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The Willamette Valley and Wine Country Travel Guide

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  • Photo: Robert Crum / Shutterstock

Plan Your Willamette Valley and Wine Country Vacation

The Willamette (pronounced "wil-lam-it") Valley has become a wine lover’s Shangri-La, particularly in the northern Yamhill and Washington counties between Interstate 5 and the Oregon Coast, a region that is not only carpeted with vineyards but encompasses small hotels and inns, cozy restaurants, and casual wine bars.

The valley divides two mountain ranges (the Cascade and Coast),

and contains more than 200 wineries. The huge wine region is made up of six sub-appellations: Chehalem Mountains, Ribbon Ridge, Dundee Hills, Yamhill-Carlton, Eola-Amity Hills, and McMinnville. With its incredibly rich soil perfect for growing Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris, Chardonnay, and Riesling, the valley has received worldwide acclaim for its vintages. The region's farms are famous for producing quality fruits, vegetables, and cheeses that are savored in area restaurants. During spring and summer there are many roadside stands dotting the country lanes, and farmers' markets appear in most of the valley's towns. Also delicious are the locally raised lamb, pork, chicken, and beef. The valley also is a huge exporter of plants and flowers for nurseries, with a large number of farms growing ornamental trees, bulbs, and plants.

The valley definitely has an artsy, expressive, and fun side, with its wine and beer festivals, theater, music, crafts, and even ballooning. Many residents and visitors are serious runners and bicyclists, particularly in Corvallis and Eugene, so pay attention while driving.

The entire state is riveted by the collegiate rivalry between the Willamette Valley–based Oregon State Beavers in Corvallis and University of Oregon Ducks in Eugene. In these towns businesses think nothing of closing for the home football games, and getting a ticket to the "Civil War" game between the two is a feat in itself.

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Top Reasons To Go

  1. Swirl and sip Each region in the Willamette Valley offers some of the finest vintages and dining experiences found anywhere.
  2. Soar through the air Newberg's hot-air balloons will give you a bird's-eye view of Yamhill's wine country.
  3. Run rapids Feel the bouncing exhilaration and the cold spray of white-water rafting on the wild, winding McKenzie River outside Eugene.
  4. Walk on the wild side Hillsboro’s Jackson Bottom Nature Preserve gives walkers a chance to view otters, beavers, herons, and eagles.
  5. Back the Beavers or Ducks Nothing gets the blood pumping like an Oregon State Beaver or University of Oregon Ducks football game.

When To Go

When to Go

July to October are the best times to wander the country roads in the Willamette Valley, exploring the grounds of its many wineries. Fall is...

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Check historic weather for your trip dates:

Travel Tips

The Willamette Valley and Wine Country Travel Tips

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