Hiking in and around Eugene, Oregon

Hey friends! I’m back in DC after a really fun trip out to the west coast! As you guys know, I was there with Brooks for the annual Run Happy Blogger Ambassador trip, but I flew out a day early to see my friend Ashley who lives in Eugene, Oregon! I’ll be back tomorrow with a recap of the Brooks portion of the trip, but for now, let’s chat about part 1 with Ashley. 🙂

I arrived in Eugene late on Wednesday night and Ashley and I had all day Thursday and Friday morning to hang. I was excited to see her – it had been awhile! We made plans to check out some fun hikes in and around Eugene – but our first order of business was fueling up. We hit up a fun hippie vegetarian spot for breakfast called Morning Glory Café – highly recommend! It was delicious.

We shared two dishes because we couldn’t make up our minds! My favorite was the one up top – veggies + eggs inside a crispy potato shell – so good.

After fueling up, we headed to our first hike of the day: Spencer Butte, right in Eugene. The weather was phenomenal – loved the lack of humidity!

There are a couple different ways to get to the top – we took the steeper route with some fun rock scrambling. I definitely felt all the uphill in my hips/butt the next day!

Made it to the top! Gorgeous views from up there, especially on such a clear day!

A beautiful day + fresh air + an awesome hike + a good friend = doesn’t get much better than that. 🙂

We took a longer more gradual route back down to the car with a bit added on via an offshoot trail since we were enjoying chatting and the scenery!

By the time we made it back to the car we were ready for lunch! We headed back into town and met Ashley’s boyfriend for lunch at another cute spot – Hideaway Bakery. I had the veggie bowl with peanut sauce and tempeh and a side beet salad. Delicious!

The vegetarian food scene in Eugene is on point.

I also bought a muffin to snack on later in the afternoon. 🙂 All their baked goods looked amazing!

After our late lunch and a bit of a siesta back at Ashley’s place, we headed back out for adventure #2: a hike on the McKenzie River Trail about an hour away in the Willamette National Forest.

Ashley had done a hike and trail race on this trail before and loved it so I was excited to check it out! The McKenzie River Trail is 26 miles long so there is a lot to see; we chose the Tamolitch Valley Section and hopped on a trail that took us to the Tamolitch Blue Pool.

The trail is a 3.9 mile out and back. Since we arrived in the late afternoon and were there on a Thursday we only saw a couple other people, but apparently it can get crowded during peak hours – and for a reason! It’s gorgeous and relatively easy, too.

The trail had us walking right by the water – so beautiful! Reminded me of some of the hikes we just did on our hiking trip in western Canada. I’ve been so spoiled by amazing hiking lately! The more hiking I do, the more I want to do – I love it so much!

The blue pool was at the end of the trail and it was incredible – I’ve never seen water that color before. Unlike the gorgeous glacier fed lakes in Canada that were a beautiful aqua color, this water was a deep bright blue – almost like a sapphire. The pictures don’t do it justice!

It almost looked like it was colored with dark blue food dye! So crazy. I could have sat here looking at it all night.

After enjoying the views for awhile we reluctantly made our way back. By the time we made it back to the car it was nearly 8:30 – whoa! How did it get so late?! We had one last stop we wanted to make before heading back to Eugene and we knew we had about an hour of daylight left so we decided to use every last bit of it. Adventuring = more important than real dinner. 😉 We pounded some snacks and drove over to the Terwilliger Hot Springs, which were about half an hour away, back towards Eugene but still in Willamette National Forest. We screeched into the parking lot with about 30 minutes of daylight left and quickly threw on our swimsuits. Let’s do this!

The hot springs are in the forest about a 1/4 mile walk along a trail. So cool – I loved that they were actually out in nature. There are five small pools – the hot springs feed directly into the top pool, so that one is by far the hottest, and they get cooler in temperature as the water trickles down through the pools. I didn’t get a picture because it was getting a bit dark and because almost everyone was naked (yeah, clothing is optional!) – but here’s one Ashley took earlier this year.

The springs felt amazing – we settled in the second pool which was perfect temperature-wise. We stayed and relaxed for about 20 minutes before needing to head out – we were officially out of daylight. We had to pick our way back to the car along the trail in the very last light of the day. Spooky but peaceful and totally worth it. 🙂

What an amazing day! We arrived back at Ashley’s place around 11, exhausted but happy. 🙂

Ashley had to work on Friday unfortunately, but we got up and snuck in one last adventure together – a run! We ran on Pre’s Trail, which is a 4 mile long woodchip and bark trail named after the famous University of Oregon athlete Steve Prefontaine.

It was so beautiful out – cool but sunny. I see why so many runners love Eugene! There were a ton of people out enjoying the trails. I was sore from all our hiking the day before but still glad to be out there – y’all know I’m not one to pass up a run on a beautiful morning. 🙂

Hot tip: if you run on the trail, wear shoes you don’t mind getting super dirty – we were covered in red dust by the time we finished out the 4 miles! Luckily I had been warned by Ashley so I had my Brooks PureGrit trail running shoes on, which are already well loved. 🙂

We headed straight from the trail to Morning Glory Café – I requested we go again because I loved it so much! This time I got a really good purple potato, kale, mushroom, and scrambled egg dish topped with cheese. Plus a side of fruit and their homemade cinnamon walnut bread which was amazing! And an iced whole milk latte, obvs.

Thank you again for such a fun visit Ashley! I wish I could have stayed longer. 🙂

Have you ever been to Oregon? Bend, Oregon is next on my bucket list – I keep hearing it’s amazing for outdoorsy adventures!

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