Tucked between Sears Road and the Coast Fork Willamette River, is Cougar Mountain Park, part of the Willamette Greenway. My experience with most of the parks and green spaces that make up the Greenway is that they are primarily low-key, “wild” places, sometimes used for fishing or swimming. Earlier this year, when I heard about Lynx Hollow Park in the Saginaw area, I was surprised to find an actual park. It has since turned out to be a great place to walk our dogs, do some fishing, and just enjoy being outside.
Since that discovery we have been checking out other Willamette Greenway areas to see if we can find other hidden gems. We found a small one at Cougar Mountain. Though on the small side, there is a maintained path — about a mile long — that loops through the woodland. There is a great bank for fishing, some cute little bridges, and a bench for enjoying a river view. Not a lot, but more than you would imagine hidden behind the park gate.
Logistics: To get to Cougar Mountain head north on I-5 out of Cottage Grove. Take the Saginaw Exit (exit 176) and head east to Sears Road. Turn left and drive north on Sears Road for about 3.5 miles (being sure to take a hard left at Meyer Road to stay on Sears Road). Cougar Mountain Park will be on your left. Park at the gate and walk into the park.