Nothing beats a tasty picnic on a beautiful day. While the food you decide to fill your basket with is certainly important, where you choose to enjoy it is what makes a picnic memorable. The Eugene area has plenty of spots with some cool history, impressive landscapes, and stunning views. Here are five scenic spots to lay your blanket out for a meal under the sun.
Hendricks Park is Eugene’s first and oldest city park. It comprises the urban forest, the Rhododendron Garden, and the new Native Plant Garden. There’s plenty of picnic spots to try here, and the best by far is beside the Rhododendron Garden. This woodland garden is breathtaking, with thousands of rhododendrons on display. Mature Oregon white oaks and Douglas fir trees provide patches of shade for visitors. The picnic area meadow looks and feels like a fairytale thanks to its vibrant natural colors and singing forest birds. eugene-or.gov, Skyline Boulevard
This easy to get to but bustling picnic spot during the busy school season becomes a peaceful retreat in the summer months. The University of Oregon campus settles into a calm, quiet state while students are away. There’s ample room on the 295-acre campus for a relaxing outdoor lunch, but one of the best spots is in the triangular space between University Hall, Allen Hall, and Lawrence Hall. Remembered as the Old Campus Quadrangle South, the grassy area is engulfed in lush greenery and canopied by trees like a big leaf maple and a coast redwood. Old Campus Lane, University of Oregon campus
Begin your picnic with a short hike to the top of Mount Baldy. The trail loop is just under a mile long and leads to all-encompassing views of the Cascade Mountains, Spencer Butte, Creswell, Camas Swale, and downtown Eugene. The summit can be reached from two trailheads in the Ridgeline Trail System — the Spring Boulevard Trailhead and the Dillard East Trailhead — where remarkable views and a memorable picnic spot await at the top. eugene-or.gov, Dillard Road and Hidden Meadows Drive
The Owen Rose Garden holds more than 4,500 roses of over 400 varieties and includes picnic tables, restrooms, and a walking/biking path along the Willamette Riverfront. The garden is also home to the locally famous Owen Cherry Tree. It’s believed that Eugene Skinner, founder of the city of Eugene, planted the tree in the mid-1800s. Now, it’s recognized as an Oregon Heritage Tree, and its expansive shade provides relief to summer picnickers. eugene-or.gov, 300 N. Jefferson Street
Dorris Ranch is Oregon’s oldest working commercial filbert farm. Although it is a National Historic Site, it is still a working hazelnut orchard. Over the years, Dorris Ranch has supplied about half of all the commercial filbert trees now growing in the U.S. The ranch has a public park where visitors can relax. It includes picnic tables and natural areas to hang out for a scenic dinner. The park also features a flat walking path and the western access point of the Middle Fork Path, so meals can be completed with a stroll around the ranch or a trek to Clearwater Park. willamalane.org/dorris_ranch, 205 Dorris Street, Springfield