Why it’s great Nineteen miles south of McMinnville, Baskett Slough National Wildlife Refuge is a scenery-packed leg-stretcher to reinvigorate you during early autumn wine-country excursions. A series of hiking trails threads nearly 2,500 acres of diverse habitat, set aside in the mid-’60s to shelter declining flocks of dusky Canada Geese. The trails access seasonal marshes and lakes, wavy prairies of oak, and lush forests packed with sword ferns. More than 200 species of birds and mammals make their homes here, including American kestrels, western spotted towhees, acorn woodpeckers, and blacktail deer. If time is short, opt for the -mile climb to the summit of 414-foot Baskett Butte for sweeping vistas of vineyards, blue walls of coastal mountains, and red tail hawks swirling in the sky.
Don’t forget September is the last month hikers have access to Morgan Lake Trail (3.2 miles) and the Inter-Tie Trail (.40 miles), before seasonal closures go into effect from October 1 to March 31 to protect wintering waterfowl. Also: poison oak is abundant—stick to the trails.
Post-hike watering hole
Red Hills Market Red Hills Market has become the convivial social heart of Dundee. The seasonally inspired kitchen turns out wood-fired pizzas loaded with goodies like spicy pork and basil, while a bocce court beckons out back. For sips, choose from more than a hundred bottles of local and imported wine and craft brews, or peruse “Rex’s whiskey tasting list.” 155 SW Seventh St, Dundee; 971-832-8414; redhillsmarket.com
Trailhead directions From Portland, follow Highway 99 south to McMinnville. Continue south on 99 toward Corvallis. Drive 17 miles and turn right on Coville Road (across from Firesteed Vineyards). Continue for 1.5 miles. Trailhead on the right. No fees or permits required.