The Corvallis to the Sea Trail will almost certainly be considered the crown jewel of mid-Willamette Valley's hiking routes one day.
For now, we're still blessed by plethora of other amazing paths in Linn and Benton counties.
In an edition of the Philomath Express two weeks ago, we listed four hikes that are well worth checking out. In today's paper, we list another half-dozen memorable excursions — and, of course, this list barely scratches the surfaces of what our area offers.
• Beazell Memorial Forest
This hiking spot, in the Kings Valley area west of Philomath, is a great representation of Coast Range forestland.
Hikers can trek along a creek lush with green vegetation and pass meadows as they climb to ridges.
• Bald Hill Natural Area
Bald Hill has paved, dirt and gravel trails and is extremely popular for walkers, joggers and bicyclists thanks to its proximity to Corvallis.
Hikers can head off the paved path into hilly sections of the park, and these areas are much less crowded.
The 1.5 miles of paved path, however, makes this one the best "hiking" routes in the mid-valley for those with mobility issues. Wheelchairs can easily be used in much of Bald Hill.
• Talking Water Gardens and Simpson Park Trail
These are technically two separate sites in the city of Albany, but they share a parking lot, and it's easy enough for those in decent shape to tackle both in one morning.
The Simpson Trail is a down-and-back of roughly 2.5 miles that runs along the Willamette River.
Talking Water Gardens has a network of trails around marshland. Turtles, ducks, heron, newts, crawdaddies and more can be spied from the paths, or sometimes even on the trails.
While the trails here aren't paved, they are easy to walk, and Talking Water Gardens in particular could be a good spot to take young children, or perhaps a great-grandparent, out for a short walk.
• Finley Wildlife Refuge
This spot in South Benton County perhaps is best known for bird watching, but you don't need to be an amateur ornithologist to appreciate the area.
Finley Wildlife Refuge features miles of gravel road type trails that run through grass fields, near marshlands and ponds, as well as an elevated boardwalk.
• McDonald Research Forest
This research lab managed by the Oregon College of Forestry doubles as a public park, and there are 26 miles of trails and 100 miles of forest roads that hikers, bikers and horseback riders can enjoy in the Corvallis area.
McDonald Research Forest is massive, stretching from the city of Corvallis to near Adair Village, and it would take considerable time and effort to explore all its routes.
• Tamolitch Falls (Blue Pool)
This hike is extremely popular, especially during the heat of the summer, so arrive early.
Tamolitch Falls is probably better known to locals as Blue Pool, and it lives up to that moniker, with startlingly hued water.
The hike isn't long, but it can be a bit rocky and difficult.
Most visitors park at Carmen Smith Reservoir, but if that area's too packed, or if you're feeling adventurous, start at nearby Sahalie Falls and take the longer hike down to Blue Pool.