There’s something about a good old fashioned scenic drive that nourishes the soul. Luckily, the Willamette Valley is not lacking spectacular scenic routes for you to venture down. It seems like all you have to do is take a turn off any main road and you’ll find yourself driving among old family farms, breathtaking fields of wildflowers, and lush green forests. So, go ahead and roll the windows down, put on your favorite road trip playlist, and hit the trail!
Looking for suggestions? We invite you to consider one of our recommended scenic drives:
- Choose your own adventure as you cruise through the Eola-Amity Hills, stopping at wineries as you go. Use the Eola-Amity Hills AVA road map as a guide.
- Looking for a scenic drive with an exciting destination? Directions from Amity: head out on HWY 153 E and then take the Wheatland Ferry across the Willamette River. If that wasn’t adventure enough, continue east of the valley to Silver Falls State Park and hike the Trail of Ten Falls (you’ll find yourself walking behind a 177-foot waterfall). Other places to visit in this direction include the Wooden Shoe Tulip Farm (check website for seasonal events), the 80-acre botanical garden at Oregon Garden, or shop the unique antique and architectural pieces at Aurora Mills Architectural Salvage.
- Explore the back roads around Yamhill and Carleton. Directions from Amity: Take HWY 233N to Lafayette Highway to reach Lafayette, then take a left on 99W. A couple of blocks later, you’ll want to turn onto Bridge Street heading north which later becomes Abbey Road. From there, turn onto Hendricks Road which will bring you into the town of Carleton. Visit The Republic of Jam once you’re there for a sweet pick me up, or try one of the delectable pastries or freshly made sandwiches at The Carleton Bakery. When you’re ready to head out, just loop back to McMinnville on HWY 47 or continue through Carleton on Meadowlake Road, then Westside Road south back to McMinnville, continuing onto Amity via HWY 99.
- For those that are up for a longer day drive, you might try owners Rob and Barb’s favorite slow-route to the Oregon coast. Can you smell the ocean air already?
Directions from Amity: head out on HWY 153 to Oregon Route 18 until you reach Sheridan. Then take Main Street through Sheridan to Willamina, and turn north on Willamina Creek Road. Willamina Creek Road becomes Coast Creek Rd, then Gilbert Creek Rd, and eventually T’s into the Nestucca River Road. From here you use NF-85 toward Blaine, and from there to Beaver, where the road intersects with HWY 101 and you’ve made it! Take in the fresh ocean air, explore the coast, and when you’re ready, head back down 101 to the community of Hebo and turn east on HWY 22 which will lead you back to Amity.
- Have you heard of the term ‘wiking’? That is, wine tasting while hiking? Just ask the folks at Left Coast Estates, they’re credited with coining the term. There is likely no better place to give it a try than within their hundreds of acres. Get there in about 15 minutes via 99W (You’ll want to call ahead before visiting to be sure trails and tastings are available).
- Take a drive back in time to Champoeg State Heritage Area, the site where settlers gathered back in 1843 to hold a historical vote that resulted in Oregon’s first provisional government. Guided walks, museums, and other recreational and educational activities are offered in the historic pioneer town. A lovely jaunt up 223 N to OR-18 will get you there.
- If you are up for a wonderful all-day trip to the coast, head out to Lincoln City, then drive down HWY 101 to Newport. There are some great beaches you can explore along the way, as well as several galleries featuring local artists. In Newport, consider visiting the Yaquina Lighthouses, the Oregon Coast Aquarium, and Nye Beach. You can buy fresh fish and crab from an old fishing vessel, the Chelsea Rose, in the Newport Harbor (consider cooking it on the patio grill back at Amity Flats)! If you’d rather have someone else do the cooking, opt for a late lunch at one of our two favorite restaurants, Local Ocean Seafoods in Newport Harbor or Ove, in Nye Beach. Instead of returning along the same route, take HWY 34 back to the valley through Corvallis, then drive up 99 to Amity. The complete circuit requires about four hours of driving time.
For more ideas of things to do and see in the Willamette Valley, visit our activities page.