If you love hiking through Oregon’s stately forests and rolling hillsides, and you love sipping pinot noir and chardonnay, how about both? In recent years, several Willamette Valley wineries have created experiences for “wine hiking,” either guided or unguided strolls through manicured vineyards. It’s a great way to combine exercise and education with a leisurely afternoon tasting Oregon’s premier wines. Each is different, but you might encounter hazelnut orchards, old-growth forests and beaver habitats — all ecosystems that showcase the region’s natural diversity. Here’s how to enjoy a wine-hiking trip in the Willamette Valley.
Check Out Diverse Ecosystems Near Corvallis
Just 15 minutes south of downtown Corvallis, Tyee Wine Cellars has been a regional mainstay since launching in 1985. In the years since, the winery has poured award-winning pinot noir, chardonnay and other cool-weather varietals in a converted creamery. Today Tyee is beloved as much for its wines as for the natural experiences at its doorstep — chief among them, a mostly flat wine-hiking trail that packs the Willamette Valley’s diverse ecosystems into one scenic jaunt.
Tyee’s on-site trail, named the Beaver Pond Loop Nature Trail, largely follows Beaver Creek while heading into a stand of oak trees, visiting a quiet wetland and passing the winery’s vineyard and a decades-old hazelnut orchard.
Tyee’s tasting room and trail are closed January through March, but visits in each successive season bring new attractions — think blooming fields of purple camas plants in May, potential elk sightings in July and August, and flocks of migratory birds in autumn. And while you likely won’t see any beavers, you may see chewed-through trees and wood shavings that hint at their presence.
Hike Through Vineyards and Oak Groves Near Salem
A pair of wineries, both 10 to 20 minutes west of downtown Salem, showcase their surroundings through self-guided hiking trails.
First is the Legacy Estate Vineyard tasting room by Eola Hills Wine Cellars, which offers the rare opportunity to sip pinot noir and rosé after walking through the very vineyards where those grapes were grown.
Visitors start by purchasing a trail map at the tasting room — which doubles as the Eola Hills trailhead — before heading into the vineyard for a self-guided adventure through blocks of pinot noir, riesling and cabernet sauvignon grapes. Trail maps cost $15, but the fee is waived with a post-hike bottle purchase.
Farther west, Left Coast Estate hosts a 1-mile hiking trail, typically open between Memorial Day and the arrival of fall’s first rainstorms in October, that heads into a verdant oak grove. For centuries, Oregon white oak savannas and woodlands covered roughly 400,000 acres of the Willamette Valley — and while that number has dwindled to fewer than 20,000 acres today, the trail delivers an enchanting look at the region’s rugged past.
There is no fee to hop on the trail, but visitors should check in at the tasting room, come equipped with sturdy footwear, and — of course — enjoy a flight and some of the winery’s beloved wood-fired pizza after the hike.
Take a Guided Trek in the Dundee Hills
Just 10 minutes west of Newberg in the Dundee Hills, Knudsen Vineyards offers several weekend guided treks through their historic vineyards. These hikes cater to hikers of various abilities and skill levels, and the talks change with the seasons.
These outings — with longer hikes usually offered on weekends and shorter ones during the week — cover 1 to 2 miles and take place rain or shine. Visitors traverse occasionally steep inclines through pinot noir vines that date back more than five decades. Depending on which experience hikers register for, the trip might include a picnic lunch, history lessons and wine flights.