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Marci Sischo | 11/19/2021 | Featured on Home Page, Hiking, Outdoor Recreation

Enjoy winter hiking around Corvallis

Winters in the Pacific Northwest are wet, chilly, and verdantly green, despite bare trees. If you don't mind a little of the first two, you can still get out and enjoy the third. You just have to plan ahead for the cold and wet.

One good tip is to dress in layers for warmth and dryness. You'll also want good waterproof boots, and, depending on the weather, a waterproof coat and hat. We have several local sporting goods stores that can help you get equipped.

Another thing to keep in mind is that wet, muddy trails are more easily damaged, so you'll want to avoid them as much as possible and stick to dryer paved or gravel terrain. A trail is considered too muddy to use when there's standing water on the trail, or when your shoe, tire, or hoof leaves tracks in the mud. If you're stuck on a muddy section of trail, be sure to travel through any puddles, not around them, to help prevent trail widening.

To protect our trails and migrating or overwintering wildlife, some locations will close during the winter months, so you'll want to check ahead to be sure the trails you want to explore are open. TheRightTrail.org offers general closure information about many of the trails they list. For city-maintained parks, you can contact Corvallis Parks & Recreation for more information at 541-766-6918 or by email. For county-maintained parks and trail systems, you can contact Benton County Natural Areas and Parks at 541-766-6521. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service maintains some locations in our area, like the William L. Finley National Wildlife Refuge, as does the USDA Forest Service, which maintains Siuslaw National Forest.

There are a lot of great places to get some outdoor time in during the winter. Fitton Green Natural Area is one excellent spot, offering stunning views even when it's raining. It's closed to bikes and horses Nov. 1, but still open to hikers. Bald Hill Natural Area is another beautiful spot to visit during winter months. OSU Research Forests like McDonald-Dunn Forest and Peavy Arboretum also offer some excellent winter hiking, although you'll want to watch for posted closures.

One distinct advantage to winter hiking is more room to yourself, since the trails tend to be a bit emptier this time of year. Another fantastic perk of winter hiking is all the waterfalls, particularly up on Marys Peak. "Wet and rainy" equals "spectacular waterfalls," after all! So once you're bundled up and have your plans in place, you can get out in nature and enjoy all the peaceful winter beauty our area has to offer.

1. Festive Foraging on Holiday Hikes

"However, you can find more outside your door to decorate your home than just a tree. Some of the local hikes like Bald Hill, Fitton Green, and Chip Ross all have holly and mistletoe, which are two other staples of holiday botany. Even better, they are invasive and parasitic species that pose a threat to native plant life, so by removing them, you are doing the forest a greater favor than removing trees."

Read more.

2. Winter Mushroom Hunting in Corvallis

"The typical hunter-gatherer types think of picking mushrooms primarily as a spring and fall activity. However, if you learn enough of the edible varieties, habitats they grow in, and the longevity of their seasons, you can easily make this pastime last all year."

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3. Birding Hotspots Near Corvallis

"Winter draws waterfowl to the Willamette Valley and brings opportunities for birders to view a wide variety of species. The rich marsh habitats of these areas draw seasonal migrations as well as holding resident waterfowl, shorebirds, waterbirds, and raptors year round."

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4. Go Hunting at the E.E. Wilson Wildlife Area

"E.E. Wilson Wildlife Area is located just north of Adair Village and offers plenty of hunting opportunities within a short drive from Corvallis."

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5. Winter Fishing in Corvallis

"Corvallis offers many winter fishing opportunities, but the Alsea Hatchery and the Oregon Hatchery Research Center are sometimes overlooked as options."

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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