Scio: Slow it down among sheepdogs, lambs and covered bridges


Scio, the 10th-oldest town in Oregon, is located amid the beautiful hills and lush farmland southeast of Salem at the intersection of Highways 99 and 226. Scio was incorporated in 1866 and its long history is strongly reflected in the city and surrounding countryside. Many residents are descended from Oregon Trail pioneers and there is a strong Czech and Mennonite influence in the area.

In town, highlights include the ZCBJ Hall, a landmark that was built by the area Czech community and was known for musical performances, dancing, wedding and anniversary celebrations, plays and gymnastics, and the Depot Museum, which was an authentic railroad station that served the area.

A highlight of the year is the Linn County Lamb and Wool Fair, celebrated for over 75 years in Scio, which features the Northwest Champion Sheep Dog Trials and a host of other activities, including a street dance, lamb show, wool and fiber displays, the Sheepskin Revue (music stories and, sometimes, a play), a flower show and more. It’s held on the third weekend of May. Learn more about the festival here.

Aptly called the Covered Bridge Capital of the West, Scio is within a short distance of five covered bridges and the area is perfect for bicycling or leisurely automobile touring. Also nearby are the Roaring River Fish Hatchery and Roaring River County Park.

The area is also rich in farming – cattle, llamas, alpacas, mint, hazelnuts, berries, apricots, apples, grass seed, beans and more – and other bounties of the land. Enjoy handmade barns and other historic landmarks dating from 1850.