April 29th, 2019

McMinnville City Parks Tour

One way to really get to know a community is through its parks. Truly, parks tell you a lot about a town – the number, the amenities, the natural beauty. And McMinnville enjoys a bounty of parks – 18 in all, which is mighty impressive for a community of fewer than 35,000 people.This route offers a flat, scenic ramble through town, connecting a series of 10 parks along the way. It’s a perfect ride for a family, or for a casual afternoon exploring town. It stays off main roads and offers many opportunities to get off your bike for a picnic, a new activity, some playground fun, an exploration of nature and history, or even a nap in the grass.The focus is on the parks, so here’s a quick rundown of those on the route, in the order you’ll encounter them.City Park – Start at this historic city park, McMinnville’s first, established well over a hundred years ago (1906). Cozine Creek wanders through the lower grounds, and there’s a 10,000-square-foot wooden play structure. It’s also a great place to start your exploration of McMinnville, with historical placards describing the town’s founding and development.Westside Greenway – Enjoy a dedicated bike/pedestrian off-street corridor, a wide paved path with benches spaced along a 1.3-mile stretch that’s bisected by a wetland area.North Evans Mini-Park – This jewel of a neighborhood park is less than a half-acre, but it offers a great spot to spread out a picnic, with an open, grassy area and some shade trees.Chegwyn Farms Neighborhood Park – This neighborhood park takes its name seriously, with a farm-themed atmosphere. Kids (and maybe even adults) can climb through a barn, sit on a John Deere tractor, or even ride a chicken! There’s also a picnic shelter, a basketball court and more.Wortman Park – Try your hand at disc golf (all you really need to try it is one Frisbee each) in this sprawling green park. It’s a perfect spot for exploring from one base, with 2 miles of paved paths and multiple picnic patios.Joe Dancer Park – The biggest park in the city, Joe Dancer Park covers a whopping 100 acres along the Yamhill River, with a dozen ball fields and soccer fields each, for starters. It’s also home to a skate park – watching the local shredders is its own free entertainment. Thompson Park – Another small neighborhood park, this is a place you can pitch some horseshoes while the kids cavort on the play structure; it also has a nice picnic area.Harold Taylor Park – This pocket park is an ideal spot for a shady picnic lunch. Discovery Meadows Community Park – 22 acres of award-winning park design, including a “spray park” water feature and a climbing wall for kids and adults, as well as a wetlands and the chance to spot some wildlife.West Hills Community Park – Enjoy vistas of surrounding farmland and hillsides in this small park with nearly a mile of paved pathway that is often used by walkers and joggers. West McMinnville Linear Park – This final park on the route features another off-street stretch, extending more than a mile in all. So, let’s see: On one easy ride you could learn about the city’s history, take a ride on a chicken, play disc golf, watch skaters and maybe even take a turn, play horseshoes, run through a spray park, try your hands and feet on a climbing wall… and have a picnic just about anywhere along the way. That’s a family adventure!Bathrooms and water are available at several of the parks. If you want to load up on food and drinks for a picnic (or before or after the ride), walk a block from City Park into downtown along 3rd Street, where breakfast, lunch, dinner, wine, beer and distillery options abound.