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Seize Winter in the Mid-Willamette Valley

December 14, 2016 | Kara Kuhn
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While temperatures may be hovering near zero in many parts of the country, the Willamette Valley’s temperate climate translates into relatively mild weather throughout the winter. Sure, it’s rainy, but with a little bit of rain gear and the right attitude, you can enjoy the beauty and tranquility of the great outdoors throughout the winter months in the Mid-Willamette Valley area.

For an authentic Northwest adventure near Salem, head to the Detroit Lake Recreation Area. Located in the heart of the Willamette National Forest, much of this 3,500-acre area is accessible year round. If you like to hike or snow shoe, you’ll enjoy many miles of trails that meander through misty, old growth forest.

Stay overnight at The Lodge at Detroit Lake. These cozy cabins offer the best of both worlds: a rustic lodge feel combined with modern amenities including flat screen TV’s, gas fireplaces, and jetted tubs. Be sure to stop at Rosie’s Mountain Coffeehouse in Mill City for their famous scones or steaming bowl of homemade soup.

If rejuvenation is your goal, plan a winter getaway to Breitenbush Retreat & Conference Center. Enjoy a warm soak in the natural hot springs and get a great night’s rest in their geothermal heated cabins.

Winter is also an ideal time for wildlife viewing. Just west of Salem lies the Baskett Slough National Wildlife Refuge – a sanctuary for wintering geese, great blue heron, Bald Eagles and more. After visiting Baskett Slough, stop at Brooks Winery in Amity, where you can sip award-winning wines while you relax in their cozy tasting room.

For a cold weather outing in the city of Salem, head to Minto-Brown Island Park. This 1,200-acre natural park offers more than 30 miles of trails for walking, jogging and biking and also boasts one of the largest off-leash dog parks in the Northwest. After exploring Minto-Brown, cozy up with a glass of Willamette Valley wine at a warm spot with a fireplace including Bentley’s Grill, Gilgamesh Brewing or Willamette Valley Vineyards.

For more ideas on exploring the Salem area this winter, visit the Official Salem Area Website www.TravelSalem.com.