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?




Published by Lynn Millar

Walker, reader, writer, traveller - see About Walking

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