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Guest Author | 08/01/2022 | Hiking, Outdoor Recreation

Corvallis Offers Easy Hikes With Your Kiddos

Exploring all the expansive parks and hikes in Corvallis and Benton County is a top-notch reason to love visiting or living in this area. Whether you are here for the weekend visiting your college kid with your younger children or investigating relocation options for your growing family, a few hours outside is a great addition to the schedule. Besides, taking your kiddos on one of Corvallis’ many trails is a fantastic way to discover nature and teach them to love the great outdoors.

Which trails are the best for bringing the younger ones? Corvallis moms have explored and share their top recommendations.

1. Bald Hill Natural Area

Bald Hill Natural Area has three parking lots at Reservoir Ave, Oak Creek Drive, or at the Benton County Fairgrounds. The 1.5-mile multi-use path is great for beginner bicyclists and strollers, while the 5 miles of dirt paths offer more challenges. As a fun add-on, check out the Irish Bend covered bridge along the paved path at the corner of Reservoir and 53rd.

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2. Chip Ross Park & Natural Area

Find parking access for Chip Ross at the end of NW Lester Ave. The main loop is a moderate 1.5-mile hike. For quick gratification, parents say that from the parking lot, it is a short walk to a nice view.

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3. Fitton Green Natural Area

Fitton Green is west of Bald Hill, with parking on Oak Creek.  The trails can be short or, in total, an almost seven-mile hike, where at points you can see Mary’s Peak or, on a clear day, the Three Sisters. One mom suggested the Allen Throop Loop Trail, a quick trail showing off Benton County's beauty.

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4. Forest Dell Natural Area

The Forest Dell Natural Area (3231 NW 13th St. in Corvallis), with access from the roadside off NW Highland Ave at NW Highland Dell Drive, is just minutes from the hospital. This easy dirt path is a third-mile walk among conifers. For a fun drive-by, take some side roads to NW Bryant St and look for, "Periwinkle," the purple unicorn carved from an old tree.

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5. Jackson Frazier Wetland

Jackson Frazier Wetland is in the northeast part of Corvallis. Open all year round, with a wheel-chair (and stroller) friendly boardwalk, the two-thirds-mile loop is super easy, great in any weather and teaches about plants and animals in the habitat.

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6. Peavy Arboretum

Peavy Arboretum is right off NW Peavy Arboretum Rd. The website offers a free printable of family-friendly hikes. Peavy, as part of the OSU College of Forestry Research Program, offers a kid-centric "Forest Discovery Program." Locals suggest packing a picnic and eating by the pond.

Learn more.

7. William L. Finley National Wildlife Refuge

William L. Finley National Wildlife Refuge is off of 99W or the scenic Bellfountain Road, about 20 minutes drive south of downtown. The Refuge offers a wide variety of hikes (and biking!) with trail names like Beaver Pond Trail, Woodpecker Trail or Turtle Flats Walkway Trail. Parents like that there are lots of quick walks with pretty views, you may even see wildlife like elk, herons, geese, and even woodpeckers.

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8. Witham Hill Natural Park

Find Witham Hill Natural Park in northwest Corvallis, where Circle Blvd. ends, just past Witham Hill Drive. This urban oasis offers three loops: a third-mile loop, a half-mile loop, and the longest, a mile loop. A fun tip for this hike is that you can look for fairy doors!

Learn more.

Exploring the wonders of nature in the Corvallis area offers families the perfect opportunity to enjoy the environment and bond. Local parents offered up some tips to keep the adventures fun. First, give yourselves plenty of time to explore nature, minding that time limits change with age levels and abilities. If you’re up to it, create a scavenger hunt - with a key point for learning how to identify poison oak! Take along snacks for mini energy and hydration breaks. Pack emergency supplies, like an extra pair of shoes (who knows how muddy a trail might be, or what fun it is to slide down a dirt path). Any age is ideal for following the nature-friendly concept of "Leave No Trace."

If you take some fun photos while hiking around Corvallis, we’d love it if you post on social media and tag us on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram - if you tag us or use the hashtag #VisitCorvallis on Instagram, we may share your photos with our audience. Have fun!

Article by Stacey Newman Weldon. Keep up with Corvallis news, events and happenings by signing up for our email newsletter.

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