Spencer Butte

Spencer Butte

  • Easy
  • 2 miles round trip or 1.5-mile loop
  • 800 feet elevation gain
  • Open all year

Eugene’s skyline is not dominated by buildings, but rather by a long, forested ridge topped with Spencer Butte’s haystack-shaped knob. Explore this natural skyline on the South Hills Ridgeline Trail, through forests so thick with Douglas fir and sword fern it’s easy to forget city streets lie below.

The Spencer Butte loop is admittedly the steepest and most heavily used part of this trail system, but it’s still the best introduction. Children enjoy the challenge of “climbing a mountain” without too much effort, and everyone enjoys the bald summit’s 360-degree panorama. The first white man to scale Spencer Butte was Dr. Elijah White, who came here in 1845 hoping to spy an easy wagon train route through the Cascade Range to the east. He named the peak for the then secretary of war.

From downtown Eugene, drive …

Other Trail Options

For an easier goal, hike to the …

This chapter is an excerpt from 100 Hikes/Travel Guide: Central Oregon Cascades.