Lowell / Pleasant Hill
Lowell, Oregon offers a serene natural setting and many fun outdoor things to do. Nestled in the foothills of the Cascades along Highway 58, the Lowell / Dexter area is only 30 minutes southeast from Eugene - Springfield, through Pleasant Hill, and on the way to Oakridge/Westfir.
Lowell is known for its three big and beautiful lakes, numerous hiking and mountain biking trails, five picturesque covered bridges, wildflowers and wild blackberries!
Lowell / Pleasant Hill Lodging & Campgrounds
Plan on camping in Lowell at one of many campgrounds or RV parks. Pitch your tent under a canopy of old-growth trees and pack a picnic for a lakefront soiree. Enjoy the escape into solitude and the starry skies at night.
Lowell / Pleasant Hill Food & Drink
Make time to enjoy a meal along Highway 58. Whether you are heading to Crater Lake or returning from an exhilarating day on the ski slopes or mountain bike trails, re-fuel at an excellent roadside restaurant. In Pleasant Hill, Plank Town's Hilltop Bar & Grill serves up great craft beer along with delicious pub fare. In Lowell, the Rattlesnake BBQ occupies The Dexter Lake Club of Animal House fame.
- Hoist your sails or row your boat on Dexter Reservoir.
- Reel in fish during a perfectly lazy afternoon on Lookout Point Reservoir.
- Jet ski across Fall Creek Reservoir, kicking up spray.
- Marvel at the beauty of the Lowell Covered Bridge reflected in the glassy waters and learn it's history.
- Splash along the shoreline at Lowell State Recreation Area & Marina
- Watch the annual Oregon Association of Rowers' Covered Bridge Regatta held every April.
- Eat the best barbeque in the region at the Dexter Lake Club where an Animal House scene was filmed.
- Ride horses beside the river at Elijah Bristow State Park
Events & Festivals
The rural community of Lowell turns out in summer to celebrate blackberry season with the Blackberry Jam Festival during the last weekend of July.
Experience the excitement of the Covered Bridge Regatta in the spring on Dexter Lake. The event features Junior, Collegiate, Open and Masters rowing crews from the Pacific Northwest region racing sprints side by side.
About Lowell / Pleasant Hill, OR
First inhabited by the Kalapooya and Mollala people, Lowell was a lush river gorge. Pioneer Amos Hyland settled here in 1874 and the first post office opened in 1880. Amos operated a ferry service across the Middle Fork of the Willamette River until the Lowell Covered Bridge was built in 1907. The bridge was rebuilt in 1953 after severe truck damage. Because of the many tributaries and creeks in the vicinity, covered bridges were built to connect communities. There are still four preserved historic bridges around Lowell. Lowell was incorporated in 1954.
Damming the Rivers
In 1948, the railroad was moved to the south side of the river and the communities of Eula, Landax, Lawler, Signal, Reserve and Carter were dismantled to make way for the Lookout Point Reservoir.
In preparation for the Dexter Reservoir damming, the Lowell Covered Bridge was raised six feet to accommodate the predicted higher water levels.
In 1954, the United states Army Corps of Engineers finished building Dexter and Lookout Point dams, changing the contours of the river valley. In 1966, Fall Creek Reservoir was constructed.
With a permanent regatta course, Dexter Reservoir is one of the best lakes in the region for rowing competitions, drawing teams from across the west coast. The Oregon Association of Rowers, South Eugene High School Crew and the University of Oregon share docks and boathouses on the shores of Lowell State Park. The annual Covered Bridge Regatta is held here each spring. Drag boat races and dragon boat regattas also grace these ideal waters.
Dexter Lake Club
Recognizable from the movie "Animal House," the Dexter Lake Club was where Otis Day and the Knights sang "Shama Lama Ding Dong." The 2,464-square-foot diner was built in 1949, passing through several owners since the 1978 film. However, with live music and BBQ, the neon-lit diner still attracts movie fans.
PLEASANT HILL - NORTH OF LOWELL
Settled by Elijah Bristow in 1846, Pleasant Hill is a primarily rural community along Highway 58 between Eugene and Lowell. Ken Kesey, author of "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest" lived here during his adult years (he was raised in Springfield). In 1964, Pleasant Hill High School was outfitted with an experimental rubber-asphalt track attracting University of Oregon runners under Bill Bowerman to train here. Today, Pleasant Hill is a great road trip stop for groceries, camping supplies and discs for disc golf.
Lowell - 1,211
Source: 2021 Population Research Center, Portland State University
- 107 E 3rd, Lowell OR 97452
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