Marci Sischo | 05/04/2021 | Biking, Hiking, Outdoor Recreation

Hiking & Biking Around Benton County & Corvallis

One reason so many health-conscious people choose to live in Corvallis is the network of multi-use trails in the city and surrounding natural areas. Linked park trails provide over a hundred miles of off-road adventure, accessible on foot or bike right from town.

Winding forest trails provide cool shade during the summer. Some lead to glades, streams, and meadows and others to hilltop vistas of the Willamette Valley. Make time to catch a sunset from the top of Chip Ross Park – the views of Marys Peak are excellent in the summer! Paved paths in Riverfront Park beside the Willamette River are sprinkled with sculptures to enjoy and benches to rest on as nature and people continue to pass by.

When it’s finally time to cross a road, you will be impressed with the courtesy of automobile drivers. As you could expect from one of America’s most bicycle friendly towns, a wide variety of bicycle shops and sporting goods stores can give you advice on hikes and bicycle rides that fit the season and your ability level. Here are a few year round opportunities that you should try.

Chip Ross Park and Natural Area, Corvallis, Oregon - A cyclist bikes the trails at Chip Ross Park, enjoying gorgeous views of Marys PeakA cyclist bikes the trails at Chip Ross Park & Natural Area in Corvallis, enjoying gorgeous views of Marys Peak.

Bald Hill Natural Area is a great starting point for a variety of off-road adventures. Three separate lots with plenty of parking lead to both paved trails and branching single-track that connects to Fitton Green, Oak Creek, and Cardwell Hill County Parks. Ride quietly and you’re likely to see deer, coyote and many species of birds. Make sure to clean your bike before and after rides to reduce the transportation of invasive species.

In addition to nearly 20 miles of paved multi-use paths within Corvallis, many roads in the area offer wide shoulders and light traffic. Ride south or east and you’ll be greeted by rolling hills and local agriculture. Head north or west for a more challenging route such as the ride up Sulpher Springs Road or the daunting climb to Marys Peak (4,097 feet).

Fitton Green Natural Area, Corvallis, Oregon - A couple rests while on a hike, enjoying the beautiful views at Fitton Green Natural Area in CorvallisA couple rests while on a hike, enjoying the beautiful views at Fitton Green Natural Area in Corvallis.

Whether your ideal hike is on a boardwalk, paved path, forest trail, or grassy meadow, you can find it nearby. Catch a glimpse of the rare Fender’s Blue Butterfly on a hike through William L. Finley National Wildlife Refuge just south of town. Watch beavers build their dams at Sunset Natural Area or have a picnic among wildflowers in Timberhill Natural Area. North of town OSU manages Peavy Arboretum, a great place to grow your love of trees.

More than fifty great hikes are nearby Corvallis. For more, pick up the book Corvallis Trails, by Margie C. Powell, also available from Grassroots Books and Music (227 SW Second Street).

Be aware that Oregon's mask guidance requires wearing a mask outdoors in situations where physical distancing of at least six feet isn't possible. If it's crowded or you're around other people who aren't in your household, you should be wearing a mask. When heading out on the trails, keep your groups small and stick to going with people who are members of your household. Bring everything you'll need, including water and snacks, to limit visits to other locations. Bathroom facilities may not be available. Try to avoid crowded areas. Bring hand sanitizer, as other hygiene facilities may be limited or unavailable.

TheRightTrail.org - The Right Trail is one of the best resources online for finding hiking and biking trails in and around Corvallis. Put together by folks right here in Linn and Benton Counties, The Right Trail lets you search trails by area, sort them for hiking, biking, dog friendly, and more, and offers tips, locations, hours, and all the information you'll need.

AllTrails.com: Corvallis - AllTrails lists almost 100 great trails in the Corvallis area, perfect for hiking, mountain biking, trail running and more, with curated trail maps, driving directions, detailed reviews, and photos from hikers, campers, and nature lovers.

McDonald-Dunn Forest Visitor Information - Find rules for using the forests, trail maps, tips, and more on Oregon State University's visitor page for the mcDonald-Dunn Research Forests.

Corvallis Parks & Recreation - Find everything you need to know about Corvallis city parks, including areas with hiking and biking trails.

Benton County Natural Areas and Parks - Find everything you need to know about Benton County parks and natural areas, including rules, visitor information, camp ground locations, trail maps, and more.

Bike Maps - Pick up a Bike Map for Corvallis and Benton County at our visitors center at 113 SW 3rd Street, Suite #101, or find maps online: City of Corvallis Bike Map | Benton County Bike Map.

Trail Maps - Bald Hill, Bald Hill Farm, and Fitton Green Trail Maps | Beazell Memorial Forest Trail Map | Alternative Benton County Bike Map | Benton County Natural Areas and Trails | Dunn Forest Map (Image File) | Fitton Green Natural Areas Trail Map | Fort Hoskins Trail Map | McDonald Forest Map (Image File) | McDonald-Dunn Research Forests Visitor Guide and Maps.

Two women hiking with their dog through Martin Luthor King, Jr. Park in Corvallis, Oregon, during a spring evening, by Isabella MedinaFriends hike with their dog through Martin Luthor King, Jr. Park in Corvallis. Photo by Isabella Medina.

Benton County offers many trails and parks that are dog friendly, with both leash-required and off leash options available, but not all of our parks and trails are dog friendly. Please check any parks or trails you plan on visiting to be sure if your four-footed friends are welcome, and if you'll need to have them leashed or not.

1. 3 Great Hikes in Corvallis, Oregon

Corvallis is a great place for hiking - we have miles of multi-use trails surrounding Corvallis, Oregon, and leading throughout Benton County. You can follow them through sunlight forests to meadows, up mountains, through parks and natural areas, to and in national wildlife refuges, and all around the area.

Read more.

2. Find Adventure at Alsea Falls

The Alsea Falls Recreation Site is located in Oregon's beautiful Coast Range, about 45 minutes south of Corvallis. The South Fork of the lovely Alsea River runs through the area, cascading down a 30-foot drop to form Alsea Falls. If you're looking for something a bit taller and ready for a hike, you can take the Green Peak Falls Trail through McBee Park, a private park owned by Hull-Oakes Lumber. There you'll find Green Peak Falls, which tumbles down a 45-foot drop in the Green Peak River, a tributary of Alsea River.

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3. Rent Bikes in Corvallis

One of the best ways to experience Corvallis is by bike. Whether you want to commune with nature on our singletrack mountain bike trails, pedal leisurely on paths winding through town, or just enjoy going from point A to point B, visitors can easily rent bikes to get around.

Read more.

4. Visit the William L. Finley National Wildlife Refuge

Beautiful William L. Finley National Wildlife Refuge is located about twenty minutes south of Corvallis on 99W. Visitors can explore one of the last remaining intact wet prairies of the valley, along with wetlands and marshes, oak savannah, douglas fir forests and more. You'll find Canadian geese, Roosevelt elk, bald eagles, thousands of birds, and plenty of other wildlife.

Read more.

5. Willamette Valley Scenic Bikeway

The scenic bikeway, one of 17 officially designated routes across Oregon, extends from Champoeg State Park south to Armitage Park near Eugene. It follows the Willamette River basin much of the way, passing through Keizer, Salem and Albany before slipping near the east side of Corvallis. That’s 134 miles of roads the state’s Parks and Recreation Department linked together to give cyclists a good feel for this area. This bikeway was the first one established by the state and became the prototype for all the others to showcase each area’s natural beauty and create the best cycling experience.

Read more.

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113 SW 3rd Street, Alley Suite 101
Corvallis, OR 97333
(Entrance facing 2nd St public parking lot)
800-334-8118 | 541-757-1544
Monday - Friday 9:00am - 5:00pm
Closed Saturdays and Sundays