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Here’s your guide to some select bike trails in Lane County



Spring term is known for being the fun term: a lot of seniors will soon be graduating, freshmen are finally feeling settled in, everyone has eyes set on the summer and even faculty are a little jazzed.

Whether you want to be in nature, explore Eugene or hang out with friends, a bike and a good trail make it all the better. And even better news? Lane County has plenty of bike trails, paths and roads to choose from. Whether you want to coast along with the wind in your helmet or mountain bike through forests and around waterfalls, Eugene alone has over 100 miles of biking paths and shared roadways and is frequently ranked as one of the most bike friendly cities in America.

For affordable bike rentals or free maintenance, make sure to check out the UO Bike Program at the corner of 18th Avenue and University Street. The group will also be hosting a bike appreciation day on April 6  in front of Lillis Business Complex for free minor adjustments and maintenance that your bike will need before riding around these wonderful trails.

Fern Ridge Trail
Distance: ~7 miles one way
Skill Level: Easy
Type of bike: Any
Closest Starting Point: W. 15th Avenue and Jefferson Street

The Fern Ridge Trail officially starts about a mile off campus, right around Jefferson Park. The path follows the Amazon Creek to the west. This trail might be close to campus, but it makes you feel like school and stress are a world away. Known for passing through some of the best plant and wildlife viewing areas in Eugene, this bike path also includes several pedestrian bridge crossings over Amazon Creek and enters the West Eugene Wetlands. This will offer a refreshing escape on a spring day. For committed road bikers, this seven mile path can easily become a 21 mile jaunt to Richardson Park on the far side of Fern Ridge Lake.

Riverbank Path System

Distance: ~7 miles one way
Skill level: Easy
Type of bike: Any
Closest Starting Point: The corner of Franklin Street and Agate Street

Extending east to Island Park and northwest to Owosso Bike Bridge, the riverbank path system follows both banks of the Willamette River through some of Eugene’s largest parks such as Alton Baker and Skinner Butte. As you ride, you will pedal through diverse scenery from local vistas to the downtown heart of Eugene and even to nearby historical monuments. These paths are paved and have broad curves to coast around, as well as restrooms and fountains nearly every mile. The path system includes five pedestrian bridges crossing the Willamette River and many different views on either side. This will be great for a quick, relaxing escape from campus or a fun ride with friends.

Alder Bikeway
Distance: ~3 miles one way
Skill Level: Easy
Type of bike: Any
Closest Starting Point: Anywhere on Alder Street.

If you are looking to cruise through the ‘burbs, this is the one for you: Alder Bikeway is the longest shared roadway running south from the university, which means it is bike friendly with typically low traffic and perfect for getting you somewhere for lunch on a sunny afternoon. From Broadway Avenue to Kincaid Park, Alder Street passes by our ever-busy campus and leads to the Amazon Parkway bike path: an even safer path to ride through the city. If you’re a commuter, want to get to a friend’s place in Eugene with few automotive hazards or would like to bike to any of the numerous vendors on Alder Street, Alder Bikeway is your best bet.

Ridgeline Trail
Distance: ~4 miles one way
Skill Level: Moderate
Type of bike: Mountain bike
Closest Starting Point: 4699 Spring Blvd.

The Ridgeline Trail is perfect if you are looking to escape the city but don’t want to go too far. Starting at the Spring Boulevard Trailhead in Southeast Eugene, this trail will take you through about a mile of Mount Baldy’s pine forest with an elevation gain of 300 feet. You will then coast down Dillard Road for almost half a mile until you find the Dillard West Trailhead, which will lead you to Amazon Headwaters Park after two and half miles of downhill forest cruising. Between Dillard Road and Amazon Headwaters Park, these trails connect to paths leading to Spencer Butte. There you can ditch the bike for a little while and enjoy a hike to one of Eugene’s most panoramic view points. The Ridgeline Trail succeeds in providing access to nearby adventure any day of the week.

The McKenzie River Trail
Distance: ~26 miles one way
Skill Level: Moderate
Type of bike: Mountain bike
Closest Starting Point: 1 mile east of McKenzie Bridge on Highway 126

Considered America’s number one trail by Bike Magazine, the McKenzie River Trail passes waterfalls, wood bridges, old-growth forest, crystal blue pools and follows alongside the beautiful McKenzie. This is 26 miles of gorgeous, single track biking. Most people drive to the bottom of the trail, take a shuttle to the top with their bikes, then ride the downhill path back to the car. The shuttle costs $30 per person, so you might want to take two cars and leave one at the bottom to avoid the fee. You will also have to drive 50 miles outside of Eugene for this trail, but it will be sure to satisfy your wanderlust. If you want to make a weekend out of it, the surrounding area offers great camping, rafting and nearby hot springs, just in case the best biking trail in the United States isn’t enough for you.


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Braedon Kwiecien

Braedon Kwiecien