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Corvallis, Oregon, United States

Beazell Memorial Forest

Located in Kings Valley this hike follows a creek up a canyon, and a short hill hike to a meadow view.

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 (5 votes, 3 reviews)
Difficulty: Easy
Length: 3.5 miles / 5.6 km
Duration: 1-3 hours
Family Friendly • Dog Friendly
 
Overview: You'll find hiking trails for all ages and abilities. A short hike through a habitat for birds. A medium hike up the canyon along Plunkett Creek. A longer hike up the hill to a meadow viewpoint.

Located in Kings Valley, this is the largest of all Benton County Parks at 586 acres and the most recent County acquisition, donated in July 2000. The Beazell Memorial Forest is managed for environmental education and research opportunities.

It is a demonstration forest and open space area, with progressive ecosystem management practices to be used to protect, conserve and restore the natural, scenic, outdoor recreation, and wildlife values. The site has been constructed to support public access, provide cultural and environmental information, along with a trail system.

The resource opened to the public on July 1, 2003, with accessible restrooms, drinking water and picnicking facilities.


Tips: Take Hwy 20 west of Corvallis, past Philomath, to Highway 223. Take Hwy 223 4.8 miles. You will see signs to Beazell Memorial Forest on your right.

Points of Interest

Parking
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Parking/Restrooms

Park here. There are two large vault restrooms. the trailhead will be to the right of the barn in front of you.
Building
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Plunkett House

Before you start your hike, back track a few feet down the road you just drove down and visit the Plunkett House.

Built about 1875, the Plunkett House is typical of Kings Valley farmhouses of the period. It was owned by ashnah Norton Plunkett (1847-1933), the first pioneer child born in Kings Valley, whose parents Hopestill King and Lucius Norton came across the plains in 1845.

Described by Oregon histornian J.B. Horner as "the beautiful daughter of Lucius Norton," Ashnah Norton was the oldest girl in a family of twelve. In her later years, Ashnah described how she met her husband: "I wasn't much of a hand to go to dances. My folks didn't approve of them, but I went to a dance given in Kings Valley and was introduced to one of the California soldiers. His name was James Plunkett." Ashnah, 18, and James, 32, married on June 28, 1864. by 1883, they had seven sons and two daughters.

Ashnah took ownership of this house and property in 1886. Ashnah, James and the Plunkett family lived a generally self-sufficient life on the property, with garden, fruit trees, farm animals and hunting activities common to farm life. Supplies, services and social life were available at nearby Kings Valley with its general store, grist mill, blacksmith shop, schoolhouse and church.

A notable feature of this farm was its outhouse that sat over a diversion trench of running water fed from nearby Plunkett Creek. The trench water ran back to the creek after passing under the outhouse.

James Plunkett died in 1911, but Ashnah continued to live on this property until her death in 1933 at age 86. She had a reputation in the valley for being productive and busy, bringing her crochet, quilting and knitting projects whenever she went visiting. Family members recall her large spinning wheel and huge carpet loom, which she used to weave rag carpeting and hall runners for King valley homes.
Building
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Plunkett Barn

Benton County envisioned a new use for the historic Plunkett family barn, originally constructed in the 1930’s from lumber milled on site. The barn had not been used for many years, but was structurally sound. Transformation of this barn to become the Beazell Forest Education Center began in 2005. An ADA-compliant, structurally stable design, utilizing “green” materials where possible, was planned. The historic feel, simplicity and openness of the original barn were retained, and enclosed areas where light can penetrate through exterior barn planks were provided. The project involved low impact construction and maintenance, utilizing components of reduce, reuse, and recycle. Much of the original barn framework and planks were reused, and unusable parts were recycled. Barn floors and interior stalls were salvaged for reuse as railings, display partitions, and benches. Though the Beazell Forest Education Center has a classroom, caterer’s area, and a large assembly room, it maintains a barn-like appearance. When not in use, the windows and doors on the front façade are covered by barn doors.
Junction
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Trail Junction

While you can turn left here, if you are going to do the hike around the hill I suggest continuing straight and follow the creek.
Junction
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Trail Junction

Turn left for the bird habitat trail. Turn right for the Plunkett Creek Trail.
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Bird Habitat Loop

Turn either
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Hike Down Gravel Road

The trail follows this old road along Plunkett Creek. When it's been raining it can get muddy.
Junction
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Trail Junction

Here you can choose to follow the road left or split off right down to a trail by the creek. I highly recommend the trail down by the creek.

Eventually both trails end up connecting again later.
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Old Car

Look across the creek to spot this car that I think rolled down the hill from the road above.
Junction
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Trail Junction

Turn right to continue on the trail which leads up the hill by switchbacks. If you don't want to hike up the hill you can follow the trail left which will return you to the road and back to your car.
Junction
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Summit and Junction

You can turn left here and follow a trail down to a meadow, or continue straight ahead for the meadow viewpoint.
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Meadown Viewpoint

Junction
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Meadown Trail Junction

This is where the trail from POI 11 connects.

The trail ahead can be very muddy when it's been raining.
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Water Tank

Junction
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Trail Junction

Turn left here to head back to the parking lot. There is another trail a few feet ahead as well that will also return you to the parking area.
Pictures in this guide taken by: JMilesMiller
Reviews
jleamon49
Great time today on the Bird Loop and the Plunkett Creek trail. Beautiful hike along the creek. Just a notice, though, the Southern part of the park, including the longer trail, is closed for construction. Not sure how long, but they have the trailheads on both ends posted.
Visited on Oct 12, 2013

by jleamon49 on Oct 12, 2013
charpham
Been hiking this trail several times.. just wanted to say... great documentation on this guide..
Visited on Jul 14, 2011

by charpham on Apr 12, 2013
Sid135
A nice hike with kids 5 to 11, although there was whining until we hit the summit...:-) A nice hike with plenty of shade. The restrooms are flush with sinks.
Visited on Jun 10, 2012

by Sid135 on Jun 10, 2012

Beazell Memorial Forest Trail Map


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About the Author

JMilesMiller
JMilesMiller
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I've always liked the outdoors, but have been into hiking trails heavily since 2009. Everytrail really...

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