Track Town Offers Great Places to Run, Walk & Bike
Eugene, Oregon is called Track Town. Famous as a home for serious athletes, Eugene has many areas for race training and fun for weekend joggers and bikers.
Eugene is located in west-central Oregon, at the confluence of the McKenzie and Willamette Rivers. The city takes great pride in its running heritage and maintains running paths throughout the area.
Located in Eugene, the University of Oregon is known for its track teams and stars, including the great Steve Prefontaine. The weather is temperate and great for running with cool temperatures and soft winds almost all year.
Ruth Bascom Riverfront Trail System
Lining both sides of the Willamette River near downtown are all-purpose paths covering 12.2 miles. The asphalt paths are set up in sections with the titles east, west, north, and south bank trails. The hard, fast paths are perfect for bike riding and are wide enough for runners and walkers to use safely.
The south bank trail adjoins Alton Baker Park. The views of the rushing Willamette River contrast with the peaceful forest setting of the banks in this area. Other sections traverse along highways or light industrial areas, and near to the University of Oregon.
On the north bank, the trail runs close to Skinner Butte, a good-sized hill with trails that lead to the top, where a great view of Eugene and the surrounding hills awaits the hardy. The top of Skinner Butte can also be reached by road, which passes a climbing wall. There are restrooms and picnic areas in the nearby park.
The north bank trail connects to the east bank at Valley Center Mall. Few other trails lead right to a mall with a food court and movie theater, where athletes can stop and inject carbs in the middle of a run. Five bridges reserved for bikers and runners span the river at strategically placed spots on the trail. The trail is marked every quarter mile.
Activities by the River Trail
The river attracts much wildlife to the area and great places to stop and see the waterfowl are at the West Bank Wayside, Delta Pond, and the pond near the Ferry Street Bridge.
Other Eugene Hiking Trails
Attached to the Riverfront Park on the north bank is the entrance to Pre’s Trail, named for Steve Prefontaine, a world-class distance runner who was tragically killed in a car crash at age 24. Made of wood chips, the soft surface is perfect for the long-distance runner.
A few miles to the south on Skyline Boulevard there is a small memorial to the great runner at the crash site. For a more strenuous challenge, five miles to the south is Spencer Butte, with very steep trails up the hill.
Up the hill from the memorial is Hendricks Park, offering challenging, hilly running trails through a heavily wooded area. On the south side of town is Amazon Park, with many miles of intersecting running paths.
The City of Eugene
With a major university, great sports facilities, great dining, and beautiful scenery, Eugene is a great place to sightsee, relax or go take off in the footsteps of the great runners from this town in Oregon.