Kings Valley Things to Do Tips by mtncorg
Kings Valley Things to Do: 6 reviews and 23 photos
The Harris Covered Bridge across the Marys River
Again, not far away ...
Featuring portal arches and narrow windows at the roofline, Harris Bridge was built across the Marys River west of Philomath around 1936, though some think it might have been earlier. On the south side of the bridge is a small winery that is open on weekends specializing in dessert wines. The location tends to be quiet since the road leading here is gravel. A very beautiful setting a couple miles off US 20.
Directions: From Corvallis take US20 through Philomath to Wren. Exit the highway; turn right twice to head back under the highway (veering) to the right at the "Y". Continue to travel west on Harris Road for approximately 2.5 miles.
Mtncorg at the Ritner Bridge
Closer to home ...
This little bridge over Ritner Creek was the last covered bridge crossed by an Oregon State highway – OR 223. The span was built in 1927 for $6964 with a rounded portal design. The entries were squared off over time to allow larger loads to pass through – i.e. log trucks. In 1976, the bridge was replaced by the current non-descript concrete bridge while the covered bridge was moved several yards east to its new position where it serves as a focal point for a Polk County wayside park. Just east of the covered bridge you can find the old abandoned rail bed of the former Valley-Siletz railroad which used to lead up into the Coast Range to the former company-owned town of Valsetz. Follow the bed towards Ritner Creek and you can see the former bridge piers just above the creek’s confluence with the Luckiamute River.
Directions: From I-5 exit 258 and follow Portland Road 5 miles to the junction of OR22 (Marion Street). Turn right crossing the Willamette River, and go 17 miles to Dallas. South on OR223 about 12 miles through Pedee. Ritner Creek Bridge is 3.5 miles south of Pedee.
Mtncorg - aka Toffee - at the Hayden Bridge
Staying liberal ... this is Benton County afterall.
Built in 1918, the Hayden Bridge is one of seven remaining covered bridges built in Oregon before 1920 – it goes without saying that it is the oldest in Benton County. The original portals have been enlarged for larger log truck loads – log trucks have a tendency to run into these bridges over the years. In common with other Coast Range bridges, there are ribbon windows at the eaves and the sides are flared so rain will fall off quicker. You will find the bridge just off OR 34 two miles west of the little community of Alsea. The bridge was rebuilt in 1945 and again received extensive rehabilitation in 2006 after one of those mishaps with a log truck. There used to be other covered bridges nearby, but Hayden is the last survivor in the area.
Directions: From Corvallis take Highway 34 southwest approximately 24 miles to Alsea and continue west 2 miles to Hayden Road. Turn left on Hayden Road and continue for several hundred yards to the bridge.
Mtncorg presents the Chitwood Bridge
Putting this under Kings Valley is probably a bit liberal, but not having made a page for Newport or Toledo, this will have to do for now. You see the bridge from US 20 as you pass along the twists and turns the road is known for just west of Eddyville – another bump in the road, itself. Anyway, you see it for now, but it the near future the State is building a new US 20 roadway that will be faster, straighter and will bypass Chitwood to the south.
Chitwood was a logging camp/railway stop between Yaquina Bay and Corvallis. A few buildings remain and the train still runs past though it no longer stops. Built in 1926, locals rallied to save it in 1983 when Lincoln County wanted to replace it. Roofing, flooring, siding and approaches were all replaced at a cost of more than $240,000, all done in a style typical of Lincoln County covered bridges - ribbon windows at the eaves and flared sides to try and take care of the prodigious amounts of rainfall. It is quite a sight as you zoom by.
Directions: From I-5, use Corvallis exit (228) west 38 miles on US 20. The bridge adjoins Highway 20 near milepost 17. Alternately, travel east from Newport on Highway 20, 17 miles to Chitwood.
Mtncorg gives you Alsea Falls
The forests and hills separating the Willamette Valley from the headwaters of the South Fork of the Alsea River fall into the jurisdiction of the Bureau of Land Management – BLM. The BLM has established the South Fork Alsea River National Back Country Byway on a road that follows much of the course of the South Fork from its confluence near the community of Alsea, over the hills down into the Willamette Valley to the little town of Alpine. It is a wonderfully scenic backdoor that has this little waterfall as its highlight. Trails and picnic sites surround the second growth forest around the waterfall. There is a $3 day fee. About a half mile further up the road is a small campground - $12 per night fee – that will allow you the chance to tarry even longer. The park is, for all its seeming isolation, well known to locals.
Directions: Corvallis take OR 99W south 15 miles, west on Alpine Road five miles to Alpine Junction. Continue on the South Fork Alsea River Access Road nine miles to Alsea Falls. From Alsea, drive south on following signs to Alsea Falls.
Overlooking the old fort site at the valley's end
Native Americans living in western Oregon had been decimated by disease before the European pioneers showed up in the 1840’s. The few hundred left were shunted off to the Coast Reservation – along with many from southern Oregon – which originally encompassed much of the Oregon Coast from Cape Lookout in the north to Winchester Bay on the Umpqua River in the south. Treaties are made to be broken and eventually the tribes lost off of their lands in 1954 – though most was lost in the late 19th century. Two tribes have recently reestablished themselves – the Siletz and the Grand Ronde – regaining federal recognition and each have their own successful casinos.
Fort Hoskins was built along with Fort Yamhill to keep the pioneers in the Willamette Valley and the Natives on the coast. The forts were built along the only two known routes over the Coast Range at the time. The trail leading over from Fort Hoskins was so rugged that there was no need for a blockhouse to be built. Built in 1856 above the south end of Kings Valley with Lt Philip Sheridan playing a key role, some 200-300 troops were garrisoned here around a pair of parade grounds. The fort served its original purpose keeping the peace until the Civil War erupted. The regular troops were sent east to take part in more active endeavors – Sheridan would become a four star general – and they were replaced by California and Washington volunteers. Their role was modified to not only keep the two Worlds apart but also to keep an eye on Secessionist ideas floating about settlers in the Willamette Valley – Lincoln was elected here, like in the rest of the country as a result of a split in the Democratic Party, plus Oregonian Joseph Lane had run as the vice presidential candidate on the Southern Democratic ticket in 1860. It was not until late in 1864 that Oregon finally came down strong on the side of the Union and Oregon volunteers garrisoned the fort for its last four months of operation. With the end of the war, the fort was shut down.
Only recently, Benton County has established this park on the grounds of the old fort similar to the park that the State has produced further north at Fort Yamhill. There is a short trail that takes you to the different sites of the old post. It is usually very quiet here and you can easily get a feeling for what I must have been like for the soldiers to be stationed here at World’s End some 150 years ago.
Directions: A couple miles west off OR223 - follow the signs to Fort Hoskins
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