Oregon is known for its wilderness and beautiful scenery; because of this, inhabitants and visitors alike are drawn to the outdoors to experience Oregon’s mountains, rivers, coasts, and unique wildlife. One can access anything from a swimming hole to a mountaintop view, all within an hour or two of Salem.
Opal Creek is one of the more popular spots to check off of an Oregon bucket list. Only an hour and a half from Salem, the old growth forest displays the flaura and fauna that Oregon is known for. The graveled trail runs along the Opal Creek watershed on its way up to Jawbone flats, a small community of cabins and historical buildings, home to research students and environmental biologists for part of the year.
“The old growth in opal creek is so beautiful! It’s crazy how something so gorgeous can survive for so many years.” Said Paige Stone ‘18.
The towering trees and native species make Opal Creek a beloved National Forest and natural hot spot for nature lovers.
Mary’s Peak is another well known hike within an hour and a half of Salem.Unlike most journeys, this trek is about the destination. This trail is not known for its remarkable scenery on the way up, but rather for the view once the trail ends. A 360 degree view of endless hills and landscape once one reaches the summit makes this trail popular for sunrise and sunset hikes.
Lastly, if one is drawn to coastal views and salty air, the Cascade Head trail is only an hour drive due west of Salem. The scenic views of the ocean from the hillside on the Cascade Head hike are only a mile from the trailhead. A slightly inclined hike through a lightly wooded area that pops out into a grassy field satisfies nature lovers and elk alike. While sunset and sunrise are beautiful times to witness the views from this trail’s end, it is important to be aware of the natural inhabitants of the land.
Oregon has many locations and trails that allow native Oregonians and out of state visitors to experience the natural wonders it has to offer. Visiting National Parks in Oregon is a great way to support the efforts to preserve these natural areas.