How to Experience The Willamette Valley
Most people hear the words “Willamette Valley” and think of wine. Oregon’s wine country packs more than 700 vineyards into a 150-mile space and produces some of the world’s greatest pinot noirs, rieslings, and pinot gris. If you love (or just really like) wine, then this Northwest Oregon paradise is a great place to tip your glass over and over again.
That said, the Willamette Valley has more than just wine. Rolling farmland contrasts views of the southern Cascades’ dramatic, conical volcanoes. Anglers fish for Chinook salmon and kayakers paddle up and down the Willamette River. Cyclists pedal along the valley’s winding backcountry roads and explore its flowy singletrack. Foodies will flock here, too, dining at the area’s famous farm-to-table restaurants and shopping at its farmer’s markets.
In other words, you’ll find something to do in the Willamette Valley no matter what your interests are. Here’s how we suggest you experience it.
Fish the Willamette River
The Willamette River meets up with the Columbia River, snakes through Downtown Portland, and heads south through Northwest Oregon’s farm country. If you’ve only seen it in the city, you’re missing out.
This 187-mile-long river is a tributary of 12 different rivers, including the McKenzie and Clackamas. As a result, it’s a spawning ground for salmon and trout. Fly fishermen from all over the United States come here to cast their lines into the Willamette and camp along its shore.
Not everyone loves fishing, but luckily for them, Williamette Valley offers other water-based alternatives, such as a guided kayaking trip on the Willamette, instead. The river is mostly flatwater, making it a great daytrip for paddlers of all abilities and experience levels.
Plan a Wine Tour with a Personal Sommelier
With so many wines to taste, it’s easy to get overwhelmed in the Willamette Valley. You want to try it all, but you only have so much time. Instead of researching where to go and which varieties to taste and risking a sub-par experience, book a wine tour with a personal sommelier. It’s a little pricier than a DIY wine tasting trip, but it guarantees you’ll taste something you like and pair it effectively with the right food.
Rent a Road Bike and Pedal Through the Farm Country
Talk to any cyclist, and they’ll tell you Oregon is famous for its steep, winding mountain bike trails. What they’ll also tell you is Northwest Oregon’s uncrowded, hilly roads are perfect for road biking.
If you’re going to plan to eat and drink during your time in Willamette Valley, then consider renting a road bike. In addition to burning off all that delicious food, you can explore the area’s quiet, pastoral setting.
Are you looking for the perfect thing to do in the Willamette Valley? These are great options, and you can check in with the Vintage Hotel’s concierge team to help you make reservations, book kayaking rentals, find fishing guides, and visit the valley’s best vineyards.