Big sister to Minto County Park, just 1 mile up the road.
Location: Packsaddle is located approximately 1 mile east of Minto Park which is about 36 miles east of Salem along Hwy 22 in Gates OR. Once you reach Gates, be on the look out for a brown sign saying Packsaddle 1/3 mile. You’ll then see a large brown sign with Packsaddle. Take the very sharp right turn down into the park. You’ll follow a short but curvy road down into a small parking area with a few parking spaces. You’ll also see a boat launch area, although there is not nearly enough water to launch a boat.
Kid Friendly: Just like it’s smaller sister, Minto Park, Packsaddle is a great hike for older kids. There is alot of overgrowth and large logs to climb over. One we found was approx. 5 feet in diameter.
Stroller Accessible: Not at all, sorry!!
Description: Packsaddle has 3 or 4 trails leading off the main road. There is a small trail about 20 feet to the left of the bathrooms. This is a short trail but has an amazingly beautiful ending that makes you feel like you are in a beautiful rainforest!!
There is another trail starting right at the restrooms. This one weaves in and out of the forest and to the river and back again. This was a little tricky to navigate due to the overgrowth, however, it was beautiful. This one we couldn’t quite make it as far as we liked because little legs couldn’t climb over the large logs in the way.
Opposite the restrooms there is a small parking and picnic spot which has another overgrown small trail leading to the river.
The kids favorite part, though, was playing in the river at the bottom of the boat launch. It was quite shallow for a good 100 yards out into the river, so all the kids, young and old, could enjoy this area without too much worry. Again, this is another place great for swimsuits, picnics and water shoes. Such a peaceful, beautiful area.
This is a day use only park, or I would have camped here. The sound of the river and the warmth of the sun was enough to put me to sleep.
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