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There is no American city that represents running more than Eugene, OR. Eugene, also known as Track Town USA, is home to Hayward Field.  The University of Oregon’s track has hosted several NCAA championships, Olympic Trials, and the 2022 World Track and Field Championships. It’s where two of the USA’s most prolific long-distance runners, Steve Prefontaine and Galen Rupp, ran collegiately. Pre’s influence is still evident with Pre’s Trail along the Willamette River from Alton Baker Park and next to Autzen Stadium. Eugene is also the birthplace of Nike, where Oregon track coach Bill Bowerman showed Duck runner Phil Knight his rubber-soled waffle pattern.

The city has a vibrant arts and culture scene, with several museums, galleries, and theaters. The city hosts several annual events, such as the Eugene Celebration, the Oregon Bach Festival, and the Oregon Country Fair.

Eugene is often recognized as one of the most sustainable cities in the United States. The city is strongly committed to environmentalism and has implemented several programs to promote sustainability, such as a curbside composting program and a bike share program.

Outside of the UofO campus and the Eugene/Springfield metro area are the foothills of the southern Willamette Valley, the McKenzie River, and the rest of the Willamette National Forest. Eugene is a short drive to the Cascade Mountains, including the Three Sisters and Diamond Peak Wilderness. West of Eugene is the Oregon Coast town of Florence. Because of the emphasis in Eugene on track, many residents of the Emerald City are unfamiliar with the fantastic trails in the area.

 

 

Eugene Trail Runs

The Ridgeline Trail is a popular 12-mile trail network located in South Eugene. The trails meander through the ridges and forests of the southern Willamette Valley, with the highlight being the 2.5-mile climb to Spencer Butte.

Howard Buford Park, also known as Mount Pisgah Arboretum, is a 2,300-acre park located near Lane Community College between Eugene and Springfield. The diverse climate of the park and the hilly terrain allows for all types of trail runs.

The 26-mile McKenzie River Trail, an hour’s drive east of Springfield, features a variety of terrain, including old-growth forests, lava fields, and waterfalls. Popular sections of the trail are the Tamolitch Blue Pool, Clear Lake, and Sahalie Falls, and Koosah Falls.

The Thurston Hills Natural Area is a multi-use trail network on 655 acres of land that the City of Springfield acquired in 2017. The trail system offers a variety of terrain, including wooded hillsides, rocky outcroppings, and open meadows.

The Carpenter Bypass Trail System is 18 miles of new mountain bike trails just south of Eugene near Cottage Grove.

The Hardesty Trail System and North Shore Trail of Lookout Point Reservoir are a 30-minute drive on Highway 58 by the Middle Fork of the Willamette River.

Some smaller trail systems exist, like Skinner Butte,  Hendricks Park, Dorris Ranch, and Georgia Pacific Natural Area, to connect with the many bike paths throughout Eugene and Springfield.

There are plans to make a Eugene to Pacific Crest Trail, combining several trail systems in Eugene, Willamette National Forest, and Oakridge Trails.

 

Ridgeline Trail Sign

 

Eugene Trail Races

Emerald City Trail Series is a trail series from Northwest Dirt Churners in Howard Buford Park and Mt. Pisgah. Five races of 3-8 miles take place every Thursday in June.

Level 32 specializes in trail and road races in the Lane County area. The Run Big Trail Series include:

Bristow 6, 12, 24-hour trail race is a timed event from Go Beyond Racing at Elijah Bristow Park in Dexter.

The oldest ultramarathon in Oregon is the McKenzie River Trail Run 50k on the McKenzie River Trail, starting near Blue River, OR.

The Storm The Castle Half Marathon from Elevated Trail Racing starts near Rainbow on the McKenzie Pass. The race is an out-and-back course with a lollipop loop on the King Castle Trail, plus other trails and forest roads.

 

McKenzie River Trail Run 50k

 

Eugene Trail Running Groups

Run Hub NW hosts 3 or 5 miles Wednesday runs on Pre’s Trail and Alton Baker Park from its store near 5th Street Public Market. Runners head to nearby Coldfire Brewing for food and beverages following the run. Run Hub hosts monthly Destination Trail Runs for Lane County and beyond trail runs. The Big Timber Running Club is a membership club for training and other store benefits.

 

Destination Trail Runners get ready to run at Kentucky Falls.

 

Eugene Trail Runners is an all-inclusive group designed to get people together and enjoy the art of trail running. Share trail conditions and organize a run or a trail work party, as long as it deals with running with people out in the woods.

My Running Peers is a Facebook page for a resource and community for runners in the Eugene/Springfield area. Group runs are posted on the page.

 

Nick Newbold poses at the Tree Hugger trail post in the Carpenter Bypass Trail System.

 

Coffee and Microbreweries

Vero Espresso House is a cozy and inviting coffee shop located in the heart of Eugene’s downtown district. They offer a variety of espresso drinks, as well as pour-overs, cold brews, and teas. Its small food menu includes pastries and light breakfast items.

Wandering Goat Coffee Company is a popular coffee roaster and cafe that focuses on sustainable and fair trade practices. They offer a variety of handcrafted espresso drinks, as well as pour-overs, drip coffee, and specialty drinks like the “Goataccino.” They also have a small food menu with pastries and sandwiches.

Coffee Planet Roaster is a specialty coffee roaster and cafe that sources high-quality organic beans worldwide. Coffee Planet serves freshly made scones, sweet bread, cookies, and muffins. The breakfast and lunch menu is sourced from local natural and organic ingredients and consistently adds new cuisine.

Founded in 2006, Ninkasi is one of the most well-known breweries in Eugene. They offer various beers, including IPAs, stouts, lagers, and sour beers. The Ninkasi Better Living Room is a restaurant and gathering space to celebrate beer, food, art, and community.

The Oakshire Public House is known for its innovative beers and collaborations with local businesses. They have a spacious taproom and offer a variety of styles, including IPAs, stouts, and seasonal brews. Oakshire partners with food trucks that rotate in and out throughout the week, providing various tasty options.

 

Oakshire Brewing Menu Board.

 

Hop Valley is a local favorite known for its award-winning IPAs and innovative brews. They have two locations in Eugene and Springfield, including a large taproom and restaurant.

Falling Sky is a family-owned brewery and pub focusing on local ingredients and traditional brewing methods. They offer a variety of beers, as well as delicious pub grub.

Claim 52 is a small, independent brewery that specializes in hop-forward beers. They have a taproom on Willamette Street with an outdoor seating area and offer a variety of IPAs, lagers, and sour beers. The kitchen has the usual pub fare of burgers, sandwiches, tacos, wings, and salads.

 

This post may contain affiliate links, for which Northwest Dirt Churners receives a small commission from any sale when clicked from this site. These commissions will provide entry fees for youth runners in Northwest Dirt Churners trail races.