Who would have known that a college town like Corvallis was so close to a forest that you could actually drive just a few miles from the Oregon State University campus and feel like you were in the middle of nowhere. That's what happened to us last fall when we discoverd the OSU College Forest. Well, I think the forest discovered us because what was supposed to be a 2-1/2 mile hike turned in to a 7 mile trek. Not to mention any names, but someones cell phone GPS was WRONG!
A map probably would have helped too but I try not to complain too much about my sore feet, my sore legs, etc. because it was a beautiful hike and led us on to further adventures. Since last fall, we have discovered that the college forests are set in four distinct forest management themes. There are even-aged, 2-storied, uneven-aged and reserved old-growth stands. I hope you can get a sense of our experience as you view the photos I took as we walked. My favorite area is the old-growth forest. It is a shorter trail that winds you through the most green, gorgeous trail I have ever seen in my life. I felt like we were in a movie scene and it was a stage set because it didn't seem real.
Almost tripped myself a few times trying to see everything and take enough pictures but not too many cause I didn't want to miss out on anything. The old-growth trail is just off the beaten path a bit and is only a .5 mile long and takes only 30 minutes unless you are a gawker like me. Next time I'm bringing lunch! The trail contains Douglas fir trees along with an abundance of other forest finds. And, what is really great about this area, is that even if you are only an occasional hiker, there are shorter and easier trails to hike or walk on. But if you love hiking and want to have a more rigorous work out, you can try Dan's Trail. It climbs 3.0 miles from 700' to 1478' and crosses a historical orchard and even higher up into the climb, you can reach the top of Dimple Hill and view not only Corvallis, but the coast and cascade ranges as well.
The trails are only north about 15 minutes from the OSU campus and that means only 15 minutes from The Harrison House Bed and Breakfast as well. This inn is an Oregon Bed and Breakfast Guild inn and is just a few blocks from OSU. Innkeepers, Allen and Hilarie are both graduates of the Professional Chef's Certificate Program at the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, NY. And we hear their breakfasts are awesome!
To learn more and to obtain a map of the hiking area, check out OSU's bookstore or The Book Bin in Corvallis for the McDonald-Dunn Multiple Use Road and Trail Map.
Don't forget good hiking boots, staying on trails, and bringing a little food and water are always good choices for any length trail you decide to hike.
Have a good and safe trek!