The Willamette Valley (pronounced, “will-AHH-mit”) is fast becoming the next great wine country. The high amount of precipitation and the mild temperatures create the perfect, temperate conditions for growing g together of the Willamette Valley allows for growing some of the best Pinot Noir in the world.
The best time to visit this region is August through October, as the seasons start to change. Take a peek at what you can experience in this lush region, all located up to only 3 hours from several Thousand Trails campgrounds.
Approximate driving times from TT campgrounds to most Willamette Valley sights:
- Pacific City – 90 minutes
- Seaside – 2 hrs 15mins
- Whalers Rest – approx. 2 hours
- South Jetty - 2 hr 20 mins
- Bend – Sunriver – approx. 3 hours
Eugene is located on the north side of the Willamette River and is the second largest city in Oregon. It’s home to the University of Oregon (Go Ducks!), beautiful parks, and often ranks on high “Top Places to Live” lists.
Take a step back in time and run like a champion. Pre’s Trail is an historic running trail honoring Steve “Pre” Prefontaine, the young Olympic long-distance runner who tragically died in an auto accident at the age of 24. Many runners come to Eugene to run Pre’s trail in his honor.
If you’re seeking a bike trail, and many Eugene visitors do, try the Willamette River Bike Trail, which weaves in and out of residential neighborhoods, industrial areas, and parks, giving bikers a diverse sense of the city of Eugene.
And of course, if you’re there for the wine, take a Barrel Tour. There are many tours offered throughout the city that take you to some of the best tasting rooms in the area. Here are some to check out.
Nestled in the heart of the Willamette Valley, the city of Corvallis, Oregon has a lot to offer to its visitors. It has the highest number of green buildings per capita, often named a “Best Place To Live,” and was ranked #1 on the Environmental Protection Agency’s national list of Green Power Communities. It’s not surprise that Corvallis is a town that cares about the environment and has great stories embedded in its historic buildings and legacies of people who call Corvallis home.
The William L. Finley National Wildlife Refuge though seems remote, is only a 25 minute drive from Corvallis. This wildlife sanctuary was originally created as a wintering habitat for Canadian geese, and protects many historic habitats including the largest remaining tract of native Willamette Valley wet prairie.
For a bit of entertainment, head to the Majestic Theater, located in the heart of downtown Corvallis. This 90 year old theater provides a wide range of entertainment – from Broadway shows, to stand-up comedy, and special readings. There are also plenty of shops, restaurants and bars to visit in downtown Corvallis before or after a show at the Majestic.
Steep hills, critters, and gorgeous hiking make the Siuslaw National Forest a must-visit spot near Corvallis. This well-maintained national forest has plenty of opportunity to enjoy the outdoor activities of your choice – whether it’s canoeing, camping, hiking, or biking, you won’t be bored at Siuslaw. Maybe you’ll even find a cool Geocache in this forest! (So let us know in the comments if you do!)
Yamhill is a small farming town located in the heart of the Willamette Valley wine country. You really can’t go wrong here as you sip a glass of pinot noir, with green rolling hills and stunning mountain views all around. Start your trip here by heading to the WillaKenzie Estate, one of the newest and most impressive wineries in the Valley. Take a seat at their patio (open from 11-4pm) which has 180-degree views of the Pinot-Noir vineyards or take a walk around their fruit gardens for a sensory experience.
Another winery worth visiting is the Saffron Fields Vineyard. Visitors have described this one as “zen,” “artistic,” and “modern” for it’s aesthetically beautiful mix of ponds and contemporary architecture.
Visiting the Willamette Valley? How much do you like their pinot noir? Tell us in the comments!