If you’ve been around this blog for any bit of time, you know my love of Champoeg State Park runs deep! Do you ever have those places that just feel like home? Places where you feel totally at peace and where it feels like you’re supposed to be there? Champoeg is one of those places for me (along with a few places around northern California–but that’s another post!). Because I love Champoeg so much, I’m going to break up my Wanderlust Wednesday post for it into a few different posts.
Champoeg State Park is such a big park with several different trails to explore that I can take my time with it! Today I’m chatting about the Townsite Trail and the Bike Trail: otherwise known in our family as the field trail and the paved trail! (Yes, I had to look up their names for this post!) I’m kicking this post off with a picture of one of my favorite moments EVER: the time I got to shoot a WEDDING at Champoeg!! Be still my heart. Josiah and Angela even snuck out to my favorite spot on the Townsite Trail for sunset photos in the field. Dream. Day.
First thing’s first, Champoeg State Park is just east of St. Paul, Oregon and just south of Newberg. It’s a quick 5 minutes from my place in Newberg, but if you’re coming from the Portland area, hop onto I-5 and exit just past Wilsonville. It’s less than five minutes off the freeway, through beautiful rolling countryside. When you get to the park, pay the $5 parking fee or use your Oregon State Parks Pass (my FAVE) and head to the right at the fork. Turn left just before entering the campground and park at the Oak Grove Area–near the frisbee golf.
My favorite leg of this hike is the wide open field, of course. When you first come in to the parking area, you’ll see a little gate with a road headed north–if the gate’s open you can drive up and park in the first field, otherwise, walk through here and you’ll see the river access straight ahead. Veer to the right, and just on the other side of the fence is my field! I like to walk on the north end of it along the tree cover, because it hooks up nicely to the bike trail for a loop in the end. If you’re just looking to let your kids roam a short bit, you can also explore the path on the south end of the field. It just loops back in to the Oak Grove area pretty quickly.
The south end:
If you choose to do the longer loop by walking along the townsite trail, you’ll start where the fence ends on the north side of the field. It’s close to the group camping site and is a wide dirt path. We often see people walking their dogs out in this area so it’s a great spot for dog lovers!
The townsite trail will eventually curve around underneath some trees and meet the paved bike trail. Go south and start to head back towards where you parked on it. You can keep going west, but it won’t loop back around. Right where the townsite trail meets the bike trail is a super cool spot–the remains of an old street at the original town! You can see the line of trees here leaving space for a road. There’s also a flood marker as well. So much history in this place!
Once you’re on the paved path, you’ll curve through some trees and then back through a smaller field. Finally, it curves back towards the parking area and you’ll be able to walk through the oak grove. This is my second favorite spot at Champoeg! The light filters through these trees beautifully, and the oak trees remind of me of California. Watch for disc golfers as you go through this stretch, and you will have to walk on the road for the last few minutes back to your car. Since this is the State Park though, cars are slow and few between.
I mean really! Oak trees with Spanish moss hanging off their branches at Tasha and Andy’s anniversary session?? I could stay here forever!
This next picture was taken on New Year’s Day, 2018! We started the year out strong with our hikes! And we also got to document the brief amount of time Elizabeth allowed us to wheel her around before she started insisting on doing everything on her own! This is the last stretch of the trail, the paved bike trail curving around to meet the parking lot.
I hope you enjoy this trail! I love it the most in the summer when the field has grown tall. We’ve done it in all seasons though, and the paved path is perfect on rainy days. The leaves out on the northwest end turn a beautiful color in the fall, and cool spring days are the best for long hikes here! If you’ve done this trail, which is your favorite season to visit it in?