Three months after we moved to Corvallis, we made our way up to Mary's Peak. It was a glorious June day, the wildflowers were out in full force, and it was one of our first big adventures since our daughter, Evey, was born earlier that spring. Collin and I have always loved car rides, we often spend Sunday afternoons driving around the valley and exploring. It's a chance to be intentionally together as a family while seeing all the nooks and crannies our area has to offer. The forty-five minute drive to the top of Mary's Peak did not disappoint! Through the forest, around the curves, and the parking lot at the end you can see all of Corvallis and the yonder mountains like Hood and Jefferson.
The hike to the top is easy; we've done it with a newborn, toddlers and big kids, and I've passed people of all ages along the way. It's maybe a mile to the summit and the incline is a somewhat gradual gravel path. The view from the parking lot is very pretty, but nothing beats the view from the summit. Fun fact: Mary's Peak is the highest point in the Oregon Coast Range at 4,097 feet. On a clear day you can see the Pacific Ocean to the west and the Cascade Range to the east. Bonus that there's a picnic table up there so you could haul up a meal and have the most epic backdrop!
When my parents moved to Corvallis in 2008 they could see Mary's Peak out their kitchen window. They tried to go up at least once a summer and my mom always talked about it like it was a regular part of her day, "it was really hazy today, could barely see the peak", or, "getting cold, Mary's Peak had it's first snowfall". My mom loved life in Corvallis and she's always had a thing for mountains so I didn't read too much into it, honestly thought Mary's Peak was just a Corvallis thing! I don't know how I didn't make it up there with my parents in the six years they lived here before us, but I realize now that I was sorely missing out! No matter where you live, Mary's Peak is worth the drive. Crazy to think I grew up just a few hours from it and had no idea!