Directions: From downtown, take Willamette Street south. When the road forks, continue on Willamette Street in the right-hand lane. Continue out of town for 5 miles to the parking lot on the left. The main parking lot is signed. There is also a lower parking lot underneath some large powerlines, about 1/4 mile before the main trailhead.
Spencers Butte is, as far as I know, the most popular hiking spot in Eugene. Everyone from college students to birdwatchers to families with young kids seems to grace the summit. On a sunny Saturday afternoon, even in winter, the parking lot is often maxed out by those coming to hike and watch the sunset. Even for sunrise during the week I've often seen others on the trail.
The main trail easily divides into three parts/sections. The first 1/2 mile is through forest, the trail itself made of boardwalk in the muddiest places. It then opens up into a small meadow, where the main trail and ridgeline trail come together to make for the summit. This is the point in my mind where the 2nd part starts. This part is forested and switchbacks 3-4 times, depending on which path you take for the final ascent.
There are a few different ways to go, but they all lead out of the trees into a large field of rocks that surrounds and comprises the summit. This 3rd and last section offers breathtaking views, the ultimate of which is the 360 degree panorama at the summit. On some mornings the fog in the valley looks like an ocean, rolling and crashing on the slopes of the higher hills below you. Most afternoons the valley is clear, and the city, Cascade and Coastal Ranges, Willamette River, and farms and towns can all be viewed.
Pictures | More Summaries | Journals