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Bush's Pasture Loop Hike

From Oregon Hikers Field Guide

Asahel Bush House, Bush's Pasture Park (bobcat)
Giant white fawn lily (Erythronium oregonum), Bush's Pasture Park (bobcat)
Pringle Creek, Deepwood Estate, Salem (bobcat)
Sessile trillium (Trillium albidum), Deepwood Estate, Salem (bobcat)
Boxwood garden, Deepwood Estate, Salem (bobcat)
The loops at Bush's Pasture and Deepwood House (bobcat) Courtesy: Google Maps
  • Start point: Bush's Pasture TrailheadRoad.JPG
  • End Point: Deepwood House
  • Trail Log:
  • Hike Type: Loop and spur
  • Distance: 2.2 miles
  • Elevation gain: 60 feet
  • High Point: 205 feet
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Seasons: All year
  • Family Friendly: Yes
  • Backpackable: No
  • Crowded: Yes

Contents

Description

Ninety-acre Bush’s Pasture is not far from Oregon state capitol building and, while there’s much going on in this park – including Willamette University’s stadium and baseball diamond, a soapbox derby track, a botanical garden and historic home, and several playgrounds – a stroll around the area also takes the visitor through lovely oak woodlands carpeted with blooming camas and fawn lilies in spring. In addition, the neighboring Deepwood Estate has its own formal garden and natural area next to Pringle Creek as well as a beautiful Victorian home. You may also encounter some of the local fauna: aggressive ground squirrels might beg for treats and “angry owl” signs caution about a resident barred owl that attacks walkers and joggers in a territorial rage.

Asahel Bush II was an early Salem newspaperman and banker originally from New England. He purchased the property which the park now covers in 1860. The City of Salem acquired most of the land from his heirs in the late 1940s. Upon the death of his last child, Asahel Bush III, in 1953, the Bush House itself came under city management.

From the parking area, walk up the slope to a park-like bench of Oregon white oak carpeted with camas lilies, which will be in full bloom in mid-April. Make your way to the right on a paved path to pass by the entrance to Willamette University’s McCulloch Stadium. You’ll reach a wide “road” that is actually the Salem Soap Box Derby track. Go left here, and then veer off to the right where you see a path ascending the slope. You’ll reach the Bush Barn Art Center, which holds free exhibits, and the Bush House, a Victorian mansion in Italian style completed in 1878. The house was built for Asahel Bush, the founder of the Oregon Statesman newspaper, precursor to Salem’s Statesman Journal. Walk around the house to admire the exterior. The house is a museum of 19th century furniture and décor, and guided tours (entrance fee) are conducted in the afternoons five days a week most of the year. On the west side of the house, there’s an old orchard and a rose garden. The greenhouse (conservatory) on the east side of the house is one of the oldest in the western United States.

From the Bush Barn, walk up the west side of the park on a paved trail. There’s a picnic area and playground here; The Cow and the Cat statue commemorates one of Asahel Bush’s daughters as well as the cows (and cats) that once roamed under the oaks. The trail curves left past a restroom building. Enter a garden area at the top of a slope, and go left past the Guidance of Youth statue. Here also you’ll see one of the “angry owl” warning signs. Follow the trail down the slope and make a left and then a right across an open lawn at the back of the stadium. Keep right to enter an oak/camas woodland and, past another restroom building, head left through a play area.

Join a paved trail in Douglas-fir/oak woods where giant white fawn lilies bloom in April. This trail takes you back to the Bush’s Pasture Trailhead. To continue to the Deepwood Estate, keep to the right of the parking area on a chip trail that follows Pringle Creek. Head out to Mission Street, and go right to take the somewhat lumpy sidewalk to pass over the Pringle Creek past clusters of fawn lilies. Walk through the entrance to the Deepwood Estate and Museum. The centerpiece of this five-acre public park is the Victorian house designed by William C. Knighton. The distinctive turret holds an observatory, and there is a separate carriage house. The house was built in 1894; the first, short-term, owners were Dr. Luke Port and his wife. If you’re not taking a tour of the house, walk around it to the left to view the boxwood-lined garden area with its little gazebo and ivy arbor. A trail leads from the back into a natural area shaded by oak, big-leaf maple, and Douglas-fir. Indian plum brightens the understory and fawn lilies carpet the ground in a spectacular display when in bloom. Other spring blooms here include both sessile and western trillium and Solomon plume. The narrow trail winds around to Pringle Creek and follows its east bank before cutting back to pass a gnarly old yew tree to reach the old tennis court. From there you can walk up to the house and out to Mission Street.


Fees, Regulations, etc.

  • Dogs on leash
  • Restrooms in the park but not at trailhead, information kiosk, picnic tables, playgrounds
  • Park open 5 a.m. to midnight
  • Bush House tours: March – mid-December, Wednesday to Sunday afternoons, $6 admission fee
  • Deepwood House tours: Wednesday to Saturday mornings, $5 admission fee

Maps

Trip Reports

Related Discussions / Q&A

Guidebooks that cover this hike

  • The Dog Lover's Companion to Oregon by Val Mallinson

More Links


Page Contributors

Oregon Hikers Field Guide is built as a collaborative effort by its user community. While we make every effort to fact-check, information found here should be considered anecdotal. You should cross-check against other references before planning a hike. Trail routing and conditions are subject to change. Please contact us if you notice errors on this page.

Hiking is a potentially risky activity, and the entire risk for users of this field guide is assumed by the user, and in no event shall Trailkeepers of Oregon be liable for any injury or damages suffered as a result of relying on content in this field guide. All content posted on the field guide becomes the property of Trailkeepers of Oregon, and may not be used without permission.