Begin Flipcause Integration Code //-->
Skip to content

2014 Insider Field Trips: Go Behind the Scenes

You’re invited to join the Oregon State Parks Foundation and Oregon Parks and Recreation Department staff for exclusive insider tours at four exceptional state parks this summer and fall. These FREE field trips are family-friendly and designed to provide unique experiences most park visitors don’t have. Capacity is limited to 25 people for each insider tour. To save your space, email us at to let us know which trip you’d like to attend and how many guests will be in your party. If you have additional questions or require specific accommodations, please call us at 503-802-5750.

Saturday, June 14; 9:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.

On I-84 about 25 miles west of La Grande (or meet at alternate location listed below)
Emigrant Springs SHA - WagonTake a ranger-led hike through seldom-seen parts of this beautiful park, including pioneer-era wagon ruts that appear off the beaten path used by most park visitors. The Oregon Trails Commission is currently in the process of certifying these wagon ruts as part of the official Oregon Trail, which means you could be among the first to see the ruts under their new designation. Organized and led by Foundation board chair Bruce Barnes and Oregon State Parks staff, this field trip is co-sponsored by the local chapter of the Native Plant Society. Wildflower and bird experts will be on hand to share their expertise. Field trip attendees will meet at 9 a.m. at the Umatilla County Health Department parking lot in Pendleton or at 9:30 a.m. at the park entrance.


Saturday, June 28; 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Meet to caravan at the TriMet Tualatin Park & Ride (I-5 Exit 290)
ThompsonsMill Come explore the Willamette River’s beautiful natural areas near Salem and Albany on a daylong journey into the past. After a ride on the Buena Vista Ferry, take a two-mile ranger-led hike through some of the area’s best remaining gallery forest at Luckiamute Landing State Natural Area, where you could see Oregon’s native Western Pond Turtle. After a bring-your-own lunch, we’ll travel the short distance to Thompson’s Mills State Heritage Site, where family member Larry Thompson will demonstrate the inner workings of Oregon’s oldest water-powered grain mill built in 1858. John Hoffnagle, executive director of the Oregon State Parks Foundation, will lead the field trip along with Ranger Steve DeGoey at Luckiamute Landing and Park Manager Julie Whalen at Thompson’s Mills. Please wear comfortable hiking shoes and bring a picnic lunch and water. Binoculars would be helpful for a closer view of the park’s wildlife. Field trip attendees will meet at 9 a.m. at the TriMet Tualatin Park & Ride (I-5, Exit 290). Buena Vista Ferry toll is $3 per vehicle.


Saturday, August 9; 10:00 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.
(optional bike trip at 8:30 a.m.)
Welcome Center, OR-47/Nehalem Hwy, 34 miles west of Portland (bike trip starts at Banks Trailhead)
Stub Stewart - Bicycle Take a guided hike on the less-traveled trails of this amazing park and explore the progress of the recent restorative forest-thinning project. After a bring-your-own lunch, we’ll visit the park’s mountain-bike area, which is normally closed to pedestrians. If you want to extend the day’s adventure, an additional post-trip excursion will then visit the fossil area or the giant Buxton Trestle. Or, start the day early with an optional bike ride to the park that leaves at 8:30 a.m. from the Banks Trailhead (Hwy 47 and Banks Road). This activity-filled field trip will be led by Foundation board member James Gorter along with Oregon State Parks staff and state park partners. The optional bike ride will be led by John Hoffnagle, Oregon State Parks Foundation executive director. RSVP is especially important for those cycling from Banks to the park. Please call us at 503-802-5750 to let us know you’ll be joining the bike ride.


Saturday, September 13; 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

On Ridge Rd off US Hwy 101 about 10 miles west of Astoria
Fort Stevens SP - BatteryFort Stevens was once the primary military defense installation in the Harbor Defense System at the mouth of the Columbia River. The fort was in service for 84 years, beginning during the Civil War and closing at the end of World War II. The first half of this insider field trip will be devoted to the fascinating military history and historic importance of Fort Stevens with Head Ranger John Koch. Following a bring-your-own lunch, the group will take a one-mile hike to explore the park’s natural history and recreational side with ranger and noted mushroom expert Dane Osis. After viewing the yurts and brand-new cabins in the main campground, we will travel to Coffinberry Lake where kayak tours are offered. Then we will visit the Peter Iredale shipwreck and stop at two different viewing platforms used by bird-watchers. If time permits, we will see another historic site, Battery Russell. Organized and led by board member Laurence Cotton, this field trip is co-sponsored by the Second Saturday hiking group. Fort Stevens State Park is located in Warrenton near Astoria; please meet in the Historic Site Parking Area at 10 a.m. For current driving directions and park map, please visit our Facebook event page.