For our Friday adventure this week, K and I visited Bob & Crystal Rilee Park & Equestrian Trails, which is just east of Newberg on Parrett Mountain. According to the Chehalem Park & Recreation District blog, this has only been officially zoned as a park for a few months, although the purchase of the property and a sizable donation donation of land from the Crystal Dawn Smith Rilee Foundation happened in early 2014. Apparently it’s been used as a network of trails known to horse people for years, but now it’s open to the public and is becoming a public park.
This time, I got my act together and invited a friend to join us, so we went with Angelina and her little L and M. We followed our map out to Rilee Park, and just like the directions say, the Google map takes one to the farmhouse. There’s a parking area a little ways prior to the farmhouse, which is called “Bob’s Corner.” We saw the CPRD sign and parked there and looked for the trailhead.
I will say that although we did eventually find the trail, it was not without crossing the road, climbing over a locked gate, tromping through some weeds in what looked like it might sort of be a path, and walking over to the wooden sign whose words we could barely read, then trying to figure out from there which way the trail was, wading through an even more overgrown section including blackberry vines, and wandering a bit to try to figure out if the trail was going to be like this the whole way.
I will also mention that since this park is really new, the map is not that helpful. There are actually two maps, one that is closer in and has names of some trails but has no roads marked and does not label Bob’s Corner, and one that zooms out and gives a broader picture but is harder to follow. We had to kind of feel our way and experiment the whole time to figure out where we were and where we were going. There were trail markers along the way, but the maps did not always have the same names as the trail markers. In the maps below, I’ve circled Bob’s corner and I show the trail we ended up walking in red.
That said, once we found the trail, it was really fun! We just kind of paid attention to what direction we were going, and made sure to loop back around when we were ready. There is quite the network of trails out there, and it was so nice to only be a few miles from Newberg but to be out on a trail where we couldn’t usually hear road noise or construction or other human noises (besides our children, and airplanes, neither of which we can really escape).
The section of trail we did was south from Bob’s Corner. We crossed the road and climbed over a gate, then turned slightly right and went downhill, then pretty much went straight downhill (south) for a while, turned west for a ways, and came back uphill. We were probably on the trail for an hour and a half, moseying and looking at centipedes and other points of interest along the way. We could hear many birdsongs.
The trail was wooded, with green ground cover everywhere we looked. Besides not knowing exactly where we were going, this was a really relaxing and fun hike. We all agreed we want to go back!
The boys had tons of fun picking up dirt and sticks. K gave me flowers for my hair. L wanted to stop and just look up at the trees. We named different plants, learned (luckily not by experience) not to touch stinging nettles, and kept an eye out for critters. Mostly we just saw centipedes, but also some birds and a squirrel. We also found a big snail shell, but it was no longer inhabited.
It sounds like the City of Newberg is in the process of developing a master plan to decide specifically where the trails will go and what kind of events and activities will happen there. This is going to be a great resource for the Newberg community, and I’m grateful that it’s there. I’ll watch its development into a more user-friendly network of trails with interest and gratitude.