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Ornament Hunting in the Umpqua National Forest's Cottage Grove Ranger District

By Matt Wastradowski

The Willamette Valley Ornament Hunt is back for another year! Between Nov. 17 and Dec. 31, 2023, you have a chance to find ornaments along beloved trails in the Cottage Grove Ranger District in the Umpqua National Forest.

Trail List | Trail Information | Area Attractions

The Cottage Grove Ranger District is in the Umpqua National Forest—just southeast of Eugene on the western slopes of Oregon's Cascade Range. 

If you're curious: A ranger district is a term for a certain area inside a broader national forest. Cottage Grove is the northernmost ranger district in the Umpqua National Forest and boasts access to towering waterfalls, verdant forests, trickling mountain creeks, and other natural wonders.

So if you're heading out to the Cottage Grove Ranger District to look for an ornament this winter, why not make a night or weekend trip out of it? Here are the trails where you'll find an ornament, along with lodging options, restaurants, and fun activities to make the most of your time in the area.

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 all over the Willamette Valley. Please check to make sure 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.

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). Bonus points for calling the Cottage Grove 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.

Hungry after your ornament search? Of course you are! Stop into Creswell Bakery for house-baked pastries or sandwiches (all of which are available to-go), or try Jack Sprats Restaurant for a bit of comfort food.

About 15 minutes north of Cottage Grove, Creswell Bakery has earned a cult following for its artisan breads, house-baked pastries, and filling breakfast and lunch sandwiches (all of which are available to-go if you're eager to hit the trail). Ingredients are sourced locally whenever possible.

Creswell Bakery

When comfort food strikes your fancy, Jack Sprats Restaurant is ready with a menu chockablock with classic breakfast dishes, a variety of burgers, and a thoughtful selection of vegetarian items-including Thai coconut curry and hazelnut quinoa cakes.

Jack Sprats

Cottage Grove, an excellent base camp for adventure in its namesake ranger district, sits at the southern edge of the Willamette Valley—and in the heart of the South Willamette Wine Trail.

The self-guided wine trail comprises 25 urban wine bars, scenic vineyards, chic tasting rooms, boutique outposts, and more—all pouring some of the region's most popular varietals.

South Willamette Wine Trail

You won't find much lodging within the Cottage Grove Ranger District, so consider staying a night or two in the city of Cottage Grove at the southern edge of the Willamette Valley—and just a half-hour from participating trails; the Cottage Grove Inn is one of the community's most popular hotels.

Beyond the Cottage Grove Ranger District, you'll find plenty of recreation in the region—short waterfall treks, rail-to-trail paths, and even historic covered bridges. Here's a guide to some of the area's best outdoor attractions.

Beginning and ending in Cottage Grove, the 14-mile Row River Trail is a paved, multi-use path that follows the route of a former railroad line. It mostly hugs the shore of the Row River (friendly tip: It rhymes with "cow"), with several trailheads that make it easy to hop off and on the path while walking or cycling past an 1800s-era gold mine, trestle bridges, and other natural sights.

Cottage Grove is known as the "Covered Bridge Capital of the West," thanks to a half-dozen old-school, wooden structures crossing waterways across the region. So on the way to (or from) your ornament hunt, make time for a detour to the covered bridges of Cottage Grove.

If you're hankering for a bit more time outdoors, consider a few hikes to a trio of impressive waterfalls in the Cascade Range foothills. Across three miles of trails (with just 600 feet of elevation gain), you can hike to the 60-foot Spirit Falls, the 100-foot Moon Falls, and the 105-foot Pinard Falls. Learn more about Spirit, Moon, and Pinard Falls, and check out our guide to the waterfalls of the Willamette Valley.

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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