Hit the Trails

May 15, 2001

EUGENE, Ore. - Summertime's upon us and if you've been around Eugene the outdoor 'bug' is certainly in the air.

Discover some of the Eugene area's finest walking/jogging/hiking trails in this summer special ranging from leisurely walks to more rustic challenges.

    Amazon Trail

    Location: South Eugene, bordered by Amazon Parkway and Hilyard Street. Parking is available at the corner of 24th and Amazon Parkway.
    Grade: Flat
    Length: 600 meters-1 mile loop
    Footing: Soft woodchip trail, approximately 8-12 feet wide.
    Description: The other well-known trail in town, located next to Roosevelt Middle School. There's a 600-meter, 1,000-meter loop and 1-mile loop, all configured in a figure eight with a grove of trees in the middle and the Amazon River on one edge. All the local track legends workout here, sharing it with a wide mix of walkers and joggers of all ages. The loop is entirely flat, and its width can accommodate groups of runners 4-5 wide. The wood chip surface is one of the softest runs you'll find in town and is well-maintained.

    Hendricks Park

    Location: South Eugene, 5 access points on Spring Blvd (far eastern), Dillard Road, Fox Hollow Road, Willamette Street and Loraine Highway (far western)
    Grade: Moderate to Steep
    Length: Various, up to 11 miles
    Footing: Dirt singletrack, some gravel, also wide, aromatic horse trails.
    Description: This beautiful city park offers something for all ages, although it's only open to those on foot. A network of singletrack, fine-gravel trails and paved paths connect through a Rhododendron garden, camping and picnic area, with several ways to access the area. Key roads to the top of this hilly section of southeast Eugene are Riverview, Fairmont, Cresta del Ruita, Capital Avenue, Heights and Summit Avenue. All of them trace up windy roads and empty out at various points of the park (but all are within a mile of each other), with Fairmount and Cresta del Ruita the only roads to the top. Look for Pre's Rock -- a memorial to the Oregon distance-running star Steve Prefontaine who died in a nearby car crash in 1975 near the corner of Birch Street and Skyline Boulevard -- when you're near the Rhododendron Gardens. Also keep an eye out for many of the city's most unique houses in this area.
    Directions: Following Birch Street, a block south from the corner of 15th and Fairmont, driving up the steep hill for approximately a mile is the easiest way to find Hendricks Park, but you can also find it off of Fairmont Street which curls around the butte just to the west. There are several other roads that end at various points to the top. Historic Hayward Field, the premier track and field-only facility in the nation, is located 1 1/2 miles from Pre's Rock at the corner of 15th Avenue and Agate Street.

    Rexius Trail

    Location: South Eugene, bordered by East and West Amazon Parkway roads, just south of junction of 34th street. No specific parking area but parking is permitted along the street.
    Grade: Flat
    Length: 2-3 miles
    Footing: Soft, woodchip trail, approximately 6-8 feet wide.
    Description: An easy-to-find wood chip trail great for a morning jog, especially since it connects to the Amazon Trail near 30th Street. It runs along both sides of the banks of the Amazon Creek and is an easy add-on to the Amazon Trail run.

    Ridgeline Trail

    Location: South Eugene, 5 access points on Spring Blvd (far eastern), Dillard Road, Fox Hollow Road, Willamette Street and Crestview Street (far western), connecting Southridge, Spencer Butte, East Spencer Butte and Hult Parks.
    Grade: Moderate-Steep
    Length: 1,200 meters-1 mile
    Footing: Dirt singletrack
    Description: One of the outdoor treasures of the Eugene area -- nearby to town but also scenic enough that you forget about the proximity. If you choose to jog, the grade is hilly, but the lush fauna and forested setting obscures how high (and low) some of the hills really are. In the fall, the changing leaves make this one of the most visually exciting hikes around, and you can even take an off-shoot (another 1.5-2 miles long) to the top of Spencer's Butte for one of the best views from above of Eugene. The best way to get to the trail is to drive to the several access points from any of the four roads (except Spring Street which dead-ends at the trail head) that split the trail up -- each parking lot has room for 6-12 cars so there's almost always open spots. All four lie at the south edge of town near the city limits in the 60th Avenue vicinity (if there was such a road). The trail is marked at each trailhead and it's never more than 2-3 miles before you cross each of the intersecting roads, while the overall length from one edge to the other is approximately 6-7 miles.
    Directions: Take any of the above-mentioned roads (Fox Hollow, Dillard, Willamette, Crewstview) south from the southern edge of town and all are with 1-2 miles of the city limits with signs indicating the parking areas and trailheads.


    Location: South Eugene, accessible from the corner of Western Amazon Parkway and Martin Street
    Grade: Moderately uphill
    Length: Various, up to 3 miles (out-back or more if connecting to Ridgeline Trail).
    Footing: Dirt/muddy singletrack and doubletrack.
    Description: Mostly known to only the hardiest of local hikers and trail runners, this southern Eugene option offers lots steep, rocky hills and sometimes a fair share of mud. A good access point is at the southern edge of the Rexius Trail. The trail leads up a wide, gravel, off-road path then starts branching out for various short options. Take a left after about 300 meters on a segment leading over a small creek, and then another left in 200 meters, and this leads you out east towards Dillard Road with 1-1.5 miles or two-mile ascent (if you take a right fork) to the Ridgeline.
    Directions: Drive south along the western edge of the Amazon Creek until it ends at Martin Street where it curls to the left. Park here along the street next to the white gate, which blocks a gravel road/trail continuing upwards to the south (trail starts here).

    Pre's Trail

    Location: Within the city limits in northern Eugene alongside Alton-Baker Park and the Willamette River. Parking is accessible in the park near the Ferry Street Bridge, near the corner of Country Club Road and Centennial Blvd (near Autzen Stadium). The trail is also accessible by both footbridges: Autzen Footbridge -- a half block north of the corner of Franklin and Agate Streets -- and Knickerbocker Footbridge -- near Franklin and Riverview Streets
    Grade: Flat
    Length: 4-6 miles
    Footing: Combination of dirt singletrack, woodchips and asphalt
    Description: One of the most famous jogging trails in Eugene, running along the McKenzie River and featuring wood-chip paths that intersect grasslands, ponds, woods and other lush green areas in the neighborhoods of campus, Autzen Stadium, and even parts of Springfield. Bikers and roller-bladers also can share the area on several miles of flat intersecting concrete/asphalt paths.

    Skinner's Butte

    Location: Eugene, near the Ferry Street Bridge
    Grade: Moderate
    Length: 1200 meters-1 mile
    Footing: Dirt singletrack, woodchips at base of butte.
    Description: A moderate, short picturesque hike in northern Eugene. Located within view of the nearby Ferry Street Bridge on the northern edge of town, there's a 1-1 1/2 mile road on the south edge of the butte, situated next to the downtown, that also arrives at the summit. On the northern edge of the butte, however, a mile-long switchback dirt/wood chip trail leads to the top on the side facing the river. Nearby along the river's edge, joggers/bikers/roller-bladers can also trace the concrete footpaths for several miles away from town. The opposite direction, these same concrete paths trace the Willamette River into Alton-Baker Park near the Pre Trails. Parking is located along Skinner Butte loop which turns into High Street towards downtown.

    Westmoreland Park

    Location: Jefferson High School, near 21st Avenue and Polk Street in west Eugene
    Grade: Flat loop
    Length: Approximately 1-1.5 miles of trails/grass
    Footing: Wood-chip trail
    Description: This area path hosts many high schools cross country races in the fall and is often less-busy than some of the other more well-known trails.
    Directions: Drive west on 18th street to Polk Street, then turn south for three blocks to 21st Avenue and park anywhere nearby on the street.

For more challenging adventures, see a local outfitter store for maps and information on popular hikes such as Mount Pisgah (5 miles south of Eugene), Goodman Creek (20 miles south of Eugene), McKenzie Trail (about 50 miles east of Eugene) and other adventures ranging from coastal settings to mountainous excursions in the nearby Cascade Mountain range.

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