Spring has officially arrived in Eugene. I know some of you non-natives are probably looking at the rain and thinking “What is she talking about?” Just trust me. The first duckling of the year has been spotted in the Millrace, the swallows have returned from their winter vacation to South America, and the Eugene Saturday Market reopened earlier this month. Now, I know school is stressful as the year ends and maybe the beautiful weather is more distracting than helpful. However, it is important to take care of yourself during this time, and that includes taking a moment to relax. I know a lot of people find spending time in nature to be very relaxing. So with that in mind and spring in the air, here are five of the best places to enjoy the beauty of the great outdoors in or near Eugene:
- Alton Baker Park – Most of you have probably been in some part of this park at one time or another. It’s the one with all of the bridges and duck ponds. You probably have not seen the whole park, though, since it covers over 400 acres. This includes a disc golf course, a BMX track, and miles of trails through a variety of terrains. There’s something for everyone and it’s just across the street.
- Owen Rose Garden – If you prefer the more cultivated side of nature, the rose garden is perfect for you. Located two miles from campus downriver on the same trail system as Alton Baker, this 8 ½-acre park boasts over 400 varieties of roses, and now is the perfect season to visit.
- Hendricks Park – The first two are fairly easy walks and the last two are mildly challenging hikes. Hendricks is right in the middle. It’s only a mile and a half from campus, just past Matt Knight Arena, but it’s on top of Hendricks Hill. This 78-acre park is the oldest city park in Eugene and is landscaped with a wide variety of Oregon’s native flowers.
- Spencer Butte – The summit is the highest point in Eugene. Spencer Butte is a part of the Ridgeline Trail System, so you can choose from several starting points. The Main Trailhead is a little more than a mile from the summit, and about six miles from campus. On clear days, Spencer Butte offers a panoramic view of Eugene and the surrounding countryside.
- Mount Pisgah – Mount Pisgah is a 200-acre park with a network of trails to allow for plenty of exploration. From the parking lot to summit is about 1.5 miles using the shortest route. Pisgah is located seven miles from campus. There is a $4 per car fee for parking, but it is definitely worth it.