The Ridgeline Trail is the most popular hiking trail in Eugene. The 12-mile network of trails winds through the ridges and forests of the southern Willamette Valley.
There are several trailheads to get to the Ridgeline trail system, including the Spencer Butte trailhead, with a large parking lot and a trail system map. From there, ramblers can choose from several routes, ranging from easy to moderate difficulty. One of the most favored sections of the Ridgeline Trail is the Spencer Butte trail, a 2.5-mile hike to the top of Spencer Butte, the highest point in Eugene. At the top, users can enjoy panoramic views of the surrounding mountains and valleys.
New trails are constantly being added, including the Wild Iris Ridge Trail at the intersection of South Bertleson and Bailey Hill Road. In addition, the Ridgeline Trail is open year-round and is free to access.
A 16-mile run from the Blanton trailhead is a fantastic way to experience most of the Ridgeline Trail System. It starts by meandering through a mixed forest of towering Douglas-fir and bigleaf maple. The trail elevates near Solar Heights for a northern view of Eugene. In 1.8 miles, the trail crosses Willamette street and into the parking lot of the 52nd and Willamette trailhead. The trail crosses several springs and meadows as it climbs toward Spencer Butte.
In 1.2 miles is a junction to a tie trail that continues to the Spencer Butte summit. Turn right for .8 miles to another junction. Turn right on the Main trail to start the heavy ascent up Spencer Butte for a half-mile. The dry-stone masonry causeway allows hikers to navigate to the peak. Enjoy the views at the top before heading to the backside and descending the west trail for .6 miles to the Spencer Butte trailhead. Expect to go slow on this less-used rocky trail. Look for tree tags that mark the trail. Turn onto the Main trail at the trailhead for .6 miles to the junction of the tie trail. Continue straight on the tie trail back to the Ridgeline trail.
Turn right on Ridgeline for .8 miles toward the Fox Hollow trail. At the trailhead, stay right to the Dillard West trailhead on the pedestrian-only section for the most accessible section of the trail system. There is a connector trail to the Dillard East trailhead. Take that or continue to the Dillard West trailhead. From there, turn left on Dillard Road for a half mile to the Dillard East trailhead.
Once at the Dillard East trailhead, continue on the next significant ascent to Mt. Baldy on the pedestrian-only path. Mt. Baldy offers delightful views north to Eugene and south to Camas Swale. The pedestrian trail reaches the 1233′ summit in about a half-mile. Continue down for .9 miles as it wanders through an upland prairie before entering the forest and descending a steep, twisted path to the Spring Boulevard trailhead. For those feeling adventurous, continue on Spring Blvd. to the Ribbon Trail, which connects to the Hendricks Park trails. However, we will turn around and climb back to the summit to the shared-use trail and back to Dillard East.
Crossing through the Amazon Headwaters basin, make a loop by returning on the shared-use Ed’s Trail. Instead of heading back to the Fox Hollow trailhead, turn right on a steep descent toward the Martin Street trailhead. In a quarter-mile, there is a little connector path to the main trail from Martin Street. Climb back up the main trail for one mile back to the Fox Hollow trailhead junction. Turn right at the junction and take the Ridgeline trail back to the Blanton St. trailhead, bypassing the tie trail to Spencer Butte and back through the 52nd & Willamette trailhead.
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