Take in the scenery by land, water and air
By YVVG STAFF
The Yamhill Valley is blessed with moderate year-round weather and natural beauty as far as the eye can see. Here’s a few ways to best enjoy that.
The Chehalem Heritage Trails features access within the city of Newberg, around the Chehalem Golf Course and the city of Dundee. Distances vary from a quarter mile to nearly 3 miles on Dundee’s Pinot Noir Trail. For more information, visit the Chehalem Park & Recreation District's website.
In the West Valley along the Coastal Hills is the Niagara Falls hike — not as grandiose as the New York version, but beautiful nonetheless.
For a “good walk spoiled,” golfers have options in wine country. If you can get on, Michelbook Country Club offers classic American club layout with some of the best greens around. The Bayou Golf Course is McMinnville’s only public course, with nine full-length holes and a nine-hole par-3 course.
Also open to the public are 18-hole challenging layouts at Chehalem Glenn Golf Course in Newberg and Cross Creek Golf Course, about 20 miles south of McMinnville, between Salem and Willamina on Highway 22.
For nature-seekers, there is plenty of birding to be done in the Valley, particularly Basket Slough National Wildlife Refuge, where more than 200 different species of birds have been recorded. Nine other great birding sites are listed on oregonbirdingtrails.org.
For fishing excursions, the Sheridan Pond and Huddleston Pond (in Willamina) are both stocked frequently with trout by the state wildlife department, including the release of hundreds of trophy trout each year. Also stocked is the Yamhill River, one of the few opportunities in Oregon to catch hatchery fish in a free-flowing river.
An organized cycling tour is a great way to see wine country when you don’t know your away around. Day trips through vineyards can be arranged with regional cycling companies typically based in Portland. Some groups even offer e-bikes for anyone ready for a little extra power. In addition, national tour groups include McMinn-ville and Yamhill County as regular tour destinations each year.
A collection of “bike-friendly businesses” (look for the window signs) make cycling in wine country a pleasant excursion. There are also myriad cycling events throughout the year.
For the edgier riders, renowned skateparks can be found in both McMinnville and Newberg suiting both skating and BMX enthusiasts. Newberg’s park is regarded one the nation’s best, with Olympic champion Shawn White once mentioning during a visit how it’s one of his favorites because of its size and how well-maintained it is.
To take to the water, Rogers Landing County Park in Newberg offers access to the Willamette River, as does the recently renovated Dayton boat launch. The Willamette and its nearby tributaries are great for paddles and floats. A pleasant trip launches at Spring Valley Access south of Hopewell and ends up at the Grand Island Greenway, maneuvering past the Wheatland Ferry (take a hard left right after that) past wine drinkers at Arcane Cellars.
McMinnville and Newberg are both home to commercial airports, with tours available by helicopter, hot air balloon or (if you know somebody) single-engine aircraft.