How “Sweet” It Is: Hiking in Oregon’s Coast Range

How “Sweet” It Is: Hiking in Oregon’s Coast Range

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One of the great things about living (as I now do) in Eugene, Oregon are the nearby natural wonders: Mountains, lakes, rivers, streams, and the beaches and sand dunes at the shore of the Pacific Ocean.

During the past year I’ve had an opportunity to explore some of the scenic places with an hour or so by car from my home.

And the sweetest of these visually “sweet” destinations is in the Coast Range west of the Willamette Valley.

In mid-April of this year I joined fellow members of the Eugene-based Altair Ski & Sports Club on its annual trek up and down the watersheds of Beaver Creek and Sweet Creek, not far from the little “wide spot in the road,” Mapleton, which is about an hour west of Eugene and twenty minutes east of the town of Florence on the coast.

Between about 10 am and  2 pm, including a lunch break along Sweet Creek, we hiked a combined total of about 5 miles along three separate trails from two different parking areas. And each trail ran close along the creeks so we were never far from the sound of water roaring over falls or through rapids. Afterwards, several of us stopped at the Mapleton Caffeination Station for coffee and snacks. It made for a full-day outing, leaving Eugene about 9 a.m and returning there by 4 p.m.

This short film which I produced for community TV stations will take you on a visual journey along these mountain creeks.

(Updated August 6, 2020: The Sweetness of Spring has been in four film festivals and won the “Best Inspirational Film” award at the 2019 Clatskanie International Film Festival in Clatskanie, Oregon.)


If you’re going…

You’ll need a car to reach the trailhead for these hikes.

For more information about visiting Sweet Creek and nearby places, visit this page on the Travel Lane County Website.

If you don’t live in or near Eugene, here’s what you need to know:

Arriving in Eugene by Car: Eugene is just off Interstate 5, about a 2-hour drive south of Portland, and less than 5 hours from Seattle, plus stops, and depending on traffic.

Arriving in Eugene by Air: Several airlines serve the Eugene airport where you’ll find rental cars and shuttle and taxi service.

Arriving by Train: Amtrak’s Coast Starlight Seattle-Los Angeles train passes through Eugene about 12:30 p.m. headed northbound and about 5:00 p.m. going south, once daily in each direction. The railroad’s Cascades trains and buses provide more frequent service between Eugene and Seattle, cities in between, with some service to Vancouver, British Columbia.

For lodging, dining, and more visitor information on Eugene and Lane County: Visit the Travel Lane County Website.

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