Hendricks Park is the perfect destination for individuals who love the outdoors! This massive city park is over 70 acres, complete with gardens, hiking and running trails, as well as wildlife scattered throughout the park. Whether you live in Eugene or are passing through, this park is the perfect place to spend an afternoon.
This beautiful park, located a mere mile from the University of Oregon campus, was founded in 1906. At that time, 47 acres were generously donated by Thomas and Martha Hendricks. Thomas played a major role in Eugene, acting as mayor prior to his donation. Hendricks Park is known for its massive rhododendron garden and large variety of birds that make it an ideal spot for bird-watching.
Visitors can enjoy a relaxing drive, or amble along one of the many trails that weave through the park. Floral Hill Drive and Birch Lane both pass by the Native Plant Garden and intersect with roads that go deeper into the park.
Ribbon Trail to Old Road Trail: This route begins on the Ribbon trail at the South end of the park, just East of the Laurelwood Golf Course. The Ribbon Trail then connects with the Old Road Trail, gently winding to the Northern end of the park where the Rodenderon and Native Plant Gardens are located. This trail is a little over 3 miles round trip. It can be an out and back trail or visitors may enjoy taking the Gent’s Trail or The Old Fire Break Trail back to their starting point.
Oak Knoll Trail: This iconic portion of the park has beautiful white oak trees and wildflowers. This trail can be accessed on the Southwest edge of the park. While this trail is considerably shorter than the Old Road Trail, visitors should watch out for poison oak in the area.
Rhododendron Garden: For flower enthusiasts, the best time to visit this beautiful garden would be sometime between February and June. The peak of the rhododendron blooming season is April to May. This garden in the park can be enjoyed beyond the regular blooming season. Large white oaks and Douglas firs serve as a canopy for the garden and other varieties of flowers bloom throughout the summer.
The Native Plant Garden: This garden, located directly East of the Rhododendron Garden, is home to a variety of native plants. Visitors will enjoy learning about the various plants, which have been labeled. Patrons of the park can also take advantage of the F. M. Wilkins Shelter that is located in the garden. This structure is available for rent, but those using the shelter are expected to comply with park rules to maintain the serene environment that is iconic to Hendricks Park.
Hendricks Park is sure to be a favorite for those who love the outdoors. For a real enthusiast who doesn’t mind a drive, check out Illahee Preserve in Bremerton, Washington. This preserve does not disappoint!