The Mary's Peak hike can be anywhere from 2-9 miles depending on how far up the mountain your drive, but for a snow shoeing trip in 19 degree weather- we thought 4 miles uphill would be plenty!
To get to Mary's Peak Rec Center from the I5, travel west on highway 34 through Corvallis and Philomath. Just west of Philomath, turn left onto the 34/20 junction towards Waldport. Travel 9 miles to the Alsea Summit and turn right onto Mary's Peak Road. You must then drive another 9 miles winding up the mountain to reach the Summit Parking Area. You can either park in this lot or drive past the gates to continue up the mountain to numerous turn offs, depending how far you want to hike.
At the bottom of this post is a location of where we parked our car, just a warning though about this hike during this time of year, we had to drive about 11 miles up in the snow! So make sure you have 4 wheel drive or snow tires for sure.
The start of the hike is already enough of a view to think you've seen it all and head back down the mountain. We got there around 1 o'clock in the afternoon and I wouldn't advise getting there any later than that because of the early sunsets. There are plenty of areas to start your own trail up Mary's Peak, especially when 2 feet of snow have covered all the previous trails!
We started by hiking up to the lumber yard that's on the way to the peak, during the summer it's a weird area to be in but it was gorgeous in the snow! After tracking through the lumber yard, we had to pass over a somewhat frozen creek... and yes, it was just as sketchy as it sounds. Once we crossed over the creek, it was a straight shot through the trees to the peak- about two miles directly uphill was exhausting with the weighted snow shoes on, but it was definitely worth the climb for a view like this.
Google Map Link to Parking: