#13 in the Northwest book, February 7, 2010; Moderate – 8.4 mile loop, no elevation gain
Another mild winter day, great for a hike along a river with some significant history. Along for the walk this time were Becky, Ben, Margaret and Mike.
Again, I (Ben) used my phone to record this hike. Click on the red dot for some statistics.
Champoeg State Park serves as the parking lot for this hike, and serves up great scenery for the start and end of the walk. It’s an easy descent to the trail along the river, which winds through the picnic tables and benches. This would also be a great place for a picnic, but we had places to go. There are two versions of this hike in the book; the simple hike around the state park is an easy 3.2 miles, but we were feeling ambitions, and decided to push on to Butteville.
Cutting through the campground brought us to the historic clearing where the town of Champoeg once stood. It was washed away in 1861, but you can still tell where the streets were, and it’s not hard to imagine a frontier town standing here. It hits you that this is the place where Oregon became a state, that real people lived here, and that it wasn’t really that long ago.
I love how lush northwest forests are, even in the dead of winter. This is the path between old Champoeg and La Butte, which cuts through woods that are at once stark and alive.
On the way back, we ran into this little guy. He’s lucky to live in such a beautiful place, but he very nearly didn’t survive contact with my boot.
Notes: Open year-round. Check out the visitor’s center for a free map of the area and other cool stuff. Also makes for a great bike trail.