Best Hiking Trails in Eugene, Oregon: 6 Beautiful Nature Spots
Eugene has some of the most beautiful spots for hiking in Oregon. Read on as travel expert Kim Dinan looks at six of the best in a city that just loves the outdoors.
Situated in the Willamette Valley, Eugene is best known as ‘Tracktown USA’, the city where shoe behemoth Bill Bowerman used a waffle maker to produce the first pair of Nike trainers. But those that spend time in this beloved college town know that its foot-racing roots are just a small part of its appeal. Residents of Eugene have access to some of Oregon’s most beautiful wilderness, both in town and in the forests surrounding the city. Head out on one of these breathtaking hikes to get a taste of the outdoor splendour that Eugene has to offer.
1. SPENCER BUTTE
Photo credit: RebeccaPollard (Flickr Creative Commons)
Spencer Butte has been called the pride of Eugene, a 2,056-foot butte covered in Douglas Fir trees all the way up to its rocky, bare summit. From the top of Spencer Butte, hikers are rewarded with views of downtown Eugene and the Cascade Mountains. Part of the Ridgeline Trail System, there are three main trailheads to the top of Spencer Butte. The Willamette Street Trailhead is a five-mile round-trip hike, while the Fox Hollow Trailhead is a bit shorter, topping out at about a 4-mile round-trip. Located within Spencer Butte Park, the main trail to the summit is only about a two-mile round-trip. All trails are kid-friendly and dogs are welcome providing they are kept on a leash.
2. ALTON BAKER PARK
Photo credit: Jonathan (Flickr Creative Commons)
Though this park is neither remote nor wild, it is a pretty great place to experience the outdoors. Located just a stone’s throw from Eugene’s Autzen Stadium, Alton Baker Park is Eugene’s largest developed park and offers a large range of recreational features that serve the city. If you’re up for an urban hike, take a stroll on Pre’s Trail. The footpath is named after Steven Prefontaine, Eugene’s beloved Olympic runner who was killed in an automobile accident at the age of 24. Before his death, Steve dreamed of having a safe place to run in Eugene similar to the soft-surface running paths he saw during visits to Scandinavia. Just four months after Steve’s death in 1975, the four-mile course was completed. It still serves walkers and runners today.
3. BRICE CREEK TRAIL
Photo credit: Rick Obst (Flickr Creative Commons)
Located in Umpqua National Forest, the Brice Creek Trail is a moderate 5.7-mile hike (one-way) that runs parallel to Brice Creek. This trail is especially popular in the summer months because the lush, old growth forest provides the perfect amount of shade and the crystal clear water of Brice Creek is the perfect spot to take a warm-weather swim. In early spring, hit the trail to see if you can spot the delicate white leaves of the blooming trillium, always a sure sign that dryer and warmer days are ahead. Brice Creek Trail can be quite crowded on the weekends, but in midweek you just might have the place to yourself.
4. TIRE MOUNTAIN
Popular with hikers and mountain bikers alike, Tire Mountain is a great place to immerse yourself in nature. Situated outside of Oakridge, Oregon, the trail used to lead to a fire lookout. The old fire lookout has long been shuttered (there are only boards remaining) and trees and brush have overtaken the old fire lookout view, but the hike to the top of the mountain is still worth the effort. Only moderately difficult, this 7.6-mile round-trip hike takes visitors through a number of open meadows. In the spring and summertime, these sun-filled meadows are awash with wildflowers and are the best place to catch a glimpse of the surrounding mountain peaks. The first meadow has the best views — Mt. Bachelor, Diamond Peak and two of the Three Sisters are visible.
5. MT. PISGAH ARBORETUM
Photo credit: Andrechinn (Flickr Creative Commons)
Mt. Pisgah Arboretum is a 209-acre ‘living tree museum’ that connects to the 2,363-acre Howard Buford Recreation Area. The arboretum itself boasts riverside trails and quiet paths that wind through evergreen forests and offer a diverse array of landscapes including river meadow, riparian forest, fir and cedar forests, Oregon white oak savanna and low elevation grassland and prairies. Howard Buford Recreation Area has seven forest trails for visitors to enjoy, including Beistel’s West Summit Trail (1.4 miles one-way) and East Summit Trail (2.5 miles one-way) that lead to Mt. Pisgah’s summit.
6. UPPER TRESTLE CREEK FALLS LOOP HIKE
Photo credit: Pixel Packing Mama (Flickr Creative Commons)
Looking for a good hike on a cloudy day? The Upper Trestle Creek Falls Loop hike is a great choice because there aren’t any wide range views to miss out on. Located in Umpqua National Forest, Trestle Creek Falls drops 60 feet over two tiers, a beautiful and impressive waterfall. For a great family hike, take the well-maintained Trestle Creek Trail, an easy 0.75 mile walk over gentle terrain. For those looking to exert themselves a little more, choose the Upper Trestle Creek Falls Trail. This trail is a 3.25-mile loop that swings behind the waterfall, providing a unique perspective. The best time to visit Trestle Creek Falls is in the spring when the falls are at their fullest due to snowmelt.
Originally published at www.travioor.com.