Marci Sischo | 02/25/2021 | Outdoor Recreation, Spring

Oregon Wildflowers Around Corvallis

Oregon's wildflowers burst to life in a shower of pinks, lavenders, whites, and yellows in the spring and continue to bloom in bright golds, russets, and oranges through fall. They attract wildlife like deer and rabbits, along with butterflies, moths, and other pollinators. And, to our delight, they speckle the countryside in lovely color for most of the year.

The Benton County and Corvallis area is home to a wide variety of beautiful wildflowers. We've got yellow sand verbenas, red columbine, elegant brodiaea, fireweed, glacier lilies, scalloped onion, harsh Indian paintbrush, Cardwell’s penstemon, spreading phlox... and so many more.

There are plenty of great places to find wildflowers, too. Marys Peak is one great spot. In spring, Marys Peak's meadows and rock gardens are awash with swaying wildflowers and dancing butterflies. Chip Ross Park, Bald Hill Natural Area, and Fitton Green Natural Area are also excellent locations to find and enjoy our wildflowers. And don't miss Jackson-Frazier Wetland, another good location that offers a different habit with its own variety of flowers.

1. McDonald-Dunn Forest

McDonald-Dunn Forest, part of the OSU Research Forests, offers several great hiking trails that'll take you through old and new growth forest, and plenty of wildflowers to enjoy. Suggested trails to try include the Calloway Creek Trail Loop, Dan's Trail from Chip Ross Park to Dimple Hill, and the McCulloch Peak Loop.

2. Bald Hill Natural Area

Bald Hill is a huge, gorgeous park that offers plenty of great hikes through a mix of upland prairie, oak savanna, mixed forest and wetland habitats. You'll find some stunning views and plenty of wildflowers. Suggested trails to try out include the Midge Kramer Path, the Bald Hill Trail, and the Bald Hill Farms Trail.

3. William L. Finley National Wildlife Refuge

Finley National Wildlife Refuge offers 12 miles of trails through wet prairies, wetlands and marshes, oak savannah, douglas fir forests, and more. It's an excellent spot for spotting wildlife, birdwatching, and finding wildflowers. Suggested trails to try include the Woodpecker Loop Trail and the William L. Finley National Wildlife Refuge Mega Loop. While you're there, keep your eyes open for the endangered Willamette daisy and Kincaid's lupine, as well as the Fender's Blue Butterfly.

The Willamette Valley's rich, fertile soil and vast parks, natural areas, and rural landscape ensure that you'll find beautiful sprays of colorful wildflowers just about anywhere you go, but that won't necessarily help you identify them all. For that, you can try the following resources.

The Oregon listing at USWildflowers.com has a variety of resources available to check out, as well as a listing of common Oregon wildflowers by color. Very handy for identifying the wildflowers you've found and learning more about them.

Oregon Wildflowers, an app developed in partnership with the Oregon Flora Project at Oregon State University and High Country Apps, can help you identify over 1,000 species of wildflower. This is a paid app, but if you don't mind investing a few bucks, you can name those flowers quickly and easily right from your phone.

The Benton Soil and Water Conservation District hosts a listing of wildflowers (as well as trees, ground cover, and shrubs) found in our area. Their listing is organized by name, so it's less useful for on-the-spot identification, but great if you already know what you've found and just want to learn a bit more about it.

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