Mount Pisgah Arboretum
The Mount Pisgah Arboretum (Buford Park, 34901 Frank Parrish Rd., 541/747-3817) features seven miles of trails that pass through a number of different habitats. The arboretum at the end of Seavey Loop Road (plant and bird lists are often available at the visitors center, open weekends) sponsors such events as a fall fair dedicated to area mushrooms and a spring wildflower show and plant sale (dates vary; call ahead).
The path to the 1,514-foot summit has few trees, enabling hikers to enjoy vistas of the Willamette Valley on the way up. At the top an unforgettable perspective of the valley in the foreground and the Three Sisters and other Cascade peaks in the distance awaits. At the summit is a monument honoring author Ken Kesey’s son and other members of the University of Oregon wrestling team who perished in a van accident (Oregon’s most celebrated author lived two miles to the east in Pleasant Hill).
This memorial consists of a sculpture with a relief map depicting the mountains, rivers, towns, and other landmarks in the Eugene area. Supporting the map are three five-sided bronze columns upon which the geologic history of Oregon over the past 200 million years is portrayed, using images of more than 300 fossil specimens.
Those making the climb in August will find blackberry bushes for browsing along the way. If you’re perspiring from the climb, when you’re back on the valley floor head south of the trailhead to the adjoining Buford Recreation Area for a dip in the cool waters of the Willamette River. The banks of the Coast Fork here also have a great profusion of white oak, blackberry bushes, and poison oak.
Getting to the Mount Pisgah Arboretum
Mount Pisgah can be reached by following East 30th Avenue from Eugene past Lane Community College to the I-5 interchange. Cross the bridge over the interstate, turn left, and take the next right onto Seavey Loop Road. You’ll cross the Coast Fork of the Willamette River and then turn left onto a gravel road (look for the Mount Pisgah signs) that leads to the trailhead; the arboretum is just beyond the parking lot.
by Judy Jewell and W. C. McRae from Moon Oregon, 8th Edition, © Elizabeth & Mark Morris and Avalon Travel