Corvallis is known for being the home to Oregon State University and has been named the best college town in the Pac-12.  The name means Core (or Heart) of the Valley, but it actually sits on the western edge of the Willamette Valley near the Oregon Coast Range and where the Marys River flows into the Willamette.  At over 4000 feet, Marys Peak is the highest point in the coastal range and provides a small rainshadow to Corvallis, making it slightly dryer and cooler than it’s fellow Willamette Valley cities.


The view of the Cascade Mountains from the top of Marys Peak


The mild temperatures and easy access to hilly terrain make Corvallis the optimal home for trail running.  Within a few miles of downtown are miles of trails, many maintained by Team Dirt and the Oregon State University College of Forestry.   The Right Trail website makes it easy to find trails in the area.


Corvallis Trail Runs

McDonald Forest– The McDonald Forest has over 20 miles of trails and 60 miles of forest roads and is managed by Oregon State University.  Trails are constantly being added and modified to make a unique experience on every visit to the research forest.

Bald Hill and Fitton Green Natural Areas– A set of trails just a few miles west of downtown Corvallis that offer views of the Oregon Coast Range and evergreen and deciduous trees alike.

Marys Peak– The tallest point on the Oregon Coast Range has twelve miles of trails that run up and around the eastern side of the summit.

Alsea Falls–  Alsea Falls is located west of Monroe, a city halfway between Eugene and Corvallis.  These trails are popular with mountain bikers, but also trail runners.


One of the Team Dirt gnomes of Highballer trail at Alsea Falls


Trail Races

McDonald Forest 50k– McDonald Forest 50k is one of Oregon’s oldest ultramarathons.  It was part of the first Oregon Trail Series.  The course changes every year to show off the many trails in McDonald Forest.

McDonald Forest 5k, 15k– This race is put on every year on the last Sunday in October there is a 15k and 5k race over trails in the McDonald Forest. The race benefits the local running and ski teams.

Run for the Hills 30k, 8k– Run for the Hills is coordinated by the Heart of the Valley Runners and features the Bald Hill and Fitton Green trails.

Condor 25k–  Condor 25K Trail Run begins and ends at the Forestry Cabin at Peavy Arboretum in the McDonald Forest and is put on by Tia Gabalita and Jan Liebeskind in honor Dave ‘Condor’ Bateham.

Marys Peak 50 mile, 50k, and 25k– Oregon Trail Runs’ ultra race highlights the trails and forest roads around Marys Peak, Starker Forests, and the Corvallis watershed.

Alsea Falls Spring Fling– This half marathon from Oregon Trail Runs utilizes the trails of Alsea Falls.

Hell of the Northwest– Another Oregon Trail Runs half marathon in Alsea Falls but run in Halloween season.


McDonald Forest 50k (photo from Long Run Pictures)


Trail Running Groups


Heart of the Valley Runners– A diverse group of road and trail runners from the Corvallis area. The club was founded in 2008, and now has over 360 members with various standing meetups throughout the week and hosts several local races (road, trail, and on the track) as well as providing support and community for local runners.

Corvallis Area Trailrunners–  A Facebook page with group trail runs, trail work parties, and racing volunteer opportunities.  It’s also a resource for the McDonald Forest 50k trail race.  The group has an email list for meetups and volunteer opportunities.


Heart of the Valley Runners Group photo in the parking lot of Peavy Arboretum before a summer Sunday Trail Run



Coffee Culture– With four locations, Coffee Culture has been part of Corvallis since 1993.  They roast their own beans (marketed under Holderness) and bake their own fresh pastries.

Tried and True– Both the Downtown and Southtown locations have outdoor seating.  The Southtown location will feature live music in the summertime.  The menu is simple but serves a healthy cup of coffee.

Allan’s Coffehouse– Formerly known as The Beanery, Allan’s has been keeping OSU students awake since 1972 with several blends of coffee and tea.



Flat Tail– Located in downtown Corvallis, Flat Tail features standard brewpub food with several beers and sours on tap.

Block 15– Known for its Sticky Hands Ale, Block 15 has three locations in Corvallis feature food and beer.  The Southtown location offers heated outdoor seating and views of Marys Peak.


Block 15 in Southtown has indoor and outdoor space with views of Marys Peak


Sky High Brewing– The four-story brewery and restaurant feature lagers and ales.  The rooftop seating allows for views of the whole valley.

Mazama Brewing– Mazama moved from a taproom to a full-size restaurant when it bought out Big River restaurant in Downtown Corvallis.

Dirt Road Brewing– Located in Philomath, it’s close to Marys Peak.  Stop in for a beer and pizza.  They also have a great happy hour featuring the snack menu.

2 Towns Ciderhouse– Had enough beer?  On the way out of Corvallis on HWY 34 toward I-5 is 2 Towns Ciderhouse Taproom with a 135″ big screen TV for watching the game (available upon request), arcade, pinball, and board games, and a pup-friendly patio seating.