A pleasing detour for I-5 travelers, this 55-mile/89-kilometer pastoral route loops through a verdant park filled with waterfalls and rolling farmlands with distant views of the Coast and Cascade mountain ranges.
Woodburn to Mt. Angel
Shoppers often associate Woodburn with top-name designer goods and outlet bargains along I-5. Travel a few miles east to discover a productive agricultural area, too. The home of its founder, Jesse Settlemier, still stands proudly on a downtown corner. Nearby, a host of family-run Mexican restaurants line 99E and Front Street as testament to this historically Hispanic burg, which has the largest percentage of Latinos of any Oregon town.
Swiss-German heritage is evident in Mt. Angel, with its Bavarian-style architecture and a glockenspiel that plays four times a day. The community hosts the Pacific Northwest’s largest Oktoberfest every September.
The route travels along OR-214 south toward Silverton, and the surrounding farms showcase some key Oregon crops, including hop vines (used in beer making), hazelnut groves and marionberries, a blackberry cultivar named after this county, Marion. A quick detour west on Downs Road leads to the 1917 Gallon House Covered Bridge, supposedly named for its covert whiskey sales during Prohibition. Silverton’s vibrant downtown makes a good lunch stop before an afternoon at the Oregon Garden, with 80 acres of specialty botanical gardens, concerts and other events.
OR-214 twists and climbs past the Silverton Reservoir and through acre after acre of Christmas tree farms. Eventually they give way to a tall canopy of fir and hemlock as you approach Silver Falls State Park. More than 25 miles/40.2 kilometers of trail wind through this lush 9,000- acre park, Oregon’s largest. The Trail of Ten Falls passes above, below and even behind the park’s cascades, several more than 100 feet high. Overlooks and short walks also provide worthy waterfall views.
The highway exits the south end of the park, descending out of forest and bending in broad S-curves through scenic farmland. Turn left on the Cascade Highway, passing through the rural hamlets of Sublimity, Aumsville and Turner to return to I-5.