The Secret Emerald Mountain of Oregon


Bald Peak State Scenic Viewpoint is an underrated stop whose view and remote location is well worth the time. It is about 40 minutes south of Portland, Oregon nestled in the Chehalem Mountains.  At an elevation of 1,629 feet (497 m) above sea level, it is the highest point in the mountain range and overlooks the Willamette Valley and the distant Cascade Range. On a clear day one can see views of Mount Hood, Mount St. Helens, Mount Jefferson, Mount Adams, and Mount Rainier—all peaks in the Cascade Range of central Oregon. The lookout also gives views of the Tualatin Valley to the north of the park and the Yamhill Valley to the south (both valleys are part of the larger Willamette Valley system). See more of the park here.

The park is day use only. There are numerous picnic tables, trails, views, and toilets, but no water. The beautiful glades of a Douglas fir forest are very clean and well maintained. Due to its out-of-the-way location (between Hillsboro and Newberg) it is less busy than some larger, major parks and, on rainy days, it is pleasantly uninhabited and worth a hike around the idyllic trail system through the park area.

Overlooking the Tualatin Valley

Park history recalls that Bald Peak came to be when Yamhill and Washington counties lobbied for a state park. The land was purchased by the state parks commission from Samuel Otto on June 4, 1931. An annual Easter service organized by local churches began in the mid-1930s and, according to accounts, continues to be held today.

Missi Jarrar
Missi Jarrar is a writer, editor, and content creator based on the west coast of the United States. She holds a BFA in creative writing from Portland State University and has worked as an editor at Alembic (the biannual magazine now known as Letter & Line) and the award winning Alchemy Literary Magazine.