2023 Willamette Valley Ornament Hunt
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It's the Annual Willamette Valley Ornament Hunt

Where To Find Ornaments | Winter Safety | Planning Tips | Register Your Ornament | Purchase an Ornament

It’s time once again for one of the Willamette Valley’s most beloved traditions: the sixth annual Willamette Valley Ornament Hunt, taking place across the Willamette National Forest and Umpqua National Forest.

Between November 17 and Dec. 31, 2023, two hundred locally-crafted wooden ornaments will be hidden along trails in both forests—where eagle-eyed hikers can seek them out and register to win this year’s grand prize, which includes a two-night getaway in the Willamette Valley.

Here’s where to find an ornament—and how to have fun this holiday season:

This winter, we’ve teamed up with the Willamette National Forest, Umpqua National Forest, and Cascade Volunteers to hide ornaments on 24 trails across the Willamette Valley.

Get ready by browsing our Ornament Hunt FAQ, and keep reading below for our complete trail list—along with itineraries for how to plan a longer getaway that includes ideas for food and drink, overnight stays, and nearby activities.

This forested corner of the Willamette Valley—between Detroit Lake, the McKenzie River, and the city of Albany—offers river views, waterfalls, and more.

Here are the trails where we've placed ornaments in the Sweet Home Ranger District:

  • Gordon Lakes Trail #3386: Head through a diverse forest of hemlock and Douglas-fir before descending quickly to the two Gordon Lakes.
  • Cascadia Day-Use Area and Trail #4171: Follow this mellow, 0.4-mile trail along the South Fork of the Santiam River—with pleasant views of the historic Short Covered Bridge. (Limited ornaments remaining!)
  • Santiam Wagon Road: Mountain House Section: Follow the most intact piece of the historic Santiam Wagon Road, with trips through pockets of old-growth forest and crossings of Elk Creek.
  • House Rock Trail #3406: Cross the South Santiam River on a footbridge, and enjoy views of the 40-foot-tall House Rock Falls. (Just one ornament remaining!)
  • Yukwah Nature Trail #3421: The wheelchair-accessible trail offers excellent views of the South Santiam River in the heart of a verdant forest.
  • Walton Ranch Interpretive Trail #4170: Follow the wheelchair-accessible path across Trout Creek and enjoy two viewing platforms—one that shows off the Walton Ranch site and the other showcasing a scenic meadow where elk occasionally congregate in winter. (Limited ornaments remaining!)

Follow Highway 58 east of Eugene to enjoy quiet rivers and creeks, old-growth forests, and remote summits.

Here are the trails where we've placed ornaments in the Middle Fork Ranger District:

  • North Fork Trail #3666 Segment 1: The mellow trail follows the North Fork Middle Fork Willamette River (between the Office Covered Bridge in Westfir and Forest Road 1910), with gently sloping hikes through Douglas fir and western hemlock.
  • Salmon Creek Trail #4365: Enjoy views of the namesake creek along this path, which begins in the heart of Oakridge. A parking area is at the intersection of Salmon Creek Road and Flat Creek Road, just east of Oakridge.
  • Greenwaters Trail #4250: This wheelchair-accessible, 1.1-mile trail heads through stands of old-growth Douglas fir and offers pleasant views of the Middle Fork Willamette River.
  • Larison Rock Trail #3607: The steep, four-mile (round-trip) path passes through a forest of Douglas fir and western hemlock—and, from its namesake crag, offers great views of the Oakridge area.
  • Hardesty Trail #3469: The steep, 10-mile (round-trip) trail dates back to 1910, making it one of the oldest hiking trails in the region, and passes the concrete pillars that once propped up a fire lookout.
  • Dead Mountain Trail #3566: This steep trail measures 10 miles (round-trip) and gains more than 2,500 feet along the way. Enjoy views of open meadows, the Salmon Creek Valley below, and (from the summit) the community of Oakridge. Hikers can start from the lower trailhead along Salmon Creek Road or the upper trailhead near the summit of Dead Mountain.
  • Alpine Trail #3450: The nine-mile (round-trip) trail gains about 1,600 feet while climbing through a stately forest broken up by the occasional meadow. Ornaments along this trail will be hidden below the Forest Road 1910-Forest Road 683 access point; start from Trailhead #3 or the Kate's Cut-In Trailhead.
  • Wren Loop: This wheelchair-accessible route is accessed from the Middle Fork Ranger Station in Westfir. (Limi

Follow Highway 126 east of Eugene—and into the Cascade Range, where you'll see raging waterfalls and the thundering McKenzie River.

Here are the trails where we've placed ornaments in the McKenzie River Ranger District:

  • McKenzie River Trail: Follow the trail's namesake river through an old-growth forest of Douglas-fir and western red cedar. Ornaments will be hidden between Tamolitch (Blue Pool) and Sahalie Falls #3507.
  • Waterfalls Loop Trail #3503: Enjoy views of Sahalie and Koosah Falls while walking through an old-growth conifer forest along the magical McKenzie River.
  • McKenzie River Trail #3507: Hike through the southern portion of this trail—below Frissell Boat Launch—in the midst of an old-growth forest and along the raging river.
  • King-Castle Trail #4326: Cross several streams and enjoy the spectacle of a towering old-growth forest on this quiet trail.

This region, in the Cascade Range east of Salem, centers around the Detroit Lake reservoir.

Here are the trails where we've placed ornaments in the Detroit Ranger District:

  • Stahlman Point Trail #3449: Walk through a young Douglas fir forest while enjoying views of Detroit Lake—all before ending at the site of a former fire lookout, where you’ll enjoy views of Mount Jefferson.
  • Tumble Creek Trail #3380: Along the 5.3-mile path (which climbs 3,000 feet along the way), hikers enjoy views of Mount Jefferson, Detroit Lake, and the wider Tumble Creek Canyon.
  • Upper Arm Day-Use Area: The wheelchair-accessible trail heads into a cove along the Breitenbush Arm of Detroit Lake—where you'll enjoy views of the broader lake and nearby hillsides.

Head southeast of Eugene and into the Cascade Range for scenic creek views and to see the 65-foot, two-tiered Brice Creek Falls.

Here are the trails where we've placed ornaments in the Cottage Grove Ranger District:

  • Brice Creek Trail #1403: Head upstream from the Cedar Creek Campground, through a scenic canyon, and enjoy excellent creek views.
  • Upper Trestle Creek Trail #1403D: The highlight of the lush trail is the chance to walk behind the upper portion of the 65-foot, two-tiered Brice Creek Falls in the midst of a green forest.

Before heading out:

Note that Forest Service roads and trailhead parking areas are not plowed—so if they're not passable or are unreachable, do not park along busy roads or highways.

More Winter Safety Tips

At last, it’s time to find your ornament. Here are a few guidelines for your search:

  • We’ve placed ornaments all along trails—at eye level or lower—but never in places that require you to go off trail. Stay on marked trails at all times.

  • Veteran hikers should look for ornaments further along trails so less experienced visitors can grab more easily accessible ornaments.

  • Please follow the Leave No Trace principles to stay safe and protect our forests.

  • Please take one ornament per household so fellow hikers can claim their own.

  • Share your adventure with us on social media by using the following hashtags: #FindYourOrnament, #FindYourTrail, #IwonderWV, #pnwonderland, and #willamettenationalforest

Curious to learn more? Check out our Ornament Hunt FAQ, which contains tips, resources, and answers to common questions.

When you find your ornament, it should be attached to a tag with instructions for registering to win this year’s grand prize—which includes an overnight stay in the Willamette Valley.

You can also click here to register your ornament.

Register to Win

New in 2023: We're giving you the chance to purchase the ornament at the heart of our annual Willamette Valley Ornament Hunt—and give back to Cascade Volunteers, the official nonprofit partner of the Willamette National Forest

This year’s unique ornament pays tribute to our world-renowned wine country and the 40th anniversary of the founding of the Willamette Valley American Viticultural Area (AVA).

Purchase an Ornament

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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