Top 5 Trails of Corvallis

Corvallis is home to a ton of great trails, including these five favorites. Many trails are unmarked or poorly marked; for details of where to explore, check out Margie Powell’s Corvallis Trails or William Sullivan’s Oregon Coast hiking book.


1. Chip Ross Park

Length: 1.5 mile loop

Difficulty: Easy; short distance uphill

This short walk with great views of town, the Coast Range, and the Cascades is well-marked and ideal for those without much time to spare. From the parking lot, head up the hill to take in views that are stunning at any hour, and truly spectacular at sunset.

To get there: drive north on Highland Drive; turn left onto Lester Avenue and park at end of road.

Other options: From Chip Ross, take Dan’s Trail into McDonald Forest for a moderate 5 mile loop, returning on the Horse Trail. This is also an excellent area for mountain biking.


2. Old Growth Trail, McDonald Forest

Length: 1.6 mile loop

Difficulty: Easy; few slopes

This loop hike begins on a forest road and slopes down into a stand of old growth trees in McDonald Forest. This is an excellent hike to show off old growth to out-of-town visitors. Head back on the forest road; stop at the quarry pool to your left to view a colony of rough-skinned newts. On a hot day, this is the coolest place in town.

To get there: head north on either Highland Drive or 99. Take a left onto Lewisburg. Bear right onto Sulphur Springs Road. Drive 1.5 miles to the top of the hill; parking is available on both sides of the road. Take the leftmost forest road (580) on the right side of the road to begin the hike. Both the New Growth and Old Growth trails drop down to the left off the forest road.

Other options: Combine this hike with the recently built New Growth Trail for a slightly longer hike. Or, skip the Old Growth Trail and continue up Forest Road 580 to Peavy Arboretum, returning on Forest Road 500 (Nettleton Road) back to the parking area for a 6.5 mile loop perfect for runners.


3. East Ridge Trail, Marys Peak

Length: 7 mile loop

Difficulty: Moderate; uphill to the summit

The East Ridge Trail brings you to the summit of Marys Park (4,097 feet) via a gradual climb through shady forest. Stay left at the junction with the Tie Trail to continue up the East Ridge Trail. At the top, both the Summit Trail and the road lead to the peak. Return by taking the North Ridge Trail, which begins at the far end of the upper parking lot. Head down the ridge, then take a sharp right onto the Tie Trail which leads back to the East Ridge Trail and Conner’s Camp.

To get there: take Highway 34 west through Philomath. After 10 miles, turn right onto Marys Peak Road. Drive 5.5 miles up and turn right to park at Conner’s Camp. The East Ridge Trail begins to the left of the kiosk.


4. Bob Frenkel Boardwalk, Jackson-Frazier Wetland

Length: 0.8 mile loop

Difficulty: Easy; perfectly flat

A boardwalk almost a mile in length winds through tranquil wetlands. This is an ideal spot to hear red-wing blackbirds or watch the sunset over the marsh. Go at dusk to view beavers and other crepuscular creatures. In the winter, the whole area becomes flooded, with the boards just above the water leading through the marsh–a stunning sight, but slippery when wet.

To get there: drive north on 99 through town past the intersections with Circle and Walnut; take your next right onto Conifer. At the brown sign for the park, turn left onto Lancaster and park at the end.

5. Dimple Hill

Length: 4.8 miles

Difficulty: Moderate

A gradual climb up gravel forest roads heads to the top of Dimple Hill. For the best view, hike downhill slightly through the meadow at the peak, or head uphill to a lookout with a bench at the top.

To get there: begin at the same parking lot as the Old Growth Trail (above), but start on the opposite side of the road and hike up Patterson Road (600). Stay on Forest Road 600 for two miles until you reach a four-way intersection; turn left onto Forest Road 650 for a final half mile to the top.

Other options: Dimple Hill can also be reached from Chip Ross Park via Dan’s Trail; the route is more strenuous, but follows packed dirt trails instead of a gravel path. Both are popular with mountain bikers.


Other notable hikes include the Section 36 and Calloway Creek trails at Peavy Arboretum, Bald Hill, Fitton Green, and Alsea Falls to Green Peak Falls.


By Jen Matteis


Hiking Tips

By Cristina Himka

As the heat of summer has begun to set in, active runners find the outdoors much more appealing for their daily jogs. With summer comes later sunsets, warmer temperatures, and more hours in the day to get things done. However, these great summer time attributes also provide optimal opportunities for danger to runners. Here are a few tips to stay safe while running this summer.

1. Do not run the same path every day. Stalkers can easily track your route as you run past their home or as they sit on a park bench. 

2. Do not run at the same time of day. Running at the same time makes it easier for the same person to see you every day during their daily routine.

3. If you must run with music, keep one headphone out of your ear at all times. This limits the possibility of someone sneaking up behind you. 

4. Bring your phone. Phones with music capabilities allow you to run and relax while also having contact to others in an emergency situation.

5. Let someone know where you will be running. If something happens you don’t want to end up like the guy in 127 Hours

6. Get a running buddy. Running with a partner gives you twice the protection and a little peace of mind. 

7. Don’t run at night. Night time limits visibility and creates an optimal opportunity for potential attackers.

8. If you encounter a large animal (particularly a bear), do not keep running. Stop and don’t make any sudden movements as this will suggest a threat to the animal.