Things to do in Eugene over Spring Break over a map with icons

Spring break is nearly here, and with it, a chance to refresh and recharge close to home.

The UO is encouraging students to “stay home and stay safe” and avoid traveling over spring break to prevent a spike in COVID-19 cases at the start of spring term.

That doesn’t mean you can’t have fun and recreate responsibly. This is Oregon, after all, and we have no shortage of things to see and do and places to go within an hour or two of campus.

In fact, enterprising people could keep themselves entertained over spring break and never leave Eugene. Even on campus there are enough activities to stay busy and entertained. And check out this listing of virtual and live arts events happening on campus.

The UO is organizing a week of wellness during spring break, which will offer students a variety of fun, safe events to de-stress and recharge, including self-guided nature walks, movie binge lists, art exhibits and more. Stay up to date as events get added to the calendar.

The residence halls will remain open over break. Here’s what to know about staying put, including dining options.

For students who must travel, take steps to minimize your COVID risk: follow Oregon statewide guidance and CDC guidelines for travel which includes testing, quarantining and other safety precautions.

Here are some ideas for stuff to do in Eugene and farther afield. Just remember: COVID-19 is still here, so mask up and stay safe.

Things to to around town in Eugene over spring break

Hop on a PeaceHealth bike (or your own wheels) and take a ride along the river path.

Take a hike on the Ridgeline Trail. Hike up Spencer Butte or explore some of the lesser-traveled sections.

Visit Hendricks Park, Eugene’s oldest park and an easy walk from campus. Its world-renowned rhododendron garden is spectacular in spring.

Check out Delta Ponds, a reclaimed gravel pit off Goodpasture Island Road that features walking paths and a thriving community of waterfowl.

Visit the Cascades Raptor Center, 32275 Fox Hollow Road, and get up close and personal with rescued eagles, hawks, owls and more.

Test your hucking skills with a round of disc golf. In town are courses at Alton Baker Park, Westmoreland Park and Stewart Pond. Farther afield are courses in Dexter, about 20 miles east of Eugene, and in Cottage Grove, 20 miles south, and at Camp Serene in Noti.

Visit Dorris Ranch in Springfield, the first commercial filbert (aka hazelnut) orchard in the United States, and stroll through the orchards and along the Willamette. Hop on the adjacent Middle Fork Path, a four-mile-long path that connects with the Mill Race Path.

Explore the Howard Buford Recreation Area, home to Mount Pisgah. Several trails lead to the summit for panoramic views, but the trails along the bottomlands are worth exploring as well.

Points east +30 miles text overlaying a mountain landscape

Hike or mountain bike the McKenzie River Trail, about an hour east of Eugene off Highway 126. It’s nearly 25 miles long, but you can hit shorter sections. Hot tip: Hike to Tamolitch Falls, a stunning body of water befittingly known as Blue Pool.

Explore the Cascades: Check out William Sullivan’s “100 Hikes in the Central Oregon Cascades” or websites like alltrails.com for ideas. Remember to pack the 10 Essentials.

Visit an iconic Oregon waterfall. Sahalie and Koosah falls are located off Highway 126 about 70 miles east of Eugene. A 2.6-mile loop trail connect these stunning cascades, which drop 100 feet and 70 feet, respectively. Salt Creek Falls, off Highway 58 about 60 miles east of Eugene, drops 286 feet, making it Oregon’s second highest single-drop waterfall.

Play a round at Tokatee Golf Club, 50 miles east of Eugene off Highway 126, and take in views of the Three Sisters.

Conditions and fitness permitting, take a ride up Old McKenzie Highway, aka Highway 242, which opens each spring to pedestrians and cyclists before it opens to motorists. It’s a challenging but beautiful ride that goes through fields of basalt, offers up-close views of the Three Sisters and tops out at McKenzie Pass, elevation 5,325 feet, and the lava-rock constructed Dee Wright Observatory. Check with the Oregon Department of Transportation for conditions.

Points west +30 miles text overlaying a sand dune landscape

Check out Fern Ridge Reservoir, about 12 miles west of Eugene, and Fern Ridge Wildlife Area for paddling, sailing, fishing, hiking and bird watching.

Take a trip to Oregon Coast. Highway 101 between Florence and Yachats is a spectacular stretch of road with numerous attractions, hikes and viewpoints. Oh, and beaches. Miles of beaches.

Sweet Creek Falls is an amazing and easy hike near Mapleton that follows its namesake creek along a series of waterfalls.

The Oregon Dunes are pretty epic. You can rent a sandboard, take a tour on a dune buggy or sand rail, or take a meandering walk.

Paddle the Siltcoos River Canoe Trail, a flatwater paddle which starts at Siltcoos Lake and goes all the way to the Pacific.

Points north +30 miles text overlaying a mountain landscape

Visit Corvallis, the second-best college town in Oregon. For extra credit, wear some Duck gear. Also, check out Bald Hill Natural Area, a popular spot for hiking and cycling by the fairgrounds.

Go to Marys Peak, about 60 miles north of Eugene, east of Corvallis. You can drive to nearly all the way to the summit, or hike up. At 4,101 feet, it’s the highest peak in the Coast Range. You can see the Pacific on a clear day!

William L. Finley National Wildlife Refuge, 35 miles northwest of Eugene off Highway 99W, features 12 miles of meandering trails and serves as a winter habitat for dusky Canada geese. Just remember: no dogs allowed.

Silver Falls State Park east of Salem and about 80 miles from Eugene, is a wonderland of walking trails and waterfalls.

Points south +30 miles text overlaying a lake landscape

Cottage Grove has lots to see and do, including a historic downtown and a self-guided tour of scenic murals. Extra credit: Watch Buster Keaton’s classic “The General,” filmed in and around Cottage Grove, before visiting.

Take a ride, run or stroll on Row River Trail, a 17-mile path that starts near Cottage Grove.

Dip a line at Bryce Creek, or any of the many lakes, creeks and rivers around Lane County.

Wildlife Safari, about 80 miles south of Eugene in Winston, is Oregon’s only drive-through animal park and features more than 600 animals from 100 different species, including elephants, lions, bison, wildebeest and more.

The Bohemia Gold Mining Museum in Cottage Grove provides a window into the glory days of the Bohemia Mining District.

By Tim Christie, a staff writer for University Communications