OverviewSpencer Butte is a forested hill overlooking the southern portion of Eugene, Oregon. The butte is the dominant hill of the area.
The hike is on a mellow trail that winds through a beautiful Douglas Fir forest. While this hike has no technical difficulty at all, it does offer a chance to get away from city life, hike with the family, or train, all within just a few miles of downtown Eugene.
A side note, this trail is especially good for nature lovers, kids, and trail runners. I have seen lots of wildflowers, big trees, and cool salamanders that are sure to be a hit with any kid.
Getting ThereThere are a few good trailheads to choose from. If you are starting in downtown Eugene make your way to Willamette Street and head south. The first trailhead you will reach will be the Willamette Street Trailhead located at Willamette Street and 52nd street. The parking lot for this trailhead will be on the east side of the road. If you want to start a bit closer to the summit, you can continue on to the Spencer Butte Trailhead which is a couple miles further south. This parking lot is also east of the road.
Alternatively, you could get on Fox Hollow Road and travel south until you get to the Fox Hollow Trailhead.
Here is a picture to help you get your bearings
Red TapeNo red tape other than if you don't smile a lot and have a good time on this short hike I will personally fine you $25.
My favourite way to reach the summit is from the Willamette Street Trailhead. This adds a few more miles and a less travelled section of forest to the hike.
The trail starts out heading easily up the hill through an Oak glade. Look for a different variety of wildflowers on this dry slope then elsewhere on the trail.
The trail continues on up into a nice stand of Douglas Firs, massive, hoary giants trailing moss from their branches. If you are lucky you can see some salamanders crawling in the puddles alongside the trail here, or maybe even a wren hopping through the ferns.
Look for wildflowers hidden amongst the ferns.
As you near the top of the butte, the trail becomes a bit more rocky.
Finally, you break out of the tree cover and can head straight up to the rocky summit.
The views from the top are wonderful.
Zoom in on this picture to see a 360 composite image of the view from the top.
Round trip from the Willamette Trailhead is 5.2 miles approximately.
Round trip from the Spencer Butte Trailhead is 1.2 miles approximately.
Round trip from the Fox Hollow Trailhead is 4.0 miles approximately.
Elevation gain from any trailhead is around one thousand feet or so.