Hitting the Muddy Trail: Fall Hiking in and around Corvallis

muddytrailAs the rain clouds roll into the valley, many pack away their hiking gear for the season. However, with the right preparation and equipment, fall can be one of the best times to get out and stretch your legs on the open trail—without traveling too far outside of city limits. Local hiking spots such as the wealth of trails in McDonald Forest and Mary’s Peak are calling, so don’t be afraid of a little rain.

Over at Peak Sports in downtown Corvallis, Marcel and Kyle discussed some of their fall trail essentials; items such as gaiters, gloves, and hydration packs made the list. Waterproof pack covers are a great addition if you are going out in really inclement weather.

Staying dry is key to having a good time, so it’s worthwhile to invest in quality rain gear. Not just a jacket, either—rain pants are essential, and can be incredibly attractive. Waterproof boots or hiking shoes with good traction are important, too. The “water-resistant” types are made for Californians, not for our monsoon weather. Dress in layers and carry essentials such as a flashlight, even on a day hike—especially as the skies get dark much earlier this time of year. Bringing plenty of snacks is also very important, as your body will use more energy to try to stay warm in these cooler months, and you’ll be burning far more calories.

Peak Sports (207 NW 2nd Street) carries a variety of gear along with maps and trail books specific to the Corvallis area.

Five great day hikes within 30 minutes of Corvallis:
* Mill Hill Loop Trail – 3.1-mile loop at Finley Wildlife Refuge
* Dimple Hill – 4.8-mile out-and-back at Chip Ross Park
* Marys Peak – 6.2-mile out-and-back in Philomath
* Sulpher Springs and Soap Creek – 9.9-mile loop in McDonald Forest
* Beazell Memorial Forest Hike – 3.5-mile loop

For more information, trails and locations, visit http://alltrails.com/us/oregon/corvallis.

by Candy Smith