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The Group Travel Leader Going on Faith Select Traveler

Pacific Meeting Guide: Oregon

Bike trail on Marys Peak near Corvallis, photo by Craig Cole, courtesy Visit Corvallis

Corvallis, Ore.
Corvallis is the kind of city where you can park your car when you arrive and not touch it again until you leave.

This gem in northwest Oregon, between Portland and Eugene, has miles and miles of paths and trails traversing parks, rivers and the scenic Oregon State University campus.

“There are so many opportunities to get out and about here; we are not known for one specific thing,” said Mary Pat Parker, executive director of Visit Corvallis.

After a day of meetings, attendees can explore the city of 60,000 on bicycles rented at Peak Sports or on escorted cycling tours organized by Willamette Tours and Cruises. Such expeditions explain why Bike USA designated Corvallis a “Bike-Friendly City.”

Corvallis and surrounding Benton County have more than 60 miles of bike paths along the Willamette River; they include the 12-mile Corvallis Bike Loop, which circles the city, winding through its many parks, along its rivers, and through Oregon State University (OSU).

“Corvallis is actively promoted for biking events,” said Parker. “It’s also home to many conferences connected to OSU, many related to foresting and ecology.”

Those forests are also a good place for group hikes. An easy, scenic 1.5-mile loop to the summit of Marys Peak has been described as making hikers feel as if they are on the set of “The Sound of Music.”

Grassy meadows, wildflowers and butterflies abound in the warmer months; year-round there are ocean views to the west, the snow-topped Cascade Mountains to the east and rock gardens in all directions.

More active attendees might enjoy a river-rafting or fly-fishing trip on the McKenzie River led by Caster’s Guide Service. Groups can learn to work together as they paddle the whitewater under the tutelage of an experienced guide or take a McKenzie River Drift Boat to learn the art of fly-fishing.

Among Corvallis’ meeting venues, several stand out. Groups that choose the Vue get just that: sweeping visages of the valley below through glass-paned walls.

At the Majestic Theater, built in 1913, groups will feel the energy of the former vaudeville house. Two OSU venues, its LaSells Stewart Center or its CH2M Hill Alumni Center, accommodate larger meetings. Lunch breaks and evenings can include walks in Riverfront Park, where musicians often play in the summer months.