Blanton Ridge – Ridgeline to Willamette Street

The Ridgeline Trail from Blanton Ridge to the Willamette Street trailhead for Spencer Butte has become our home base lately for quick hikes after work. From Blanton Ridge Parking Area the trail gradually climbs to a summit of 1280 feet and then gently meanders downhill almost all the way to 52nd and Willamette with a slight incline toward the end. The trail is 1.6 miles and is lined with lush greenery in the form of ferns, pines and oak trees with a beautiful meadow on either end. Small springs feed marshy areas that are home to frogs, snails … [Read more...]

Winter Hiking – Sahalie and Koosah Falls

A couple of weeks ago we had a guest from Spokane and decided to give her the grand tour. We visited Cougar Hot Springs, then out to Florence and up the coast as well as to Clear Lake and of course we stopped by Sahalie Falls which was mostly accessible despite there being a couple of feet of snow. Walk ways were a bit slippery, but several folks were down there checking out the roaring McKenzie River. Koosah Falls, just down the road a little way was a different story. The snow was several feet deep to the road and as far as we could tell … [Read more...]

Sweet Creek Falls – Mapleton, Oregon

Sweet Creek Falls is a series of about a dozen waterfalls near Mapleton, Oregon that cascade down a lush green gorge providing one of the most easily accessible high concentration waterfall hikes in all of Western Oregon. Despite being here for over a year now we had never made the side trip out to the Homestead trail head to take in the sights. The weather was great for Oregon in February and the water was definitely flowing beneath our feet as we walked along the cat walks. The short 2.2 mile round trip hike took us well over an hour … [Read more...]

Mountain Biking King Castle Trail

In the last gasps of autumn we've been getting out more and more and treasuring that little bits of great weather we can get. Last weekend we mountain biked a trail that is new to us. King Castle is only a few miles from the west end of the ever popular McKenzie River Trail, but it offers a bit more elevation change as well as a trail with a moderate difficulty rating. We rode from the top down, though if you are in the right shape the 7(ish) mile trail can give you a great burn if you ride it up. We were more interested in feeling the wind in … [Read more...]

Finding & Identifying Chanterelle Mushrooms in Oregon

The rains have finally come to Eugene and with the wetness and cooler temperatures come the mushrooms. They can be found just about anywhere in all shapes and sizes. In the dirt, on logs, under the ferns - fungus is everywhere, but what is safe? If you are looking for beginner hints to identify mushrooms visit this page on If you are after the lovely golden chanterelles that are coming up in the hills all around Eugene this link will help you identify them specifically. Just remember if you are not sure what you are … [Read more...]

Finding Fall Colors in Eugene

It's that time of the year, there is a chill in the air, scarves are coming out and EVERYTHING is pumpkin flavored. It's also a bit grey and wet out, but it's still a great time to explore close to home here in Eugene for beautiful fall colors. Last week we participated in a fund raising walk that took us along Willamette River on the East Bank Path through Alton Baker Park which got me thinking about all of the great places around Eugene to enjoy the colors of autumn. I'm originally from Spokane where it is about 80% pine trees, so I have … [Read more...]

Toketee Falls – North Umpqua River

Toketee Falls is a breath taking two stage 113ft. waterfall located about 2-1/2 hours Southeast of Eugene (less than one hour east of Roseburg) just off of highway 138. The water plunges over picturesque mossy volcanic columnar basalt into the North Umpqua River near its confluence with the Clearwater River. The first stage of Toketee falls is somewhat difficult to view and falls 28 feet into a narrow shaded alcove. The main and more attractive section of waterfall plunges about 85 feet into a gorgeous rock lined blue pool. Location: Toketee … [Read more...]

Newberry Volcanic Monument – Paulina and East Lake

Newberry Volcanic Monument - Officially created in 1990 within the Deschutes National Forest, Newberry Crater is a 17sq mile geologic wonder. The monument contains lakes stocked with fish, cinder cones, obsidian flows, waterfalls, camping, hiking and even some elusive hot springs if you know where to look for them. It's two main lakes, Paulina Lake and East Lake are surrounded by lush forests ands amazing peaks. The access road is seasonal and it is not uncommon for it to be blocked until after Memorial Day. The Location: Paulina Lake (the … [Read more...]

Umpqua Lighthouse and State Park

Umpqua Lighthouse and State Park is an easily accessible and popular general recreation area located less than 100 miles west of Eugene and a short 12 minute drive from Reedsport. The area is known for the 65 foot lighthouse that overlooks Winchester Bay. With its famous red light, the Umpqua Lighthouse is the only lighthouse on the Oregon Coast with a colored light. It was put into operation in 1894 after the prior lighthouse at that location (the first lighthouse in Oregon) fell into the river due to erosion after a short 7 year … [Read more...]

North Umpqua Trail – Dread and Terror Section

The North Umpqua Trail parallels the N. Umpqua River east of Roseburg, OR for 79 miles of hiking and biking. The Dread & Terror section is a 13 mile section of ridgeline trial with several unique water features. It is one of the most scenic sections of the trail. It takes its name from the dread associated with the potential threats of having to fight fires in the impenetrable thickets of white thorn bush that cover so much of the area. Location: The Trailheads for the Dread and Terror Section are the parking area for Umpqua Hot Spring … [Read more...]