Hiking in Kings Valley

September 18, 2015.

I was running out of ideas of new places to go in and around Corvallis. But something stood out as I leafed through my dog-eared blue Sullivan book: Kings Valley.

Why hadn’t I noticed this entry before? Simple: the hikes were short. To accumulate 4.8 miles of hiking and 1100′ of elevation gain I’d have to drive to two trailheads. There were a few other trails in each of the parks but they looked short and flat. Nothing that would pique my interest. But, since I was trying to vary my hiking locations for the Hike366 project, I decided to go check it out.

Beazell Memorial Forest Loop

I began at a parking area near an old barn. Interpretive signs near the barn described the forest management practices and noted that the area had been hit hard by an ice storm last year. I walked away from the barn on a wide, flat trail. Tall, skinny trees stretched overhead. Sunlight filtered through the lanky trees, making for a pretty perfect afternoon walk.

Green leaves covered every scrap of ground they could. Ferns, shrubs, wildflowers and mosses fought for territory on the rich earth. Small creeks tumbled over rocks, crossing the green landscape. What this trail lacked in challenge it more than made up for in beauty.

Eventually the trail crossed a meadow and then climbed a ridge with views of the surrounding area. As I dropped back down towards the parking area I found a few big trees that had escaped the logging in this forest. A stroll down an old logging road brought me back to the barn and off to my next destination.

Fort Hoskins Park

Well here was a study in contrast.

I arrived at Fort Hoskins and emerged from my car to the sounds of an active logging operation. Great. The sun beat down on me in the broad meadow. The only trail open here was the half-mile loop to the historic house so that’s what I did. It would be interesting to someone who was into history, and I think I would have enjoyed it more without the constant sounds of heavy machinery in the background. I was super cranky and couldn’t wait to tick this off my list so I could go. So disappointing. Had I known this was happening, I could have stayed at Beazell and hiked some of the other trails there too.

Perhaps I’ll return in a few years after the logging destruction has recovered and all is quiet in the park.

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