About 12 miles west of Eugene, but given all that we’ve driven, it didn’t seem that far – to Fern Ridge Lake. A reservoir, managed by the US Corps of Engineers (link to basic info) with three county parks for a variety of fun times and some privately run boating marinas. Twenty-three miles long, there’s plenty of water to look at, play in or play on. It’s so big there’s also a wildlife area for the birds to relax.
We headed west out 11th Avenue from Eugene and stopped first at Perkins Peninsula Park, a Lane County Park open May-September. It’s kind of run down looking, but the sky and smooth water were so amazing in the early morning, I didn’t much mind.
Trees protect the area from the road. The trail on the west side was closed – it looked intriguing.
A swimming area has a view of the hills to the west.
At the tip of the peninsula are apples trees. Left over from an orchard of the past?
View to the east and north. I’m loving these mountains.
Water’s edge is sort of asphalt paved, some of it falling apart. Watch your step.
The park website says $3 parking. I’m thinking $4. Bring change. Plenty of picnic tables. Toilets flush, with water.
Driving around the lake, clockwise, the next park was Richardson Park – after passing a private yacht club. This is a place you could have huge family, or college reunion picnics.
Or one by yourself with vast views to the south.
A long pathway from the group pavilion goes along the water – here the waters edge is concrete. The park also has camping, a marina and boat ramp, unsupervised swimming and playground.
Back on our trek around the reservoir we cross the dam and come to Orchard Point. Here is a marina with launching, docking and rentals.
Some swimming areas seemed overgrown.
Some were wide open – unsupervised either way.
Vast areas for picnicking. I liked this ring of tables paired with sycamore trees.
Park also has some play areas and a concession stand, if you forget your lunch. Just to remind you that this is Oregon and even though it’s a warm summer day, there have been plenty of rainy days – take a look at this fuzzy bench.
We made one more stop along Fern Ridge Lake at Royal Lane. Not having time to walk to the lake, here are some trailhead pictures and some links. It’s over 1.5 mile to the lake.
Just my kind of place – next time, then. (Website did not detail when hunting season was – it would be with my license. Hmmm, I don’t think so.)
Okay, mountains to the east, lakes, rivers and parks everywhere. Now to the coast, home and planning for the next visit to Eugene.
See you on the trail!
Words by Lynn Millar, pictures by Lynn & Mike Millar, available upon request.