Oregon is known for its mass outdoor recreation culture- full of beautiful places from the high desert to the coast. Whether you're an Oregon native, or a transplant, sometimes it's nice to just enjoy a place that's close by. If you're looking for a convenient spot to hike or enjoy nature without all the driving- we’re here to help! Check out our list of 5 beautiful spots to enjoy just off the I5 corridor in the Willamette Valley. Less time driving means more time exploring!
- Silver Falls State Park
While this park is the furthest on our list off I5, they call it the “crown jewel” of Oregon State Parks, so we had to include it. Take the scenic loop to see 10 waterfalls and even walk behind one. It’s a moderate 7.2 mile loop to see all of the falls, but there are shorter access points throughout the loop if you want to cut it short. Dogs are even welcome on part of the trail, and there’s an off-leash spot in the day use area next to a charming creek, so feel free to bring the whole family along.
- Milo McIver State Park
Somehow, this park flies under the radar for a lot of people. River lovers can bring their kayak or canoe to enjoy the picturesque Clackamas River, while fishing enthusiasts can take advantage of the Steelhead and Chinook at the fishing dock on Estacada Lake. If you’re looking to stay dry, land lovers can enjoy the miles of trails or the 27-hole disc golf area. You could spend a day or a week exploring all the river, forest and fields this park has to offer!
- Molalla River State Park
Situated at the confluence of the Molalla, Pudding and Willamette rivers, if you’re looking for a calm and serene park with a beautiful drive in, this is it. Bring your binoculars for wildlife viewing in the floodplain habitat for waterfowl, wading birds, small mammals, and deer. For an even closer look, bring your boat for some scenic fishing, or cross the river on the Canby Ferry, just a quarter mile downstream. The grassy fields provide picnic areas, and a place for Fido to go off leash.
- Tryon Creek State Natural Area
Just 15 minutes West of downtown Portland, this 658 acre park serves up some of the best forest views as an oasis outside of the city. This second growth forest allows you to get up close and personal with the flora and fauna, while you travel along the Tryon Creek. There’s plenty of opportunities for pictures along the 8 miles of trails and 8 bridges to cross, or concentrate on finding all the plants on the vascular plant checklist provided by the State Park!
- Willamette Mission State Park
History buffs will enjoy that this park marks the site of the Willamette Mission, established in 1834. Check out the nation’s largest black cottonwood tree, at 155 feet tall, you’ll find it here on the banks of Mission Lake. This historic park has a little bit of everything for everyone across it’s 1300 acres – kayaking on Mission Lake, disc golfing through a hazelnut grove, fishing in Goose Lake, or birdwatching across the woodlands and wetlands. You can even bring your horse to ride over 6 trails, if you really want to put yourself in the shoes of someone on the Oregon trail.