here 1 LegacyPostID: numheaderimagerows: 1 LegacyFeaturedImage: Eugene_Rainy-Hike-on-the-Ridgeline-Trail_TLC-e1668567378364.jpg

This Nov. 17-Dec. 31, 2023, ornaments will be hidden on trails throughout the recovering Detroit Ranger District in the Willamette National Forest.

Wondering what a ranger district is? It's more or less a designated geographic region within a larger national forest; in this case, the Detroit Ranger District sits at the northern edge of the Willamette National Forest, mostly along the Santiam Canyon in the West Cascades, and is bisected by Highway 22.

So if you want to find an ornament in the Detroit Ranger District, we've compiled a guide that encourages you to linger a little longer, support local businesses, and revel in the region's regrowth while enjoying the Willamette Valley Ornament Hunt.

Thank you for your interest in the 2023 Ornament Hunt! The event has ended, and we hope you had fun and made lasting memories! Check back in November 2024, when we'll unveil the trails for next year's search!

Trail Difficulty

We've hidden ornaments on wheelchair-accessible trails, family-friendly footpaths, and strenuous hikes. Please ensure your chosen trail is suitable for your experience level and abilities; if it sounds easier or tougher than you'd like, we have another 20 or so trails you can choose from throughout the Willamette and Umpqua national forests.

Weather Forecasts

Before setting out, check the latest forecast via the National Weather Service, and keep updated on road conditions through the Oregon Department of Transportation's TripCheck website (which features traffic webcams, road closures, and alerts on an easy-to-use map). You may also want to call the Detroit Ranger District a day or two before leaving—just to make sure your chosen trail is passable and in good condition.

One Ornament

Please only take one ornament per household so other families can enjoy the same thrill. Every ornament on a given trail features the same design, so you're not missing much by grabbing just one.

Looking to extend your ornament search into an overnight stay or weekend-long outing at Breitenbush Hot Springs, Detroit Lake State Recreation Area, or The Lodge at Detroit Lake? We've rounded up some popular eateries and lodging locations to help you plan a perfect trip.

Just remember that restaurants in the Detroit Lake area may keep reduced hours (sometimes on weekends only) in winter—or close for the season altogether. We've done our best to recommend eateries that should be open when you arrive, but please double-check before visiting. If your desired eateries are closed, you might be able to grab provisions at Mountain High Grocery.

Hungry after a long day of searching for an ornament? Fuel up for the day (or unwind after an adventure) at several restaurants throughout the Santiam Canyon area. Here are a few local favorites.

Filling portions and popular meat-and-potato dishes dominate the menu at the friendly Mill City Grill. Breakfast classics are served all day, while lunch and dinner selections include sandwiches, burgers, and beloved dinner entrées-steaks, pork chops, pot roast, and more.

Mill City Grill

Perhaps the best-loved pies in the Santiam Canyon are dished at Giovanni's Mountain Pizza, less than a half-hour west of Detroit in the community of Mill City. Pizzas are piled high with all your favorite toppings; choose among popular combinations, or build your own. Calzones, spaghetti, and sub sandwiches round out the menu.

Giovanni's Mountain Pizza

On your way back to the Willamette Valley, check out some of the many wineries and tasting rooms near Salem for another taste of what makes the Willamette Valley so special.

The area's rich agricultural history and nutrient-rich soils are home to some of the region's best-loved wineries—including Willamette Valley Vineyards and Eola Hills Wine Cellars.

Salem-area Wineries

Detroit Lake and the broader Santiam Canyon are popular summertime destinations—but offer a more laid-back experience in winter. Take advantage of the quiet season with hot spring soaks, scenic drives, and more.

Spend a few hours in the soaking pools at Breitenbush Hot Springs, open to the general public from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., or stay the night in the resort's creative accommodations. Just note: Breitenbush hosts a child-friendly area—but clothing is optional in soaking areas.

One of the most scenic drives in the Detroit area is the West Cascades Scenic Byway, a 220-mile route that runs north-south as it skirts the western slopes of the Cascade Range. Excellent views of crystal-clear rivers, snow-capped mountains, wildlife, and more abound around seemingly every bend in the highway. Detroit sits near the middle of the byway, making it an excellent home base for a day trip in the woods. 

Once you've found your ornament, find a good home for it by harvesting your own Christmas tree in the Willamette National Forest. Our helpful guide offers tips for planning your trip, acquiring a permit, and having fun while seeking out the perfect tree.

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

©2024 Willamette Valley Visitors Association

Site by Drozian Webworks