Ruth Bascom Riverbank Trail System Reviews    

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TRAILBEAR GOES UP THE RIVER: North Bank & East Bank Paths -from mall to boat ramp.

By trailbear in November, 2010

TRAILBEAR GOES UP THE RIVER: North Bank & East Bank Paths -from mall to boat ramp.

10.2.2010, Euguene, OR

@@@ OVERVIEW…

The Ruth Bascom Riverbank Path System in Eugene is such a fine ride that the TrailBear is back for more. It’s October and the rains which had the river in flood in June are gone. Pausing on his fall migration to warmer climates, TrailBear is back to ride the North Bank and East Bank Paths, which, when combined, run down the right side of the river. You can see the trail on Google Maps in map mode.

Of course, with his usual precise timing, TB picked the very day of the University of Oregon homecoming to go for a ride. (“Go ducks! The quack is back! ” The Ducks did well, stomping on Stanford.) The area was full of duck fans bound for the stadium.

This side of the river is a five star ride: good pavement, good facilities, lots of interesting scenery. The East Bank Path runs 2.8 miles from the Beltline down to the Greenway Bridge and the North Bank Path runs 5 miles from Greenway down to the boat ramp in Island Park in Springfield. This side is the longest ride and pure Class I trail. South Bank Path has some on-street bits.

If you can only ride one side, this is the side. Of course, that would be a shame. The total trail length (all four paths) is 13.9 miles, hardly a warm up for a roadie. With five bridges you can change sides at each bridge coming and going, which would be an interesting ride. Here is the best of the two trail maps:

http://www.eugene-or.gov/portal/server.pt/gateway/PTARGS_0_2_207522_0_0_18/RiverbankTrail.PDF

If you want to get as much riding in as possible, start the ride way up at the intersection of N. Delta Highway and an offramp of the Randy Pape Beltline (569) in north Eugene. Across the street is a mall with Café Yumm, Starbucks, Gold’s Gym, parking, etc. Let’s head up there, find a parking spot and cross at the intersection to the trail at …


NORTH DELTA HIGHWAY X 569, GE: N44.09442 W123.09807

The trail starts here at the onramp from North Delta Highway to the Beltline freeway. Don’t look for the usual RBRPS signage as you are a bit out of bounds. Some of their maps show this extension, some don’t. Your bike won’t care. Ride alongside the onramp to river. Here you duck under the freeway and head upstream (southish). You are now on Goodpasture Island and will leave it down at Delta Ponds.

Be advised that when the river is flooding, the trail flood gates will be closed just beyond the bridge. In this case you divert into the ‘hood – and a very nice ‘hood it is. Ride along Riverplace Drive to the end and then left a block onto Goodpasture Lake Loop. There will be a trail opening to the right ahead. Take it. If you cross Riverwalk Loop, turn back and find it. This will take you back to the trail below the upper flood gate. In just 0.11 miles you reach the first of the trail bridges …


THE OWASSO BRIDGE, GE: N44.09163 W123.11578

Here you pick up the superb RBRPS signage: mile posts on the .25 mile, color-coded trail signs, distances up and down trail to the next three destinations, milage appliqués on the trail bed and each mile post sponsored. TB keeps looking for a trail that does this better. So far (CA, OR, WA, ID, UT, NV), none found.

Across the bridge is the start of the West Bank Path. You can ride the South and West paths on your return to the bridge and thence to your car up on the Delta Highway. Head upstream. Next attraction is the Marist High School, then some apartments, fields and then the…


DELTA PONDS CITY PARK, GE: N44.07475 W123.11348

http://www.eugene-or.gov/portal/server.pt?space=CommunityPage&control=SetCommunity&CommunityID=678&PageID=1661

A former sand and gravel operation, the Delta Ponds are now a wetland city park. You wend along the waterways to the far side. There will probably be geese and ducks all over the place. Watch where you ride. Goose poop, moss and rain make a very slick surface. (Not to ask TB how he knows this.) One parking lot after leaving the Delta Ponds, you arrive at the …


GREENWAY BRIDGE & VALLEY RIVER CENTER, GE: N44.06805 W123.11099

The Greenway Bridge marks the end of the West and East Bank Paths and the start of the South and North Bank Paths. You shift from East to North. Notice the color changes on the mile posts. You are also at the rear of the Valley River Center, a large mall which makes a nice trailhead with plenty of trailside parking. The food court inside the mall has something for everyone. Adjacent to the food court is a U O duckobelia shop. You can buy most anything in Duck colors, Duck themed, Duck stenciled, etc. (The TrailBear passed. He is a UW grad and Cougar (WSU) fan – he likes cats.)

From the top of the mall you have a 1.65 mile stretch, some of it along the freeway, down to the …


DEFAZIO BRIDGE, GE: N44.05721 W123.08283

The DeFazio Bridge, in Alton Baker Park is the third bridge on the ride. Two more to go. Alton Baker Park makes a good trailhead. Plenty of parking, even during Homecoming (they had guards to make it so). Picnic shelters, ponds, lawns. Alas, the nearest loo rated only a lowly ** (D) on TB’s Irvine Flushie Scale. One look and he opted for continence. Too many bums about. The mall is a better option.

Head down through the park to the next bridge…


THE AUTZEN BRIDGE, GE: N44.05233 W123.07096

This bridge, which runs over a patch of rocky shoals anchored by an island, is the connection between the Ducks at the U of O on the south bank and the Autzen Stadium on the north bank. On game day it fills with Ducks heading for the stadium.

The trail runs through a patch of rough woods, then breaks out into the meadows of the Whilamut Natural Area and heads for the Interstate 5 bridge under construction and the last bike bridge…


THE KNICKERBOCKER BRIDGE, GE: N44.04539 W123.05400

This bridge takes you to the bottom of the South Bank Path. You might want to return that way. To go onward (until 2012) on the North Bank Park, you need to back up to the detour sign and photo map and take a left. You take Pre’s Trail north to the Canoe Canal, then right, under the freeway, to emerge in the Eastgate Woodlands and get back on the North Bank Path in Springfield. Clear as mud? Try this:

<http://www.oregon.gov/ODOT/HWY/REGION2/docs/area5/I-5_WRB/Public_invol_materials/WRB_STAGE2_Detours.pdf?ga=t>

There is a small parking and info kiosk trailhead at 44.047718 x -123.043509 in the Eastgate Woodlands vicinity Mile Post 4.0. The trail runs along the river through the West D St. Greenway, then jogs out to W. D St. (not very busy), runs along it for 0.2 miles, then ducks back into …


ISLAND PARK, GE: N44.04822 W123.02756

Island Park has restrooms (***), picnic shelters, parking, water and a boat ramp. This would make a nice trailhead if you wish to ride from south to north on this side of the river. Work your way through the park and under the Main St. and S. A St. bridges to the boat launch on the far side in Millrace Park. This is the end of the line.

Someday they hope to extend the trail on the opposite shore across Glenwood (industrial, not inviting) and link up the ends. For now, you are at the end of the North Bank Path. However, all is not lost. Take note of the embellishment of the two bridge pillars into trees with faces. For now, go back to the Knickerbocker Bridge and ride the South and West Bank Paths back to your starting point.


Ride on!

TrailBear
A river runs past him.





TRAILBEAR RIDES THE FLOOD – South Bank Path of the Ruth Bascom Riverbank Path System

By toolbear in October, 2010

TRAILBEAR RIDES THE FLOOD – South Bank Path of the Ruth Bascom Riverbank Path System

6.4.10

Eugene, OR.

Rain! Have we got rain? TrailBear’s fur is getting sodden and he doesn’t like that one bit.
The rain started in Redding, CA and continued to Eugene, where it poured overnight. All the rivers along the way were high and getting higher. In Eugene the Willamette was raging along, flooding the “low lying areas”, including portions of the Ruth Bascom Riverbank Path System (rather a mouthful, that).

Rain showers for the morning hours, but after lunch it began to break up. Enough so that TB, cautious about rain and wet trails, got the bike out and headed up the North Bank Path, thence to the East Bank Path, thence to the West Bank Path, followed by the South Bank Path, a ride over the Autzen Bridge and back up the North Bank Path to the flooded section in Alton Baker Park. He had looped the RBRPS and stayed dry.


THE RUTH BASCOM RIVERBANK PATH SYSTEM…

So what is with all these paths? Well, the Willamette comes into Eugene running westerly. At the Greenway Bridge it jogs to the north. East of the Greenway Bridge you have the North Bank Path on the (wait for it) … north bank and the South Bank Path on the south side. At the bend, the North Bank Path morphs into the East Bank Path while the South Bank Path morphs into the West Bank Path.

Clear as mud? The bottom line is that, to a bike, there are two trails – one on each bank of the river: North/East Paths and South/West Paths. These trails are joined at the hip by five (!) ped/bike bridges. You can ride up one side, down the other and daisy chain the system if desired. Lots of options for rides.

You can tell them apart because the Ruth Bascom System has the best trail signage and maps of any trail TB has encountered thus far. Give them a 7* for signage and a superb trail map – very readable and dense with information. (You want the .pdf titled “Riverbank Path System”. The “Riverbank Trail System” map is for children.)


SOUTH BANK PATH OVERVIEW...

The SBP starts up north in Maurie Jacobs park, by the Greenway Bike Bridge. On the opposite shore, at the back of the Valley River Center (big mall), the bridge is the junction of the East and North Bank Paths. From the bridge you head southeast, going upstream. You pass through a series of parks until reaching the DeFazio Bike Bridge.

Then the trail traverses a more industrial area, and then enters a large prairie which morphs into the riverfront playing fields of the University of Oregon (“Go, Ducks!” The Quack is Back!” etc.). Here you have some blocks of on-street riding. Nothing serious: Quiet back streets that work you up to Franklin Blvd. where you find the trail again.

Now you can coast downhill, underpass the RR tracks (note the well executed demon face in the tunnel) and ride a short distance along the river to the end of the trail at the Knickerbocker Bike Bridge. To get back, cross the bridge and pick up the North Bank Path heading down river to the Greenway Bridge. Cross that and you are back in Maurie Jacobs Park. Head south from Jacobs and your first attraction is the …


OWEN ROSE GARDEN, GE: 44.063154 -123.102643

< http://www.eugene-or.gov/portal/server.pt?space=CommunityPage&control=SetCommunity&CommunityID=675&PageID=1570>

Here you will find thousands of roses and hundreds of varieties plus a majestic cherry tree more than 150 years old and counting. Next stop is …


SKINNER BUTTE PARK, 44.061233 -123.097320

< http://www.eugene-or.gov/portal/server.pt?open=512&objID=675&PageID=1568&cached=true&mode=2&userID=2>

This park has over a hundred acres and everything from a tot lot and restroom to a climbing area (basalt columns). You can also hike the trails on the butte and get a panoramic view of Eugene from the top. The trail traverses the river side of the butte and ducks under the Coburg Rd. bridge to arrive at …


THE PETER DEFAZIO BRIDGE, GE: 44.056755 -123.083700

Named after Congressman Peter DeFazio, this is an attractive suspension bridge which connects downtown Eugene (the South Bank Path side) with Alton Baker Park on the opposite shore. Over there is the North Bank Path. You continue on past the fountain at the Eugene Water and Electrical Board’s riverside office and enter an industrial zone – which doesn’t last long. Soon you are crossing a prairie which ends at the Big O.

< http://il.youtube.com/watch?v=WX2SMp9tyBY>


UNIVERSITY OF OREGON RIVERFRONT FIELD, GE: 44.050212 -123.071551

The Big O – done in a concrete bike path - and the Riverfront Field are at the bottom of the University of Oregon (“Ducks”) campus. If you wonder where the Ducks are, just head uphill a few blocks. Thousands of them up there.

TrailBear found himself surveying the bottom portion of the trail on the very day of Homecoming (They whupped Stanford.) Not much trail traffic, but a lot of Ducks heading over the Autzen Bridge to Autzen Stadium. The traffic jams around Alton Baker Park were outstanding. On a bike you could get around.

From the Big O it’s bike route time. The trail turns to Class II bike route for 0.75 miles until it can rejoin the trail further south. One thing to notice on the way …


THE MILLRACE, GE: 44.047474 -123.065808

< http://www.eweb.org/public/documents/riverfront/Millrace_history.pdf>
Yes, that sluggish backwater you are crossing was once a vital power supply to Eugene industry (pre electrical 1856 and onwards into the electrical age). For years this was the industrial heart of Eugene, with mills and factories lining the banks. A wing dam was built on the river and the water diverted into the millrace. It was still powering mills up to 1928, when a flood breached the intake channel and the water power era came to an end.

Ride past it here, along Garden Ave., and up Walnut St. to rejoin the trail at Franklin Ave. From here it is a quarter mile downhill on the trail to the railroad underpass (take note of the demon painted on one wall) and 0.2 miles to the …


TRAIL END SOUTH AT THE KNICKERBOCKER BRIDGE, GE: 44.044362 -123.052576

Here you can take the bridge over to the North Bank Path and descent the river to your starting point. There is a bit of trail which goes onward into Springfield but it pinches out into a bike route and that vanishes, so don’t bother. It would be nice if they extended the trail here so it connected to the bottom of the North Bank Path over at Island Park.

Ride on!

TrailBear
Dodging Duck Fans

Great system, but...

By rvgrovers in September, 2010

Retired and riding delta recumbent trikes, my wife and I covered this system in 5 mile sections in each of 4 days. It ain't perfect, but it's close! The trails are wide, smooth, mostly level ,and paved with either asphalt or concrete, and the people using them know their trail etiquette (well, except for one group of old people walking three abreast and talking and ignoring our increasingly loud call-outs, finally leaving little room to pass).

The problem was the trails are incomplete in a couple of places and require some riding on regular streets; That, plus the many detours around construction projects. Two of the detours required riding on regular streets on sidewalks against traffic flow; with one of them poorly marked for us out-of-town visitors.

But this is petty criticism of a great multiple use trail system. We went to Eugene to ride it and we definitely will do it again!

TRAILBEAR RIDES THE FLOOD - West Bank Path of the Ruth Bascom Riverbank Path System

By toolbear in June, 2010

TRAILBEAR RIDES THE FLOOD - West Bank Path of the Ruth Bascom Riverbank Path System

6.4.10

Eugene, OR.

Rain! Have we got rain? TrailBear’s fur is getting sodden and he doesn’t like that one bit.

The rain started in Redding, CA and continued that night and the next day to Eugene, where it poured overnight. Again. All the rivers along the way were high and getting higher. In Eugene the Willamette was raging along, flooding the “low lying areas”, including portions of the Ruth Bascom Riverbank Path System (rather a mouthful, that).

Rain showers for the morning hours, but after lunch it began to break up. Enough so that TB, cautious about rain and wet trails, got the bike out and headed up the North Bank Path, thence to the East Bank Path, thence to the West Bank Path, followed by the South Bank Path, a ride over the Autzen Bridge and back up the North Bank Path to the flooded section in Alton Baker Park. He had looped the RBRPS and stayed dry.



THE RUTH BASCOM RIVERBANK PATH SYSTEM…

So what is with all these paths? Well, the Willamette comes into Eugene running westerly. At the Greenway Bridge it jogs to the north. East of the Greenway Bridge you have the North Bank Path on the (wait for it) … north bank and the South Bank Path on the south side. At the bend, the North Bank Path morphs into the East Bank Path while the South Bank Path morphs into the West Bank Path.

Clear as mud? The bottom line is that, to a bike, there are two trails – one on each bank of the river: North/East Paths and South/West Paths. These trails are joined at the hip by five (!) ped/bike bridges. You can ride up one side, down the other or daisy chain the system if desired. Lots of options for rides.

You can tell the trails apart because the Ruth Bascom System has the best trail signage and maps of any trail TB has encountered thus far. Give them a 7* for signage and a superb trail map – very readable and dense with information. (You want the .pdf titled “Riverbank Path System”. The “Riverbank Trail System” map is for children.)


THE WEST BANK PATH OVERVIEW…

Our trail is the West Bank Path, which is the upper end of the South Bank Path. It is a short 2.10 mile trail which starts in Maurie Jacobs Park (your full service trailhead) and ends up at the Owosso Bridge. Once you leave Jacobs, you leave facilities behind. No water or restrooms ahead. However, there are a number of benches. There are also two Class III bits along quiet residential streets – and not very long ones.

Give the West Bank Path 4* for scenery, 3* for facilities and 5* for pavement. It’s a smooth ride. Unless you are a dog walker, you ride the West Bank Path as part of something else. You can do a 10 mile loop by riding up the West Bank, over the bridge, down the East Bank Path and over the Greenway Bridge to your starting point. Let’s start the ride at the beginning at the …


WEST BANK PATH, MILE POST 0.0, GE: N44.06685 W123.11273

Here, at the base of the Greenway Bridge in Maurie Jacobs Park, is where the trails meet. It is easy to tell. The Ruth Bascom System has superb signage. There is a mile post every 0.25 miles. The posts are color coded to the trail color and have the direction and mileage to the next set of Points of Interest in both directions.

Just to be sure, there is also a rather attractive pavement marker at each station. Not your cheap stencil job, either: High end thermoplastic. As a clever bit, you can sponsor a mileage marker – Your name; this place.

You can tell the start of the trail – the mile post is parti-colored in blue and yellow for West Bank and South Bank and the sign tells you – West Bank Path – thisaway, South Bank Path – thataway. Head thisaway to …


THE BENCH IN WEST BANK CITY PARK, GE: N44.07403 W123.11611

There are no signs on trail telling you what parks you are riding through. These are managed as open space parks and are rather wild. Remember, you left facilities behind at Jacobs Park. Instead of clipped lawns, they have what are called “prairies”. Sure looks like a meadow to TB. Here there is a bench with a good view down river. Ahead is a little jog onto the street for a block, then back on the trail and off to …


THE NEPTUNE SPIRE, GE: N44.08717 W123.11934

A curious feature of the Ruth Bascom System are the planet pylons spaced along the trails. If you see a curious metal spire with signage along the trail, it is a planet pylon. Some have model planets on the tip of the spire. Most have been vandalized and the planets moved out of orbit. This is the Planet Neptune and here you make a hard left onto Copping St.

You ride Copping St. for five blocks to Owosso Dr. There you pick up the trail again. It will take you a short distance to the Owosso Bridge approach ramp and the end of the West Bank Path. Head over the bridge to the East Bank Path, turn right and ride up river to the Greenway Bridge. Cross it and you are back at the blue and yellow Mile Post 0.


Ride on!

TrailBear
Riding the flood on the Ruth Bascom System