The name “Corvallis” refers to the city’s pastoral setting in the “Heart of the Valley.” But just as much as its physical setting, it’s the culture of Oregon State University  that defines Corvallis. Everything from the coffeehouses and used bookstores to the pizza joints and network of biking trails seems to owe its existence to the ivy-covered walls of academe. It has been this way for a long time; Cascadia, the quintessential college town in the novel A New Life by the late Oregon State University professor Bernard Malamud, was modeled on Corvallis.
Although Corvallis isn’t a huge travel destination, its beauty, tranquility, and central location in the heart of the valley recommend it as a base from which to explore the bird sanctuaries , the Coast Range, and nearby historic communities.
In town, you’ll be struck by the abundance of stately old trees, some dating back to the first pioneers, who arrived in 1847. Streets with wide bike lanes and scenic routes for cyclists that parallel the Willamette and Mary’s Rivers also contribute to the idyllic time-warp feeling. This is especially the case in summer, when many students leave town.
In springtime, the daffodil-lined approach to Corvallis on Route 99W is made even more glorious by the Coast Range and its highest mountain, 4,097-foot Mary’s Peak , to the west over the hay meadows. During much of the winter, rain and fog obscure the summit from view.