Fern Ridge Path

EASY 5 reviews

Fern Ridge Path is a 14 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Eugene, Oregon that features beautiful wild flowers and is good for all skill levels. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible year-round. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

DISTANCE
14.0 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
65 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Out & Back

dogs on leash

kid friendly

birding

hiking

nature trips

road biking

trail running

walking

views

wild flowers

wildlife

hiking
6 days ago

I am only giving two stars to this "trail" from a Hiking Scenery perspective -- in other ways, such as ease-of-access or use for biking for example, it can be considered a 3 or 4 stars.

I hiked/walked the Fern Ridge path on an early December cold and drizzly day. My goal was simply to train for distance / keep in shape as we go through winter and aim for the next prime hiking season. To that effect, the version I chose started from the Albertson's parking lot at 18th and Chambers and went all the way to the point were the Amazon canal empties into the Fern Ridge reservoir. Out-and-back, this adds up to just under 19 miles which put me withing range of some standards of long-distance / thru hiking. Of course, this route is entirely flat and therefore does not present many challenges beyond the length of the walk.

There are 4 different section on that route. Sections 1 and 2 are on the paved bike path (even if you can sometimes walk on the sides, in the grass).

Section 1 - From 18th and Chambers to S. Danebo Rd (about 4 miles).
This is a completely URBAN path, going by residential buildings, warehouses, businesses and gas stations. It hugs the canal and stays close to W 11th, first on the South side and then crossing over to the north side.All the major roadways encountered on the way are negotiated via an underpass (although there are on/off ramps as well). Not much to see/enjoy on that section except a few green areas and (as I did on the way back) walk a couple blocks to W 11th for a quick meal and drink.

Section 2 - From S. Danebo Rd to Royal Av. (about 2 miles)
This section quickly offers wide open landscapes as it crosses in a north-west direction from the S.Danebo / W. 11th junction to the Royal Av / Green Hill Rd junction, still following the canal. This section is still a paved bike path but, on dryer days, one could walk off the path via the greenway on either sides. There are a few benches along the way and a few bridges going over side streams. Watch out for bikes; be careful when crossing the railroad tracks...and keep going all the way to the north end of the Meadowlark Meadow prairie and the bridge just before Royal Av.

Section 3 - Royal Av to end or the Amazon Levee dirt road (about 2.75 miles)
As you get to the last bridge on the Meadowlark Prairie (just before Royal Av), you can get off the paved path and cross Royal Av. (watch for cars) to the gates of the Amazon Levees; you can choose the north or south bank of the canal. I went north and returned via the south bank... I prefer the south side. After 6 miles on a paved path, the feel of dirt and grass under my boots was welcome. So was the more "bucolic" scenery with farms along the way... and the absence of bikes to watch for. I walked this last stretch on the north bank - can't speak to the accessibility on the south side of the estuary. Once you cross Fir Butte Rd (around 8 miles from start), the are no more farms/residences and the route as more of a wilderness feel. After crossing a last gate (announcing a Wildlife area were dogs should be on leash) the path only continues for .25 miles before giving way to an overgrown single track use trail

Section 4 - Use trail to estuary banks - (about .25 miles)
Once the levee roadway ended, I followed a single track use trail for another .2 miles or so before it appeared to stop in overgrown vegetation. I descended to the canal bank and then walked another .1 miles on the muddy flats before my feet started sinking too deep. I was basically at the mouth of the estuary where the Amazon canal empties into the Fern Ridge reservoir! On the return route, I crossed to the south side of the canal at Fir Butte Rd and followed that all the way to Royal Av.

hiking
9 days ago

4 months ago

hiking
4 months ago