Shevlin Park is big, almost 1,000 acres, so you would be forgiven if you never made it to the southern corner to check out Fremont Meadow.
In the olden days of the late ‘90s and early 2000s, my family would often park our Bronco at that end and ride bikes along Tumalo Creek for a few hours, then loop back for a picnic. That was when you could still drive down there, that is. Now, you’ll have to hoof it yourself. But since it’s Shevlin Park, the walk or bike ride down is incredibly worth it.
The meadow isn’t very large, but it’s substantial when you’ve come through the thickets of riparian shrubberies and aspens, or the lava rock and pines and larch trees that cover the rest of the park. It’s no wonder that explorer John C. Fremont and his party bedded down near here most likely Dec. 4, 1843, while on his second expedition from the Columbia to California. An old interpretive sign discussing this history was placed here some time ago and is becoming engulfed by vegetation.
Fremont was taken by the beauty of the area, even then in its half-frozen state, according to his journal entry for that day. And to visit the spot today, it’s not hard to be also be struck by it. Between the babbling Tumalo Creek and the flora that surrounds the meadow, here is a lovely place to spend an afternoon with the fam.
Getting there: Head northwest on Shevlin Park Road. Immediately after crossing Tumalo Creek, turn left and park in an open space. From here, you can walk or bike along the paved road to the end or take the Tumalo Creek Trail along the water to reach the meadow, about 2 miles from the parking areas.