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Miller Woods Loop Hike

From Oregon Hikers Field Guide

Frieda's Pond, Miller Woods (bobcat)
Turkeytails and carbon antlers, Miller Woods (bobcat)
Gate at Miller Woods (bobcat)
Big Douglas-fir, Miller Woods (bobcat)
The Outer Loop at Miller Woods shown in yellow (not a GPS track) (bobcat) Courtesy: Google Maps
  • Start point: Miller Woods TrailheadRoad.JPG
  • End Point: K.T. Summit
  • Trail Log:
  • Hike Type: Loop
  • Distance: 4.7 miles
  • Elevation gain: 560 feet
  • High Point: 645 feet
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Seasons: All year
  • Family Friendly: Yes
  • Backpackable: No
  • Crowded: No
Poison-Oak

Contents

Description

The 130-acre Miller Woods Conservation Area was donated to the Yamhill Soil and Water Conservation District by Frieda Miller in 2004. About 28% of the land is composed of pasture and hay fields, with the remainder shady secondary woodland and conifer plantations with a few old-growth Douglas-firs still standing. The park is now used by the McMinnville School District as an outdoor education site. A 2015 thinning project has opened up the understory in some of the more densely wooded sections and, in time, a more natural forest canopy will develop. The loop described essentially takes you around the perimeter of the property on the Outer Loop after an initial visit to Otter Pond: You will cross the large meadow and drop down to Berry Creek before ascending to the forested K.T. Summit and then returning above the headwaters of a Berry Creek tributary. Note that dogs are not permitted, and there is a suggested $5 use fee, which you can also pay online.

Walk east out of the parking area under two large oaks with birdhouses, and come to the junction with the Outer Loop. Instead, head down across the pasture on the Education Loop to the Otter Pond. Here, you can view the cattails, and then circle around the pond to return up the hill to the junction near the trailhead. Keep up along the small creek, and switchback to a bench. The trail works through a copse of oaks and then turns down the open pasture to pass a vegetable garden on the right. You can see a line of bluebird boxes ahead of you in the grassy expanse. At a junction in the field, turn south (right) and follow the trail where it enters a Douglas-fir plantation. Pass the junction with the Oak Summit Trail, and make several switchbacks down, passing through a stand of alders. Then hike a descending traverse in a carpet of Oregon grape and wild ginger. Next, switchback down twice to pass large western red-cedars above Berry Creek. Hike above the creek, and then switchback up twice. The trail proceeds along a slope above a fenceline. Cross two boardwalks in an open area, and walk by a small pond fringed by sedges. Enter the forest again, and keep on the trail when you meet a road. Pass the north junction with the Oak Summit Trail, hike through a fence line, and reenter the field.

Descend the field to reenter the forest on a narrow boardwalk under a stand of alders. Cross a footbridge, and switchback up three times to enter a thinned Douglas-fir wood. Wind around, and keep right at a 'Parking' sign. Traverse a slope above a logging track in a 1971 plantation with a few old-growth Douglas-firs scattered about. Deer are common here, and rather unafraid of hikers. Pass under a few small redwoods, and enter another stand of thinned forest. You'll get a glimpse down the Baker Creek valley to the plains around the North Yamhill River. Cross the logging road, and come to the bench at the K.T. Summit (K.T. Miller was Frieda Miller's husband.).

From this viewless high point, drop down the steep slope above Berry Creek, and approach a sprawling madrone. Oregon grape and then sword fern drape the hillside. Pacific yews are a feature of the slope as well although a number of them are dead. Cross and recross a logging track among plantings of many species of conifers, including redwoods. Switchback down five times, passing a massive and gnarly Douglas-fir. A few oaks are part of the canopy mix. Keep right at a trail leading to 'Parking,' and take planks and then a couple of boardwalks across a boggy area. Hike up a Douglas-fir/ sword fern slope to look down on the Millers' house and outbuildings. The trail continues to traverse, and you'll see your car down at the parking area. Several chickadee-sized nesting boxes adorn trailside trees. Switchback, and begin another long traverse above the driveway and back the way you came. The trail curves into a gully and passes a junction. Switchback down, and come to a junction before a footbridge. Make a right for 'Parking,' and hike up along Frieda's Pond and the outbuildings to reach the trailhead.


Fees, Regulations, etc.

  • $5 suggested donation
  • Open dawn to dusk
  • No dogs permitted
  • Port-a-potties, picnic tables, information kiosk

Maps

Trip Reports

Related Discussions / Q&A

Guidebooks that cover this hike

  • 100 Hikes/Travel Guide: Oregon Coast & Coast Range by William L. Sullivan
  • 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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