Editor’s note:Oregon’s COVID-19 restrictions have eased, but businesses may ask you to wear a face cover – bring one along and be patient and kind if asked to wear it. It’s also wildfire season – plan ahead and do your part to prevent wildfires.
If you’re planning a trip to Eugene for the U.S. Olympic Team Track & Field Trials (scheduled for June 18-27, 2021) or the World Athletics Championships Oregon 22 (July 15-24, 2022) in the new state-of-the-art Hayward Field, you probably already have an appreciation for healthy living. Close to nature yet with all the conveniences of a vibrant, funky and eclectic city, Eugene is the perfect place for an extended stay with your pod. You can find lodging focused on wellness, sample fresh locally sourced foods, and get active in the lush, green outdoors that earned Eugene the nickname Emerald City. Here are some tips for planning a wellness getaway that will complement your time cheering on those world-class athletes.
Rejuvenate in Nature
Whether you’re into biking, hiking, running or walking, the Eugene area has you covered with an extensive selection of paths and trails. The trick is to find those that are less populated, but luckily you have plenty of options to choose from. Keep in mind that the McKenzie River area recently experienced a wildfire, so do your research as many of the hikes in that area are closed, and learn about ways you can help. Here’s how to show your love to McKenzie River-area communities.
With its longstanding affinity for running, there are a number of trails dedicated to just that and the trick is finding the less-explored trails. The Middle Fork Path in Springfield is a lesser-known, 4-mile paved pathway perfect for walking or biking to many viewpoints and parks. It also connects to the Mill Race Path, so you can easily make your excursion into a fun 8-mile loop. South of town, the 14-mile paved Row River Trail is a cyclist’s dream. The trail starts in Cottage Grove and follows an abandoned railroad line, passing Dorena Lake and three covered bridges along the way. Another good option is the Fern Ridge Path, 9.6 miles of paved trail that winds through the wetlands west of Eugene. For a gorgeous hike any time of year, head to the Ridgeline Trail System, a 12-mile path crowned by Spencer Butte, the city’s highest point. Ridgeline has some great bite-size sections, including an out-and-back from Wild Iris Ridge Park filled with wildflowers. If waterfalls are more your thing, check out the easy 1-mile hike to Moon Falls or the moderate 3.7-mile hike to Kentucky Falls, both south of Eugene.
Fuel Your Body
Having embraced the organic-food movement long before it was trendy, Eugene’s food scene has a wide array of restaurants that serve up everything your body needs. Vegetarian restaurant Morning Glory Cafe, in the Market District, is a Eugene staple for healthy, from-scratch breakfast, sourced with organic produce, non-GMO oils, naturally nested eggs and fair-trade coffee. For a midday refresh, stop into nearby Nourish Juice for a cold-pressed juice, smoothie or power shot using fresh, organic fruits and vegetables. They also have a menu of noodle bowls and small plates made from locally sourced ingredients. For a nourishing lunch, check out the salads and bowls at Veg Salad Craft downtown. Stay in the area for dinner at the award-winning Cafe Soriah, known for its selection of high-quality meats, seafood and vegetables in its Mediterranean-inspired dishes.
Perfectly situated for a car-free weekend, the newly constructed, art-centric Gordon Hotel gives you walkable access to everything you need for a delightful getaway. The hotel is steps away from the newly expanded Fifth Street Public Market, which features many of Eugene’s iconic shops and eateries and plenty of outdoor seating. The market is a few blocks away from Skinner Butte Park and the Owen Rose Garden. The Valley River Inn is located right along the Willamette River and the Ruth Bascom Riverbank Path System, a wide, paved path ideal for a morning jog or an evening stroll. The EVEN Hotel offers a wellness package that features an in-room training zone, mood lighting and eucalyptus linens. It’s close to the University of Oregon’s Autzen Stadium and Alton Baker Park, an expansive greenspace that is also the center of a model solar system. If you’re in need of an extra dose of relaxation — like an aromatherapy massage or cleansing facial — recharge at any one of Eugene’s excellent day spas.
If You Go:
- Before you go, know what to expect at Oregon destinations during COVID-19. As of spring 2021, face coverings and social distancing are still required, and you may need to make reservations in advance.
- The U.S. Olympic Team Trials – Track & Field will be held June 18-27, 2021, with limited seat inventory due to state and local health regulations. The tickets held by existing customers cannot all be fulfilled, so those tickets will be refunded and a revised ticketing program will be announced in May 2021. Sign up for the TrackTown USA Newsletter to receive the important information first.
- When the World Athletics Championships come to Eugene in July 2022, it be the first time in history that the championships are held in the United States. Sign up for the official WCH Oregon 22 newsletter to get the latest updates, including when tickets go on sale. Do your research and plan ahead as local hotels and attractions will book up quickly.
- Extend your trip with a tour of one of Oregon’s seven regions, and find plenty of options for noshing and hands-on farm experiences to round out your experience along Oregon’s food trails.