Pick up a painless history lesson at Champoeg

A history lesson doesn’t always happen in a classroom.

Pick your activity — there's plenty to see and do at Champoeg.

Visit Champoeg State Park. Walk or bike the trails, maybe play a round of disc golf. Hunt for mushrooms, smell the flowers, admire the trees. It’s close to civilization — Newberg is minutes away — but the quiet, natural setting makes it feel remote.

The Willamette River borders the park.

Once you’ve soaked up all that idyllic atmosphere, visit the interpretive center (They have a gift shop. Doesn’t everyone love gift shops?) and learn a little bit about Champoeg’s history.

The first thing I learned is that Champoeg is an actual, factual ghost town. Not what I was expecting! Champoeg was abandoned and never resettled after a flood in 1861. The real claim to fame here is that this is the birthplace of what eventually became Oregon’s state government.

Remember that remote vibe I was talking about? Add wolves. Settlers got together in 1841 with one big item on their agenda: Not getting eaten by wolves.

I may be oversimplifying. But the basic truth is, a small group of people all by themselves in what truly was the middle of nowhere decided to put their heads together and plan for their safety and survival. They chose Jason Lee, a missionary, (not an actor with a fondness for Kevin Smith movies) to run these “wolf meetings” for them.

This disc golf basket sits at the intersection of American history and American picnicking. Seriously — there's something for everyone.

The park and visitor center at Champoeg are gorgeous. It’s peaceful, it’s quiet and I personally guarantee you won’t be eaten by wolves if you spend a day there. Or even a weekend camping. It is likely, however, that you will have a nice walk, run or ride, feel refreshed, and a learn a little bit about Oregon history.

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About Liz

I'm the editor of Discover Yamhill Valley. I moved here from Virginia, and I'm falling in love with with Oregon. My weekdays are spent writing and editing. This blog is all about my weekends, which I spend adventuring and exploring, either from the back of a bicycle or with a glass of wine in my hand. Or a mug of beer balanced on my head. You never know.
This entry was posted in Let's go outside and play!, Living here, Spend the day here. Bookmark the permalink.

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