Eugene: A Great Place to Get Out and Active

Home to the University of Oregon, a creative counterculture and close to 100 miles of on-street bike lanes, Eugene is both a unique and classic Northwest city. Like many such towns, Eugene is also an ideal place for getting out and staying active at any time of year.

The city itself boasts some popular bike routes and scenic hikes, while not too far out of town, you can find everything from downhill and cross-county skiing to sledding and snowshoeing. Here are a few wintertime favorites for anyone in the Eugene area this time of year.


The 3.2-mile roundtrip hike to the summit of Mount Pisgah offers commanding views of the Willamette Valley and the Cascades from the eastern edge of Eugene. In fact, there are at least 17 miles worth of trails in the park surrounding Mount Pisgah in the Howard Buford Recreation Area. Another local favorite is Spencer Butte, a 2,000-foot peak in the south end of the city with several trails to the summit and expansive vistas. The 26.5-mile McKenzie River Trail east of Eugene on Highway 126 also offers lush old-growth ambling along the rushing McKenzie. The trail is popular with mountain bikers as well, but conditions for riding are better in late spring and summer.

Downhill skiing

Just over an hour east of Eugene, Willamette Pass Resort offers more than 550 acres of downhill ski terrain, serviced by five lifts. There are 29 alpine runs that range from beginner to advanced, a terrain park and 12 miles of Nordic trails for cross-country skiers. A little further east from Eugene — about 85 miles — Hoodoo Ski Resort has 32 runs and more than 800 acres of terrain. Looking for a little tubing? Hoodoo’s Autobahn Tubing Park is billed as one of the largest in the West.

Snowshoeing, cross-country skiing and sledding

The Willamette Pass area along Highway 58 east of Eugene is home to a handful of Sno-Parks for great skiing, snowshoeing and even dog sledding. Salt Creek Falls has a sledding and tubing hill, plus a few moderate trails that can be looped together for snowshoe or Nordic ski trips past Salt Creek Falls and Diamond Creek Falls. Gold Lake Sno-Park serves as a gateway to a series of scenic skiing and snowshoeing trails that pass by warming shelters that make convenient lunch spots. Crescent Lake Sno-Park, about 70 miles outside of Eugene, has a 15-mile loop around the namesake lake, and the Walker Rim Riders snowmobile club also grooms nearby roads that skiers can use.


It may be a little colder and wetter this time of year, but that doesn’t mean that Eugene’s riverside bike trails are off-limits. The Ruth Bascom Riverbank Trail System provides nearly 15 miles of paved riding on both sides of the Willamette River — perfect for a pedal in any season.

What’s your favorite way to get out and active in Eugene? Share with us by leaving a comment below.

Jon Bell

Jon Bell writes about the outdoors, fitness, health, and a range of other topics from his home in Lake Oswego, OR. He is also the author of "On Mount Hood: A Biography of Oregon's Perilous Peak."