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Favorite Flat Paths

Published: April 20, 2020

 

These mixed-use, flat and well maintained paths are great for wheelchairs, smooth inline skating, cycling, jogging strollers or gentle walking. Some are paved (and great for everything) and a few are bark chip or compacted earth (thus best for walking or large-tire joggers and chairs), but all offer gentle terrain. Take an afternoon stroll or roll in your neighborhood.

Please note: During the Stay Home order, playground equipment, restrooms, park benches and other amenities are closed. Please practice social distancing by staying at least six feet from others and if a park is busy, choose a different place to walk. Restaurants mentioned below may be offering take out or be temporarily closed.

Ruth Bascom Riverbank Path System & Middle Fork Path

Eugene & Springfield
Owen Rose Garden by Timm O'Cobhthaigh
Owen Rose Garden in Skinner Butte Park by Timm O'Cobhthaigh

 

The wide, paved, flat paths are made for wheels or walking. Parade your kids with wheels – doll buggies, tricycles, pull-toys or big kid bikes –  and stop to enjoy the park playgrounds along the way. The Ruth Bascom Riverbank Path System encircles the Willamette River where it flows through downtown Eugene. Multiple path segments created with pedestrian bridges over the water make it possible to enjoy shorter chunks of the 12 mile network. Try the North Bank segment adjacent Alton Baker Park, where you can enjoy lunch on the patio at McMenamins North Bank restaurant. Or meander on the South Bank path where the children will enjoy both Skinner Butte Park with its extensive playground. In the beautiful wheelchair-accessible Owen Rose Garden, enjoy hundreds of fragrant and colorful roses. Keep watch for the assertive geese which may visit passing pedestrians, and please don't feed them.

Similar to Eugene's riverbank path system, the Middle Fork Path is an extension of the network, but this time in Springfield. Four miles of paved, flat riverside paths go from Dorris Ranch to Clearwater Park, both with plenty of parking and restroom facilities. The full walk may be too long for younger children but you can pick either end for some great park play and an abbreviated venture along the path. Older children with bicycles may really enjoy this stretch. And anybody that appreciates the tranquility of walking alongside a river will find that this stretch satisfying. An added perk is Main Street's nearby restaurants and attractions — afterwards enjoy a refreshing craft beer at Plank Town Brewing Company or a cup of coffee at The Washburne Cafe.

Delta Ponds

Eugene
Great Blue Heron by Jim Mullholand
Great Blue Heron by Jim Mullholand

 

Just under two miles of flat paths edge the 150-acre wetland reserve at Delta Ponds. The wildlife is plentiful here with dragonflies, fish, turtles, nutria, otters, beavers, herons, ducks, geese and more – in fact, this is a popular destination for serious bird watchers. It's not hard to spot something of interest around the ponds, whether it is as small as a ladybug or as big as a beaver. Delightful year-round, the ponds are particularly popular in the spring when new life is bursting forth and ducklings are cruising the water.

The path is a simple out-and-back and links up with the Ruth Bascom Riverbank Path System just passed Valley River Center. The trails are wheelchair and jogging stroller accessible, and you may find yourself sharing them with leashed dogs and cyclists. There is parking at the trailhead on Goodpasture Island Rd.

The Amazon Trail (Adidas / Rexius Trails)

Eugene
Runner on Adidas Amazon Trail by Melanie Griffin
Runner on Adidas Trail by Melanie Griffin

 

The Adidas Trail (part of the Amazon Trail) is a recently refurbished chip trail that loops on one side of Amazon Creek, while a paved path system meanders the other side between the Amazon and Hilyard community centers. Set within lush meadows and woodland, these trails are popular for running or strolling. Vicinity amenities include a skate park, children's playground, seasonal public swimming pool, a dog park and public restrooms. In the summer there is a farmers' market one day a week and free Shakespeare performances held outside on the weekends. The trails link up with the Rexius chip trail to the south which encircles Amazon Creek, crisscrossed with many footbridges and culminating in a small park. Because of the many loops, bridges and continuing paths, the chip trails are easily customized to fit your endurance. The portion of paved path is out and back along the creek's east bank by the community centers, and if you walk further south there is a paved bike path paralleling the east portion of the Rexius jogging trail. If walking with a cup of coffee in hand is a perk, stop by the new Provisions South or Hideaway Cafe at the northeast end of the Rexius Trail. 

Tugman Park

Eugene
Tugman Park by Taj Morgan
Tugman Park by Taj Morgan

 

In Southeast Eugene near the Rexius Chip Trail, this community park showcases large playing fields, a children's playground and picnic pavilions. Edging the park are paved paths which make a nice loop. Follow the west leading trail back through the park and over a footbridge for additional steps on the gentle uphill paved path that courses through the meadow. This is a great spot to see deer and watch for wildlife.

Fern Ridge Path

Eugene
Fern Ridge Bike Path by Melanie Griffin
Fern Ridge Bike Path by Melanie Griffin

 

This six-mile paved path runs from West Eugene to the Danebo area and is popular with cyclists. The Fern Ridge Path skirts the Amazon Creek and wetland areas so it is excellent for birding and wildlife watching. Start near Westmoreland Park and follow the path alongside and behind West 11th businesses and residences until the path emerges across miles of flat meadow. Despite it's name, this path does not connect with Fern Ridge Reservoir and actually culminates at Meadowlark Prairie Park — a wildlife area with interpretive signage and overlooks. With parking lots at either end, arrange for a return ride, or plan a longer out and back hike.

Row River Trail

Cottage Grove
Shady Row River Trail by Taj Morgan
Row River Trail by Taj Morgan

 

A paved bike path that encircles Dorena Lake provides long, flat paths through cool woods and lush meadows. The Row River Trail is approximately 14 miles long and is lovely for strolling. Wayside parks provide resting spots or a place for return ride arrangements. Along the way, enjoy historic covered bridges, wildflowers and wildlife. 

Accessible Path by Michael Kevin Daly
Discover the most accessible parks and paths for outdoor recreation. … More Info
Author: Taj Barnhart Morgan

Taj Barnhart Morgan is the Director of Content Strategy for Travel Lane County. A journalism graduate from the University of Oregon, Taj has two decades of special event management and hospitality marketing experience in San Diego, CA and Maui, HI. Passionate about mothering, and back to her Oregon roots, she is discovering the Eugene, Cascades & Coast region all over again through the eyes of her daughter.