The Thurston Hills Natural Area is a multi-use trail network in Springfield, Oregon. The trails are on 655 acres of land that the City of Springfield acquired in 2017. There are over 6 miles of trails, and more are being built in the next few years. In addition, the two trails provide separate, dedicated mountain bike access for downhill use only. The trail system offers a variety of terrain, including wooded hillsides, rocky outcroppings, and open meadows.
One of the most popular sections of the Thurston Hills Trails is the “Summit Loop,” a 3-mile loop that leads to the top of Thurston Hills and offers panoramic views of the surrounding valley. The trail to the summit is steep in places and requires some scrambling over rocks, but the views are well worth the effort.
Other highlights of the trail system include the “Shoreline Trail,” which winds along the edge of a small pond and offers views of waterfowl and other wildlife, and the “Rocky Top Trail,” which leads to a rocky overlook with views of the surrounding hills.
The Thurston Hills Trails are open year-round and are free to access. The trailhead is located at the end of 79th Street in Springfield, with a small parking lot and a trail map.
A six-mile run lollipop loop using the Ace of Spades, Yee Haw, Cascade Crest, and Basalt Rim trails is a beautiful way to climb to the summit for views of the McKenzie River Valley and encompassing foothills.