To find the forest, head north out of Corvallis on 99W (Pacific Highway West) through the community of Lewisburg. Watch on the left for NW Arboretum Road. Be alert; the signage is modest but adequate. Follow signs to the main trailhead parking area.
|Civilian Conservation Corps Sign Shop|
|Firefighter Memorial Picnic Shelter|
|OSU "Post Farm"|
The Arboretum makes a lovely stop along the way, and walking its trails may be all it takes to stave off the winter doldrums. If a longer hike or horse or bike ride is what you're craving, though, there are many options. Click here for a detailed and occasionally baffling map of all the trails and roads in the forest, and here for a brief description of some of the trails. With so many options, it's easy to customize an outing.
|Forestry Club Cabin|
Not interested in a long hike? Take the Woodland Trail for a half-mile exploration of the forest community. To learn more about forest management, check out the Intensive Management Trail, a signed interpretive path that explains forest practices. Whatever route you follow, though, be on the lookout for muddy, happy dogs, many of which will be off leash and bounding delightedly along the trail.
While many of the hiking trails are closed to equestrians, several are open during much of the year, and of course the roads make excellent horse routes. The map shows horse routes in red, as well as the network of forest roads. Note that there is horse parking with excellent access at the Sulfur Creek Trailhead off of Soap Creek Road. While riding through the forest, look down into the gullies and imagine the difficulty of logging here with only a horse team for power.
The forest is also a year-round destination for mountain bikers. Refer to the map for the trails marked in red and purple; yellow trails are also open to cyclists during part of the year. Even when trails are closed, though, the roads beckon. Sweeping along the slopes, curling and winding among the trees, these sparsely-traveled gravel roads and spurs can keep you pedaling all day long under the arching limbs of the forest. This site is a forum for singletrack cyclists where enthusiasts can post updated trail conditions. Click here for an excellent website for those who must limit their singletrack these days (possibly as a result of singletrack; gravity happens!). Either way, the Corvallis area is known for being bike-friendly, and you will likely find that you're not the only one out here on two wheels.
When winter feels like it may never end, head for the central valley and sample some of the 23 miles of trails and 100 miles of roads in the McDonald-Dunn forest. Bring a rain coat, of course, and perhaps a picnic. Walk the trails and promise yourself more visits as the year turns: visits to see the spring wildflowers, the lush summer greenery, and the fall colors. But for now, build that cardio for next summer's adventures while you take in 11,000 acres of western Oregon as it was, as it is, and, thanks to OSU, as it will be.
|The author peeks inside the CCC Sign Shop|
|The old CCC caphouse|
|New growth in the burned area|
|An overlook near the caphouse. Note the madrone tree to the left.|
|The "big wheel"|
|Grove of Sequoia trees|
|Happy 2019, we'll see you out there!|