Summer Hotspots: Mary’s Peak

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EUGENE, Ore. — The Stormtracker 9 WxPix gallery is full of great shots from around Oregon, but there’s one photo in particular that showcases a pretty spectacular view.

It’s a spot you’ve probably driven past hundreds of times, not realizing what you’re passing. The sun fades below the horizon a touch earlier in this part of the Willamette Valley as it sits in the shadow of Mary’s Peak.

The rich geologic history of this area is one for the textbooks. A combination of ancient volcanic basalt and old growth forest create a staircase, of sorts, that leads to the famous views.

Just 15 miles west of Corvallis, and you’ll find an access road that leads you to the top. And as long as the winding trip doesn’t make you car sick, the journey is worth taking slow. The area is covered in more wildflowers than you can count, not to mention waterfall after waterfall.

After about nine miles of meandering through this rich wilderness, you’ll reach a parking lot where you can get out and take in the view of the central valley’s blend of quaint towns and rich agriculture.

But for the real reward, you’re going to have to leave the car behind.

Whether you choose to walk it, or ride it, the last half mile trail is worth the hike. Along the way there are several vistas to check out and the beautiful rolling meadows, giving you the feeling that Julie Andrews must be somewhere singing through the hills.

When the trail ends you’ll be at the highest spot on Oregon’s Coast Range, where nothing stands in your way of seeing the entire Willamette Valley.

Once you get to the top of Mary’s Peak, you completely forget about the hike and start taking in the view. This is perhaps the best place in Oregon to see the Cascade Range, the Valley, and all the way out to the Oregon Coast.

Now it’s beautiful in a picture, but breath taking here in person.

Thanks to S.P. Herbert for sending in the photo, and if you have a weather picture, we’d love to see it, just send it our way. Head over to our WxPix page and upload a photo.

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