A trail marker on July 12. The summer weather allows for perfect hiking days.
A trail marker on July 12. The summer weather allows for perfect hiking days.
Morgan Berryman, OMN Photographer

Where to hike and swim in the Willamette National Forest

For students staying in Corvallis over the summer, it may be frustrating to see this crystal blue water while you’re stuck at an internship, doing summer classes, or only having access to the Willamette river as your nearest water source. 

As summer continues to warm Oregon, many students find an increasing need for that classic Oregon scenery that you may have seen on TikTok or Instagram. Being outside can be a great way to destress, especially relaxing at some of Oregon’s best natural swimming locations.

Willamette National Forest, located around 90 miles from Oregon State, is a great location for finding beautiful swimming locations and hikes that show off the best of Oregon. 

“For people looking for really pretty places to be outside that’s close by they should for sure look into Willamette National Park,” Samuel Ehling, a student at Oregon State University, said. “Unfortunately, some of the prettiest locations that were relatively uncrowded are ruined from forest fires but there are still a bunch of other places I like going that people should check out.”

Here are some things you may want to bring on a hike, according to the National Parks Service:

  • Small day pack or cross body bag
  • Swim suit that you don’t mind potentially getting ruined: there can be mud or sticks in the water that could potentially harm your suit
  • Snack or food for your day out
  • Lots of water: because of the heat, you are much more likely to become dehydrated
  • Comfortable, sturdy sneakers/hiking shoes 

“Be safe and know what you’re comfortable with, but also, push yourself to have your own adventure!” Ehling said. 

Here are some hikes with swimming locations in the Willamette National Forest perfect for this summer:  

  • Slide Creek 
    • $9 vehicle fee per day
    • Close to campgrounds and Olallie Trail head
    • 99 miles from Corvallis
  • Tamolitch Falls (Blue Pool)
    • Dog friendly
    • 4.2 mile in and out hike starting at Trailbridge Reservoir 
    • Moderate difficulty 
    • 92 miles from Corvallis
  • McKenzie River Trail
    • Easy hike
    • 26.5 miles one way
    • Beautiful scenery which can take you to clear lake, a beautiful swimming area and blue pool
    • 79 miles from Corvallis
  • Sahalie and Koosah Falls Trail
    • 2.6 miles
    • Easy hike
    • Not swimmable but hike up to a water feature
    • 82 miles from Corvallis
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