill.
However, if a climb to the summit of Bald Hill is desired, take one of the paths from Reservoir Ave. the entrance that includes a swayback hiking trail circling the hill, climbing to its summit. In the spring and summer months, make sure to examine the wild roses and other wildflowers along your climb. Enjoy the birds and other wildlife during your hike. From the summit, view the Coast Range mountains and on a clear day, the Cascade Mountains. This trail loops back down to the base of the hill. It is approximately 2.5 miles roundtrip. The trail is well maintained but can be muddy during the early spring months. This hiking area is open to bikes, horses, and dogs.
Opal Creek – 45 miles east of Salem
The Opal Creek hike requires a short drive to the trailhead. From Salem, take Hwy 22 east to Lyons, take North Fork road 20 miles until the road turns to gravel. Keep going on the gravel road, taking the left fork for about 4 miles. When you reach the parking lot, make sure to have your Trail Park permit visible when parking, or pay for one here. From here start your trek to Jawbone Flats. This trail follows a dirt road, winding along the Little North Fork of the Santiam River. Quick flowing streams flow under the road, cascading to the river below.
Several short paths allow hikers to view several 30-foot waterfalls. Make sure to pay attention to the signs. The road meanders through old-growth forests, some of which are 700 years old. You will notice the abandoned mines and sawmill along your hike. Several cabins are available for rentals at Jawbone Flats. From here, either continue on to Opal Pool or return to the parking area.
The Friends Of Opal Creek helps keep the Opal Creek ecosystem protected. The hike to Jawbone Flats is about 7 miles roundtrip, moderately challenging, and well-maintained dirt road. Make sure to bring your camera. Dogs and bikes allowed. There are also two outhouses along the way for your convenience.