Alton Baker Park
Just across the Willamette River from downtown Eugene, the 400-acre Alton Baker Park is home to a world-class running trail, the Science Factory–Planetarium complex, gardens, ponds, picnic areas, a canoe canal, and part of a very cool scale model of the solar system (the sun and inner planets are here; Pluto, even though it’s no longer considered a planet, is 3.66 miles to the northwest, along the bike path). The western part of the park is more developed; to the east it includes the 237-acre Whilamut Natural Area.
The four-mile Pre’s Trail runs along the Willamette River east of Alton Baker Park. Named after runner Steve Prefontaine, whose world-record times and finishing kicks used to rock the Hayward Field grandstands before his untimely death in a car accident in 1975, this soft path meanders along the river and connects to the network of trails along the Willamette.
Getting to Alton Baker Park
Reach Alton Baker Park from downtown Eugene by taking the Ferry Street Bridge and turning right just after crossing the river; if you’re on foot, the Peter DeFazio footbridge is right by the Ferry Street Bridge and is an easy walk from the Fifth Street Market area. From the U. of O. area, walk or bike across the Autzen Bike Bridge to the park.
by Judy Jewell and W. C. McRae from Moon Oregon, 8th Edition, © Elizabeth & Mark Morris and Avalon Travel