Grant's Getaways - Magness Tree Farm/Discovery Museum

Grant's Getaways - Magness Tree Farm/Discovery Museum


by Grant McOmie

Bio | Email | Follow: @KGWNews

Posted on April 7, 2011 at 11:55 AM

Updated Sunday, Nov 10 at 1:49 PM

Spring has returned to Oregon’s forests and you can see the splendor in showy ways.

Not just the blossoms or the fresh greenery, but brilliant sunshine on a day too nice to stay indoors.

If you follow Bill Wood’s lead, there’s a good chance you’ll learn something new too.

Bill Wood is chief guide and the man in charge at the Magness Tree Farm and he will teach you much about life in his forest.

Magness Tree Farm is an 80-acre parcel tucked into the hills just a handful of miles between Wilsonville and Sherwood, Oregon.

In 1977, Howard and Pansy Magness donated the land to be used for purposes of environmental education.


The site boasts more than two miles of trail; most of it is a fairly gentle grade and as you hike, you will often have Corral Creek by your side.

Down close to ground, you will also enjoy the first signs of spring: white-faced trilliums light up the scene and they are prime right now.

“Most of the spring flowers are beginning to show,” noted Wood. “We’ll have all kinds of color here in the next four or five weeks. But right now is trillium time and we have hundreds.”

Magness is just part of the outdoor education story because it is owned by the nearby World Forestry Center, (located in Portland’s west hills adjacent to the Oregon Zoo.)

If you travel to the WFC, step indoors and explore the Discovery Museum for hands on education that compliments the outdoor experience.

The World Forestry Center’s Discovery Museum offers more than 100 exhibits that will open your eyes and perhaps capture your imagination.

You can go aboard a whitewater raft, climb into a tree lift that soars more than 50 high for a bird’s eye view into a tree canopy or you can buckle up in a four wheel drive vehicle to tour an African rain forest.

“We really want the experiences to be enjoyed by the family; not just for kids, not just for adults,” noted spokesperson Mark Reid. “We have things for every member of the family and at every age level.”

Laurie Hale hadn’t been to the World Forestry Center since she was a kid.

On this trip, she wanted her three young children to see what the museum experience is all about.

“I was here in 6th grade and it was awesome then,” she said. “Now, it’s even better with a lot of inter-active things for the kids to do. They can pretend they’re at a log mill, ride a parachute like a smokejumper – and the best part is that they’re actually doing those things.”

Back in the forest at the Magness Tree Farm, be sure to check out the three rustic cabins that you can rent for a longer stay. Each cabin sleeps up to 12 people and offers electricity, but no heat – so if you spend the night, you want to prepare for colder nights. Reservations are required.

Bill Wood said that once folks discover the Magness landscape, they seldom want to leave:

“When they first come here, they are awe-inspired by the creek and the serenity of the surroundings. They hear the birds, see the squirrels and relax with their kids. When we see them a second time, they usually bring another family and so our circle expands. It’s really a wonderful place to be and yet you don’t have to travel far to get here.”

Be sure to check out Travel Oregon’s latest contest called “Adventurecation.” The prizes include free round trip airfare and overnight accommodations for a getaway vacation.