Walking Eugene and the Willamette

The Willamette River curves through Eugene, Oregon and provides riverside parks and trails. Perfect for a flatwalker.

Sunset on the Willamette River

Near our hotel of Franklin Blvd. and the main campus of the University of Oregon is this innocent looking road – some of it blocked to car traffic – called Riverfront Parkway. Trail to the right andPath on Millrace Eugene Oregon


Millrace path to Downtown Eugene

trail to the left. A short trail (.35 mi) along the millrace that keeps you off the streets. Keep your eye out for these kinds of trail hints here or in any city. Also keep an eye out because these are biking trails too.



Foot (and bike) traffic can continue on the parkway and a marker indicates a choice of the South Bank trail

South Bank Marker Eugene

that goes along the bank of the Willamette River past downtown (about a mile), Skinner Butte Park (1.25+ mi.), Maurie Jacobs Park (2.5 mi.) and beyond.

This map and the links below indicate the widespread trails along the river. Ruth Bascom was the mayor of Eugene in the 1990s and apparently instrumental in the development of the ‘path system.’Bascom Riverbank Path System

A bridge across the Willamette River is always my goal on an Eugene visit. The Autzen Bridge (your path to the football stadium, if necessary) is a great place to stop and watch the river. Almost as good as ocean-watching.

Willamette River Eugene

The river is wide like the Sacramento at Redding, CA, but it is shallow. I saw people walking and fishing mid-river with the water at thigh level. Some people run the rapids such as they are in kayaks and inner tubes or rafts. Watch out for the rocks.

Willamette kayakers

Across the bridge is access to more trails and the Alton Baker Park, a 400-acre city park. We went to the park via vehicle – we couldn’t drive very far into the park – but that’s a good thing. It means many trails are car-free for walkers, joggers, runners and bicyclists. It’s not a pristine lawn park but has a big “dogs run free” park, boat launch, picnic, native plant garden and nursery and the Pre Trail (as in Steve Prefontaine famous Oregon runner.)

On Alton Baker side of the river the trails go east to Springfield and to northern Eugene. It’s about 6 miles from Springfield to the Delta Ponds in Eugene.

Meanwhile back on the other side of the river, we stopped at Skinner Butte Park, a more landscaped park. Still there’s the South Bank Trail, picnic facilities, a senior center and river access.

Skinner Butte Park Eugene

Calm Willamette Eugene

These descriptions hardly touch all the trails in Eugene – as I waited for Mike at Target, I could see people on the other side of the Amazon channel moving by walking or cycling.

Now for more help finding your way around by

Walking City site that includes trail map and walking opportunities. Eugene is a city of walkers.

Running The Eugene Running Company.

Bicycling Also a city site with links to Eugene and Springfield trail maps in English and Spanish.

(click bold underlined words)

Okay, so we have to go again. I could do a whole blog on Eugene walking.

See you on the trail!

Words by Lynn Millar, pictures by Lynn and Mike Millar

Last year’s smattering. Walking along the Willamette

UO Eugene "O"

Random “O” on campus?



Walking Cottage Grove, Covered Bridges and Lakes

One of the reasons Mike wanted to go to Oregon was because he loves lakes – having spent his youthful summers in northern Wisconsin. Besides Lake Tahoe (a most magnificent lake), lakes are few in California – it’s mostly reservoirs.

Oregon has reservoirs too, but they’re full and look more real.

We started another day by going to Cottage Grove – about 20 miles from Eugene. Started that is after excellent coffee, ambiance and chit chat with the locals at Rally Coffee (everyone in Oregon was very nice to us Californians.)

Cottage Grove has a charming old town

Cottage Grove town Oregon

and an unusual covered bridge. Somehow we had missed them on previous Oregon trips. Today was devoted to bridges. This one is the Centennial Bridge built in 1987 to celebrate Cottage Grove’s 100th anniversary. It’s a walking bridge built from 2 other bridges. There used to be over 450 covered bridges in Oregon – now only 50. Through this bridge on the other side is a small park and another part of Cottage Grove.

Centennial Bridge Cottage Grove

Oh, the day before, returning from Waldo Lake we captured a few other bridges. Lowell Bridge built 1945 on a huge reservoir called Dexter Lake. Currently not in use, an earlier bridge existed in Lowell but was damaged.

Lowell Bridge 1945

And Unity Bridge (Unity, Oregon) on the Big Fall Creek built in 1936.

Unity Bridge, Oregon

And Pengra Bridge, currently closed. Delicate structures, those covered bridges. This one near Jasper, Oregon.

Pengra Bridge Jasper, Oregon

Cottage Grove Reservoir

Okay, meanwhile back to Cottage Grove. Or actually south to Cottage Grove Reservoir,  managed by the U.S. Corps of Army Engineers. We took London Weyerhauser Rd on the south side of the lake and came to Lakeside Park – with boat launch, swimming, picnic, flush toilets and cold water.

Dorena Lake Oregon

Besides the harvested hill again – it became quite apparent we were practically by ourselves and not in California. We always plan to go out early before the crowds and that sometimes doesn’t work. In Oregon, here’s a gorgeous huge spot with mountains and clear water and maybe 4 other people in the area.

We went up the other side of the 5-mile long lake on Cottage Grove Reservoir Rd.  Again lots of camping available at Wilson Creek and Pine Meadows with primitive camping in between. We stopped at Shortridge Park for lunch. This is across the lake from our first stop.

Dorena Lake Shortridge Park

A marker for Samuel Boone (yes, Daniel relative) Shortridge settled here in 1853. Not sure what it looked like then – the dam came later in the 1940s.

Dorena Lake Shortridge park

Beautiful clear water. Someone was fishing but caught no trout or bass.

Dorena Lake clear water

Dorena Lake

A slightly busier place is at Baker Bay, a Lane County Regional Park. Camping, swimming, boat launch, small raft rentals, and snacks available. Dorena Lake is also a reservoir on the Row River.

Baker Bay marina Dorena Lake

Across a bridge are a small stand of woods and large group picnic grounds.

Bridge at Baker Bay, Oregon

Also solo picnic spots and more vistas of Dorena Lake.

Baker Bay vista

Continuing around the lake, we took small detour off Shoreview Drive to see the Dorena Bridge built in 1949 across the Row River. It was bypassed in 1974, but now serves as a rest stop.

Dorena Covered Bridge

Stopping is worthwhile. Step inside a covered bridge for a new sense of peace.

Dorena Covered Bridge Oregon

We made a short side trip to the town of Dorena and then came back the other side of the lake. Always with an eye for paths I started to notice one along the road. Turns out it is part of a loop from Cottage Grove to Dorena and back again. Here’s a link to Ride Oregon website on the almost 33 mile Dorena Lake Loop. Signs indicated this is also a walking trail. Maybe a shorter section on a cooler day.

See you on the trail!

Words by Lynn Millar, pictures by Lynn and Mike Millar, available upon request

Next up? Rivers and parks in Eugene.












Walking Salt Creek Falls & Waldo Lake, Oregon

Our first full day in Eugene, Oregon was going to be hot, 95 degrees – so Mike brilliantly said we should head up hill for cooler air. A perfect solution to go to the Cascade Mountains. (We also heard when the fog settles on the valley in the winter, it’s a good idea to go up hill to find some sunshine. Okay, with me as long as it doesn’t also involve snow.)

First stop Salt Creek Falls. Salt Creek Falls

The falls drop 286 feet – the second highest falls in Oregon (Multnomah dropping about twice that).

From the parking lot a short flat walk goes to an overlook. Rhododendrons flourished in the sunnier lot, just not in bloom in August.

Salt Creek path

We stared over the falls and out over the mountains. I loved the rows of mountains in Oregon. I did have to adjust to the fact that national forests, managed by the USDA, mean they are harvested for lumber. The mountains are periodically shaved. It’s a different look than in California.

Salt Creek view

I managed to climb the uneven steps to gain a better view. Rugged steps of placed stone and ‘found’ stone lead to the falls and around to a picnic grounds.

Salt Creek steps

We had a picnic lunch, but did not have time to hike. This bridge over the creek provides end-of-summer sounds of running water – and leads to the trailhead for the hikes listed below.

Salt Creek paths

In the Willamette National Forest trails are numbered. We accomplished Overlook #3673.  Over the bridge was Diamond Creek #3598  which indicates a steep log ladder and Vivian Lake #3662 sign says trail is 1 3/4 mile but to lake is 4 3/4 mi. (?) Diamond Creek Wilderness beyond – Yikes, what am I thinking? USDA website also indicates the challenges of mosquitos in the earlier part of the year. Lucky us for choosing August.

Basic info: 23 mi SE from Oakridge on Hwy 58; $5 to park; flush toilet – but no other water.

Next stop Waldo Lake

At over 5400′ and 70 miles from Eugene, this is one cool and nearby place.

Waldo Lake shoreline

Per USDA website: Lying high on the western slopes of the Oregon Cascades, Waldo Lake is one of the largest natural lakes in Oregon (9.8 square miles with a maximum depth of 427 feet). Waldo is one of the purest lakes in the world. It has no permanent inlet to bring nutrients into the lake for plant growth. The lack of plant life contributes to its purity. You can see to depths of 120 feet on a calm day.

Waldo Lake vista

Plenty of camping here. Boating for non-motorized craft – that’s what helps keep the lake water clean. We went around to the north end and found a gorgeous little beach. It’s protected from the wind by an island. Mike went swimming. I went wading. Cole swam a quick u-turn.

Play at Waldo Lake

A short (1 mile) shoreline trail links the various beaches, campgrounds and boat launch areas.

Waldo Lake shoreline trail

Charming vistas abound – in isolated peeks

Waldo Lake dock

Or snowy mountain tops.

Waldo Lake with mountains

Basics on Waldo Lake: Hwy 58 to road 5897; $5/vehicle, check website for additional camping info, pit toilet, no water. North end in August is apparently the best place to avoid mosquitoes. East side of lake was closed due to a recent fire. Roads may also be closed due to fires.

Next up? Cottage Grove and covered bridges.

See you on the trail!

Words by Lynn Millar, pictures by Lynn & Mike Millar

Waldo Lake tree


Weekend Fun: A Month of Activities

Oh yeah, happy holiday weekend. Thanks to all of you who have actually worked (if they let you) for a living. Thanks to all those in the past who fought for a 40 hour work week – and don’t you wish we’d kept fighting for a 30 hour week so more of us would have a job?

Being out of town, I haven’t quite kept up with things – however in September:

  • I’m leading Saturday, 10am walks at Ragle Ranch in Sebastopol, Sept 13th (meet at Peace Garden) and at Crane Creek on Sept 20th.
  • LandPaths always manic with activities galore – here’s a link to September activities. (Once on their calendar, click on September if necessary.
  • And if you can’t find something in the Bohemian’s Fall Arts Guide – I just don’t know what to do for you.
Ragle Ranch Boardwalk

Ragle Ranch wetland

If you have something you want me to add to Friday’s activity announcements – please leave a comment and a link. – Thanks, Lynn

Thursday’s Song: Walk Right Back

This week another reader suggested song, Walk Right Back, sung by the Everly Brothers.

First version is a poor video from a performance on the Tennessee Ernie Ford show. Raise your hand if you can remember that show!

And because it’s so short a tune, here’s Anne Murray’s version with some unusual post-it notes.

Btw: The song was written by Sonny Curtis who was a Buddy Holly friend.

Wednesday Walking News: Walk On Beach

Happy to see this has happened. Now I can walk a farther on my trek from Gualala Pt. Regional Park:

Sea Ranch beach reopened to public after 11 years

  • Lauren Chaitkin, right, Susan Levitt and Tanako Hagiwara walk along the newly re-opened trail, at the site where erosion forced it’s closure in 2004, in Sea Ranch on Friday, August 22, 2014. The trail allows the public access to Walk-On Beach to the south.
    (Christopher Chung/ The Press Democrat)

THE SEA RANCH — A bluff-top trail leading to one of the most popular beaches this striking and exclusive community has to offer reopened this summer after 11 years of study and negotiation, restoring public access to a quarter-mile stretch of scenic coastline that once was at risk of being closed to outsiders for good.

Click on heading for more story – an excellent article with the history of the trail.

Just one article this week (and last) – we’ve been exploring Central Oregon and I’m working on some posts about that trip. – Lynn


By Lynn Millar Posted in Coast

Walking University of Oregon Campus – Eugene

We recently spent several days in Eugene, Oregon. Visiting before gave us a taste for the place, but this time we explored a little deeper.

The best place to start is the campus of the University of Oregon. It is 295 acres with 3000 trees – and many lawns, flowers and bushes. Founded in 1876 there are buildings of history – and it’s success means plenty of new construction.

Take a tour (2 hours) or wander aimlessly. Perfect for us, as it is fairly flat.

UO campusBuildings come big (often with an O)

UO building

Or with odd details

UO buildingOr in hidden courtyards

UO Waterfall sculptureOr you could just study the flower beds.

flower beds UO

On campus is the Schnitzer Art Museum and the Museum of Natural and Cultural History. This history museum looks innocent on the outside but is large and packed with a range of information from native life to evolution to volcanoes.

Natural & Cultural History UO

The courtyard outside sports excellently labeled plants (you know, you can see and read them) – and a respite for young students enjoying a day camp at the museum. That day’s project was fossils.

Natural & Cultural History UO

You might know the University of Oregon for its sports and its design features. Each year the football team seems to have new garish/exciting uniform colors and designs. Perhaps it started with the success of Steve Prefontaine, a UO athlete and an Olympic runner who held 7 records in 2,000 to 10,000 meter events until 1975. At UO, he was coached by Bill Bowerman – founder of Nike. Hence your connection from UO to design.

UO Track Field

I had been noticing all the different kinds of Nikes people were wearing (also lots of sandals and Adidas) – red, plaid, blue purple, black with red sole, grey, black with neon green and then we saw a huge picnic and lines of young people converging on the food. All different Nikes…my mind was boggled.

Nike on UO campus

And the O abounds in bike racks

O bike rack

Or across the Willamette River and Alton Baker Park on Autzen Stadium (football)

Big O on Autzen Stadium

More on the river trails and parks next time…

Oops a few more buildings. The Knight Center (Matthew not Phil of Nike fame) for basketball and concerts.

Knight Center UO

And my favorite with an infinity pool all around. Gorgeous night or day.

Jacqua Academic

Jacqua Center UO

Jacqua at night UO

Jacqua corner moat

Besides the buildings and graphic panache, University of Oregon is environmentally conscious. I couldn’t pass up this collection of receptacles: trash, 4 kinds of recycle and a compost deposit.

compost UOSee you next time on the river paths.

Words by Lynn Millar, pictures by Lynn & Mike Millar – available upon request.

snowberry UO


Thursday’s Song: Walk on By

Another reader suggestion! Thanks!

Dionne Warwick singing Burt Bacharach’s Walk on By. An old video, back in the day before lavish MTV video’s when we only had lavish silly stage productions. Sing on Dionne.

If you are getting this via email or phone, you might need to click on post heading to get the link to You Tube.

Do you have a “Walk” song? Leave a comment and I’ll go find it.

Wednesday Walking News: Into the Past

This week’s walking news is short but exciting! Read (or Walk) On!

From Technically Philly Aug. 14, 2014 10:41 am By Juliana Reyes / staff

Discover Philly’s ‘Chinese Wall’ with this tech-enabled walking tour

They walked around Center City with their phones held high.

Instead of ignoring their surroundings, though, they were watching a video about what used to be there: Philadelphia’s “Chinese Wall,” a 10-block stone viaduct that split Center City in half for much of the 20th century.


The tech-infused walking tour was part of State & Main, an indie media conference organized by the National Alliance for Media Arts and Culture and All Community Media held in early August.

Hidden City and video collective Termite TV organized the walking tour, which sought to “track the ghost of Philly’s ‘Chinese Wall.’” You can even download the video and go on the tour yourself.

To get the video and read more, please click Philly.

Jack London: Beauty Ranch

I’m not sure “what” I’m going to find “where”
as it is filled with glimpses of the past and lushness of the present.

The “it” is Jack London State Historic Park, a place of peace and a place of energy.Jack London Pond

Technically, it comes in two main parts: Beauty Ranch and the Wolf House.

Let’s talk about the Ranch first. Jack and Charmian London escaped the city life in Oakland, came to the north end of the Sonoma Valley in 1905, and started buying property.  In 1911, they purchased a cottage and a couple of winery buildings up the hill from Glen Ellen and within a couple of years they had 1400 acres. Jack had ideas about modern ranching, though it never included motorized machinery. He had the Pig Palace built and worked with Luther Burbank. Some of his ideas succeeded and some didn’t (as in planting 100k eucalyptus seeds – the wrong variety for lumber). Continue reading