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E.E. Wilson Loop Hike

From Oregon Hikers Field Guide

Wetland and Coffin Butte, Lake Trail, E.E. Wilson Wildlife Area (bobcat)
Camp Adair history, E.E. Wilson Wildlife Area (bobcat)
Silver pheasant, E.E. Wilson Wildlife Area (bobcat)
The Wells oak, Lake Trail, E.E. Wilson Wildlife Area (bobcat)
The loop to Angler's Pond in the E.E. Wilson State Wildlife Area (not a GPS track) (bobcat) Courtesy: Google Maps
  • Start point: Camp Adair TrailheadRoad.JPG
  • End Point: Angler's Pond
  • Trail Log:
  • Hike Type: Loop
  • Distance: 1.2 miles
  • Elevation gain: 20 feet
  • High Point: 225 feet
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Seasons: All year
  • Family Friendly: Yes
  • Backpackable: No
  • Crowded: No



During World War II, Oregon’s second-largest population center was set up at Camp Adair in northern Benton County to accommodate the training of four infantry divisions, about 40,000 military personnel at any one time, for the conflict. Residents of the small farming community of Wells were moved, and a grid of paved roads, easily visible on Google Earth, was constructed. About 1,800 buildings were erected in the six months after Pearl Harbor, and their concrete foundations and the road remain. After the war, the place became a POW camp for German and Italian soldiers and then was handed over to the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife to become the E.E. Wilson State Wildlife Area. Soon thereafter, a breeding facility was set up for ring-necked pheasants. The birds, which would not survive very long in the wild on their own, are released on a daily basis in October for the fall hunt. There are also cages with various species of pheasants on display, but the main attraction for the public outside of hunting season is Angler’s Pond, a fishing venue stocked with at least six kinds of fish. The pond can be reached via the interpretive Lake Trail which loops back through a wetland.

Note that this is a very short walk, and there is a $10 ODFW day-use fee. Also, you cannot purchase your day pass here, so it has to be done beforehand at the ODFW office off Highway 99 (See the Camp Adair Trailhead directions). You may want to combine this hike with that on nearby Coffin Butte to get your money's worth on the day.

Next to the parking area is a memorial garden of monuments commemorating the four divisions that trained here during World War II. A kiosk has a log where visitors can list wildlife sightings. Also near the parking area is a series of cages containing some of the world’s most beautiful birds, including silver, golden, and Lady Amherst’s pheasants. Walk through a gate and up an old railroad grade. The site host has an RV to your left, and there are pheasant runs to your right. Just before a T-junction is a large oak tree with a sign memorializing the Community of Wells, which was displaced when Camp Adair was built here. Go right at the junction and then left 20 yards later.

Proceed up a gravel track (the Lake Trail) lined with ash, cottonwood, oak, blackberry, and wild rose. There are numbered posts for stops along the interpretive trail which are explained in the brochure, if you picked one up at the entrance kiosk. Here and there you might spot the mossy concrete foundations of Camp Adair buildings. Across fields to your left rise the twin humps of Poison Oak Hill and Coffin Butte. Pass a path leading into a field with a flagpole on your right (This is your return from the loop). Walk under powerlines and then cross a bridge over a ditch. A large wetland with a viewing platform stretches to your left. Look for swans, geese, and other waterfowl here. A dike surrounds Angler’s Pond, a popular fishing destination for locals. The pond is stocked with rainbow trout, brook trout, bluegill, sunfish, largemouth bass, and catfish.

Go right along the rim of the pond and find a trail leading down into oak woods. Walk along a boardwalk and pass a beaver dam on the channel, a tributary of Soap Creek, running to the right. Cross a footbridge over the creek, and pass more concrete foundations. Look for wood duck nesting boxes attached to the oaks. Reach a second boardwalk and then, after this, follow a grassy trail under the powerlines. Where the trail forks, go right into the field with the flagpole to close the loop and return to the trailhead.

Eddy Elbridge Wilson (1869-1961) was a Corvallis attorney who served on the Oregon Game Commission.

Fees, Regulations, etc.

  • $10 day-use parking permit (not available on site)
  • Dogs on leash
  • Port-a-potty at Angler’s Pond; restrooms near trailhead
  • Open dawn to dusk


Trip Reports

Related Discussions / Q&A

Guidebooks that cover this hike

  • Wild in the Willamette edited by Lorraine Anderson with Abby Phillips Metzger

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.

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