Eugene, Oregon Parks
City of Eugene, Parks and Open Space Division
Take one look at the city of Eugene, Oregon, and you will immediately see that it’s been blessed by Mother Nature. The home of the University of Oregon has a population of more than 156,000, second only to Portland in the state.
But Eugene, with more than 3,500 acres of parks and open spaces, provides myriad ways to gain respite from the concrete jungle of city life. Whether you want to hike, play with children, catch a game of disc golf or take a beautiful run, Eugene’s parks have something for everyone.
It’s the City of Eugene’s Parks and Open Space Division’s hard work and dedication that ensure the protection, maintenance and beautification of these parks, open spaces, trails and natural resources. Some of the division’s duties and responsibilities include:
- Inspecting and maintaining the City’s more than 40 children’s playgrounds in accordance with the National Playground Safety Institute’s specifications
- Administering Eugene’s rental programs for more than twenty public park, including the adherence to safety and accessibility requirements for its picnic areas, restrooms and other facilities
- Hiring and directing the City’s staff arborists, horticulturists and landscape maintenance workers in the upkeep of its park’s many public gardens, perennial areas and shrub beds
- Providing turf care and irrigation for Eugene’s nearly 40 athletic fields
- Managing the City’s urban forestry program, including its thousands of trees lining the lush, beautiful city streets
- Maintaining Eugene’s Owen Rose Garden and its famous Hendricks Park Rhododendron Garden
The City of Eugene has a park to meet everyone’s wants and needs. Each one of them, however, has its own attributes and special features. Here are some of the city’s best parks, along with their specific attributes and amenities:
Alton Baker Park: Open since 1959, Alton Baker Park is Eugene’s largest developed park. It is split into two major areas: West Alton Baker Park and the Wilamut Natural Area of Alton Baker Park.
- West Alton Baker Park, named in 1967 after the co-founder of the Eugene Register Guard, Alton F. Baker, offers about 400 acres of parkland nestled along the north bank of the Willamette River immediately west of the Ferry Street Bridge; Alton Baker is also adjacent to the University of Oregon’s athletic campus which lies immediately north. Some of the park’s key features include The Science Factory Children's Museum and Planetarium, Cuthbert Amphitheater, BMX track, off-leash dog park, boat launch and picnic shelters.
- The Wilamut Natural Area on the eastern side of Alton Baker Park is an undeveloped 237-acre natural habitat containing a number of native flora and fauna.
Skinner Butte Park: Skinner Butte Park is a 100-acre park located north of Eugene’s lovely downtown area on the banks of the mighty Willamette River. As one of the city’s oldest parks, it is a spectacularly groomed, lush and green landscape, with walking, biking and jogging trails that wind their way through the park’s magnificent old growth trees.
Some of the park’s other notable features:
- The Columns climbing area
- New community garden
- Large stretches of open space
- Historical community farm
- Discovering the area’s vintage covered bridges
- Tremendous birdwatching opportunities including a bald eagle’s nest
Amazon Park: Located deep in the heart of Eugene’s south side, Amazon Park has earned a reputation as a lively and dynamic park. Encompassing about 90 beautiful acres, the park is home to Amazon Creek, Ash woodland area, a number of open prairieland areas and an endangered species preserve.
Some of Amazon Park’s recreational usage facilities include:
- Dog park
- Sand volleyball courts
- Basketball courts
- Swimming pool
- Two community centers
- Several lighted softball fields
- The adidas Amazon running trail (one mile around with a 1500 meter cut-off and 1km inner loop; one segment is lighted for winter running)
Spencer Butte Park
Spencer Butte dominates view looking south in Eugene. The 2,055-foot butte’s base is 1,300 feet above sea level, so hikers can enjoy the 700-foot hike to the top for a terrific view of the Coast range, the city of Eugene, and the Cascade Mountains. The approaches to Spencer Butte’s peak vary in steepness and length: the main trail is a 700-foot climb over 1.08 miles. The west route covers the 700 feet in only 0.6 miles. Hikers should beware of the abundant poison oak on the butte. And, during the hot months, hikers should keep in mind the Calapuya name for Spencer Butte, Champ-a te, which means “rattlesnake mountain.” Poison oak and snakes aside the marvelous views from the top of Spencer Butte are plenty of reward for making the hike up Eugene’s iconic mountain.
River Road Park & Recreation District
River Road Park and Recreation District in northwest Eugene provides the community with numerous recreational services for children, adults and seniors. Some of the programs offered are in the areas of:
- Fitness – yoga, athletics, martial arts and a multi-usage fitness center
- Youth programs – classes, after-school programs and summer camps
- Adult programs – adventure trips, classes and hikes
- Senior programs – get-togethers, classes, and various trips and other services
As you might expect from a city with an embarrassment of natural wonders and breathtaking scenery, Eugene and the surrounding area has more than 50 miles of recreational running and hiking trails. Below are some of the area’s most popular trails, for which you can find detailed maps on the City of Eugene’s website:
- Amazon adidas/Rexius Trail
- Ruth Bascom Riverbank Path System
- Alton Baker Park
- Pre's Trail
- Ribbon Trail
- Ridgeline Trail
- Blanton Road Trail
- Fox Hollow Trail
- Spencer Butte Trail
- Spring Boulevard Trail