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Erratic Rock, Wine Country's Historical Bookmark

By Elise McClain

Whether you are a history buff, outdoor lover or oenophile, a visit to Erratic Rock State Park provides a serene glimpse into the miracles of time and nature. This park's namesake, the "Erratic Rock", reminds us of the multiple floods, earthquakes, and volcanic eruptions that have shaped Yamhill Valley's landscape, activities, economy and agriculture.

Erratic Rock State Park is a hidden Wine Country destination located between McMinnville and Sheridan. Its paved roadside access path leads visitors up to its tenant's private hillside resting place. Once there, visitors are greeted by the 90-ton artifact - and a breathtaking view of the majestic Oregon Coast Range and surrounding valley.

What makes this rock "Erratic?" In geology, this term describes a composition that is different from the surrounding geology. Why is it so unique? Approximately 15,000 years ago, Erratic Rock floated from Canada to Oregon in a glacier during a cataclysmic Ice Age flood. The adventurous rock traveled across the North American continent, transported by waters similar to those credited with bringing the Yamhill Valley its diverse and varying soil types.

Erratic Rock now serves as our historical bookmark - marking a different place and time, a reminder of the events that shaped Oregon wine and terroir. Park visitors are welcomed to drink in the views, soak in the surroundings and appreciate the events that created Oregon's fertile wine valley.

Directions from Portland: Take OR-99W to OR-18W/OR-233 S/SE Dayton Bypass. Turn right at SW Sauter Road, and then right onto SW Oldsville Road. Turn left onto SW Dusty Drive.

Directions from Salem: Drive Highway 22 west and 99W north to Amity, then Highway 153 west for six miles to Highway 18. Turn right, then after little more than a mile turn left on Oldsville Road and follow the signs.

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Your adventure begins with the official Willamette Valley Travel Guide. Request your complimentary printed guide or download a digital guide today.

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