Whether hiking, biking, or running, the climbs are where an athlete’s weaknesses are exposed. Climbing takes guts, but it is precisely this struggle that many are seeking when they take to the trails. Pushing through physical barriers allows one to, at the same time, be present and aware of bodily sensations and to rise above them. Struggling allows the soul to stretch itself. The trails surrounding Corvallis offer some tough climbs to those seeking this struggle. Here are a just few.
Marys Peak tops this list as the biggest and toughest climb. The North Ridge Trail and the East Ridge Trail offer switchback-filled miles of struggle, if that’s what you’re into. These trails can be linked together during a climb using the Tie Trail, which is one of the finest sections of trail that can be found in this area.
Dimple Hill is a classic. It is most popularly accessed via Dan’s Trail, a sustained climb that consists of numerous switchbacks under McDonald Forest’s stout firs. While the switchbacks make the climb more gentle, they also extend its length. If you are looking for a long, slow grind, this is the climb.
McCulloch Peak is a nearby step up from Dimple Hill. It is a bigger climb, and the routes are steeper. The top is accessible by several sets of gravel roads, all of which are unrelenting in their directness. Extendo Trail could be incorporated into the climb, in order to provide a break from the grinding roads.
Bald Hill is a relatively small hill, but it deserves a place here. Its smaller stature can encourage athletes to push themselves up the climb, rather than settle into a slow, ratcheting pace. A worthy challenge for the intermediate runner is to run every step up the Summit Road.
Forest Peak is a less-familiar piece of high ground in Oregon State University’s Dunn Forest. Several steady gravel road routes climb through mostly monocultural fir stands to this high point that hangs over Soap Creek Valley. The Berry Creek entrance (Rd. 100) is the most picturesque, and is also very lightly used.
Want more information about these climbs, as well as the specifics of the routes? Look no further.
By Scott Bittner