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Willamette Mission State Park is located on the northwestern edge of Oregon and resides next to the Willamette River. The park is named after the Willamette Mission which was built in the early 1800s as a way to convert local Native Americans to Christianity. Eventually, the mission grew to house many different structures ranging from blacksmith shops to a hospital. The mission was severely damaged in the late 1800s after the Willamette River flooded and it was later abandoned.
Willamette Mission State Park is a short drive away from cities such as Portland and Salem. The area has very mild temperatures year-round although winters can be very cold and rainy.
You’ll find plenty of outdoor activities to do at Willamette Mission State Park. One to try is fishing. This state park is surrounded by two main bodies of water that fishers can use. These are Mission Lake and Goose Lake. Mission Lake is easy to access and has a fishing dock while Goose Lake requires a little more effort to reach. Some fish you’ll find swimming around in the lakes include bluegill, carp, bass, and crappie.
Visitors could also go hiking. The pathways in the park are surrounded by thick forests and a few will take you to the ruins of the Willamette Mission. One of the main trails hikers can trek down is the Willamette Mission Trail which is well-marked and easy to explore. However, keep in mind that after a heavy rain some parts of it could be a little flooded.
Another thing to do at the state park is birdwatching. Thanks to the park’s thousands of trees many different species can be found nesting in them. A few birdwatchers should keep an eye out for include meadowlarks, chickadees, bluebirds, and woodpeckers.
Those that have RV rentals in Oregon can stay at one of the many travel trailer campgrounds situated in the area. One place visitors can keep their RV at is Silver Spur RV Park. This RV campground offers numerous motorhome camping sites that come with features such as electric, WiFi, and cable. This pet-friendly RV park also has restrooms, a game room, and plenty of hiking trails for visitors to explore.
Another motorhome campground is Premier RV Resort. Situated in Salem, this campground offers plenty of amenities for guests. These include 20, 30, 50 amps, water, WiFi, and bathrooms. There is also a pool, gift shop, laundry facility, and a dog park available.
There are quite a few destinations near Willamette Mission State Park visitors can check out. In Salem, there’s the Oregon Garden. This 80-acre botanical attraction is filled with different types of gardens, most of which are designed with various themes. Some you’ll discover here include the Axis Garden, Conifer Garden, Lewis and Clark Garden, Pet-Friendly Garden, and Rose Garden. Besides touring the grounds visitors can also attend one of the park’s many events, like Earth Day celebrations and wine tastings. There are admission fees and prices range based on age or if you have garden membership.
About two hours away in Otter Rock is Cape Foulweather. Towering 500-feet above the Pacific Ocean, this basalt cliff was first spotted by James Cook when he sailed by during his famous journey. This natural wonder is so tall that it’s a popular place for whale watching. While Cape Foulweather can be viewed at various places in the area one of the best spots to get clear views of it in its entirety is at Otter Crest State Scenic Viewpoint.
Take your RV on a trip to Hillsboro to explore the Historic Imbrie Farm. Created in 1855, this historic structure features stunning Italian-inspired architecture and was once a working farm before it was later purchased and converted into a restaurant and pub. The farm still has many of its original structures standing, including an octagonal barn. Visitors will also be able to view the numerous 100-year-old black walnut and chestnut trees that border the grounds.
In Eugene, there’s the Cascades Raptor Center. This wildlife hospital is home to a handful of native raptors who are either undergoing medical treatment or rehabilitation. While here, visitors will be able to learn more about these birds of prey while also discovering how the center cares for them. Some birds you’ll be able to see here include eagles and hawks. Guided tours are provided at the center. When you’re done touring the structure, stop by its gift shop that is filled with bird-related merchandise.