2014 Keystone Cougar Half-Ton
2014 Keystone Cougar Half-Ton
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2017 Thor Motor Coach Four Winds. Bunkbeds, family friendly
WinnieVan II -- 2004 Chevy AWD Astro Camper
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Sprawling along the east bank of the Santiam River, Jefferson is within the Salem Metropolitan Statistical Area. It’s the "Mint Capital of the World”, thanks to its annual Mint Harvest Festival, with a frog-jumping contest part of the celebrations every year.
The settlement was originally named Conser’s Ferry after a pioneer who operated a ferry across the river during the mid-19th century. After the Jefferson Institute was opened, the community adopted its name and the Jefferson Post Office was made official in 1861.
Today, Jefferson is a lively community between Albany and Salem and a great place to rent an RV. It offers convenient access to both of these historically-rich cities, as well as the bird-filled wetlands and waterfall-dotted mountains that lie nearby.
Jefferson lies on the doorstep of the Ankeny National Wildlife Refuge, a large tract of open farmland that provides vital habitat for wintering geese in the Willamette Valley. In particular, the dusky Canada goose uses its seasonal marshes as their exclusive nesting area while northern shovelers and American coots also frequent the area. Boardwalks traverse the refuge’s wet prairie habitats and there are bird watching locations set up at the Ankeny Hill Overlook and Eagle Marsh Kiosk.
If you'd like to stretch your legs, pick up your camper rental in Jefferson and head to the McDonald Forest on the edge of Corvallis, which is crisscrossed by walking trails of various lengths. Follow the half-mile-long Woodland Trail to learn about the forest’s ecology through interpretive signs or opt for the longer Forest Discovery Trail that begins and ends at the Peavy Arboretum. For sweeping views of Corvallis, walk, bike, or horseback ride through a historic orchard on the way to the top of Dimple Hill, with panoramas across the Cascade and Coast Ranges.
No visit to Jefferson is complete without a day spent at the Silver Falls State Park, Oregon’s largest state park. It’s famed for its waterfalls, with many accessed along the spectacular Trail of Ten Falls. In addition to hiking trails, there are more than 35 miles of backcountry trails for mountain biking and horseback riding, as well as picnic shelters, a children’s playground and an off-lead area for dogs to run around.
You can pick up your RV rental in Jefferson and pull in at the Emerald Valley RV Park, a pet-friendly park with just over 50 RV sites. There are bathrooms and showers plus a recreation room, not to mention barbecues and a grassy dog play area.
Head a little farther north and you’ll arrive at the Phoenix RV Park in Salem, which offers just over 100 full hook-up sites. There’s access to Wi-Fi available and an on-site fitness center complete with treadmills and weight machines so you never have to miss a workout.
Alternatively, head south to the Knox Butte RV Park in Albany, another pet-friendly park with full hook-up sites. Take advantage of the Wi-Fi and cable TV connections, as well as covered picnic areas and laundry facilities with washers and dryers.
Also on the edge of Albany is the Blue Ox RV Park, which has full hook-up spaces available on paved sites. Enjoy complimentary access to a heated pool and recreation hall, with Wi-Fi and cable TV available in the lobby area.
Jefferson is home to a small supermarket where you can stock up on supplies. There is also a gas station if you need to fill up your motorhome rental in Jefferson. There are a handful of eateries for dining out or you can make the 25-minute drive to Salem for a more extensive choice, as well as a Walmart where you may be able to set up camp for a night or two with store management's permission.
When you book an RV rental near Jefferson, you may want to set aside some time to stroll through the city on foot, visiting the heritage-listed Jacob Conser House that now serves as the city library. Also of note is the Jefferson United Methodist Church that dates to 1871, with this whitewashed landmark also listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Visit the Jefferson Cemetery to gain an insight into the town’s history or just soak up the Santiam River views from the arched Jacob Conser Bridge, which was designed by Conde McCullough.
A short drive south of Jefferson takes you to the historic city of Albany, which is clustered with colorful Queen Anne Victorian homes and Craftsman-style bungalows. It’s home to charming cafes and antique shops where you can while away an afternoon, as well as the Albany Historic Carousel and Museum. Here you can get a behind-the-scenes look at how carousel animals are made and painted, with children invited to test them out.
The capital of Oregon, Salem, also lies within an easy day trip of Jefferson and is home to the Oregon State Capitol building and the Hallie Ford Museum of Art. In addition to a wide choice of restaurants and shopping experiences, it’s a fantastic destination for history buffs, particularly at the Willamette Heritage Center. Discover life in mid-19th-century Oregon as you wander through the restored homes and see first-hand how industries operated on a tour of the old woolen mill.
Whether you’re visiting Marion County for its historic cities or wildlife-filled parks, book an RV in Jefferson and embark on your exploration of this scenic region of Oregon.