Outdoors with Kids in Chehalem Valley: North Valley Friends Trail

IMG_20160515_163139904We visit the North Valley Friends Trail often! It’s a great place to go to be outside without having to drive far from Newberg (or at all, if you walk or bike there). It’s just north of Newberg, directly north of the Foothills neighborhoods on College St. The trail is about 3/4 of a mile if you walk it in a circle, or 1 mile if you walk it in a figure eight through the parking lot. Pets are allowed on a leash. The trail is paved. It also works for bikes and other wheeled , although you have to be aware of pedestrians.

Pole & LabyrinthThe trail also has some great peace elements, as well as exercise stations. The peace elements include a beautiful labyrinth that’s 65 feet in diameter, peace poles saying: “May peace prevail on Earth,” in English, Spanish, and a number of other languages, and the peace poles also have quotes from peacemakers. Benches are spaced around the trail for quiet reflection. Exercise elements are spread around the trail including a balance bar, a push-up station, and other elements, designed to create an outdoor circuit training experience.


IMG_20160515_172149804_HDRIf you’re interested, you can also download and utilize a series of booklets for self-guided tours around the trail, stopping at each peace pole to reflect on the peacemakers whose quotes grace the poles, other thoughts on peace, the 12 steps of addiction recovery, or poems of peace. The website for the trail also has thoughts about walking the labyrinth, and walking the labyrinth with children. There’s also a prayer wall tucked in the southwest corner of the trail. You can bring a tiny paper and write your prayer on it and tuck it into one of the cracks, like a mini-wailing wall, or you can add a rock to it like a cairn.

K and I went on a walk around the trail a while back, but I forgot to write it up. It was drizzling a little bit, but we still had a good time. We brought a few snacks, and sat on a bench to enjoy them. It’s just the right length for a five-year-old to enjoy the “hike” and be out in nature, but not to get too tired or bored. I loved having time to be with him and hear what he was thinking about and noticing.

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My kids and I like to walk the trail, or run it, stop by the labyrinth and race around it, and look for bugs and other life. Right now there are many wildflowers blooming in the fields. At other times of year, there are blackberries and plumbs to munch. The trail encircles the property of North Valley Friends Church and the future home of Veritas School, and it will eventually also have ball fields for Chehalem Parks & Recreation District, and therefore the trail was a cooperative effort between these organizations (though the peace elements are all a gift from the Friends to the community). All are welcome to enjoy the trail!

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