Emerald Valley Almanac

Summiting Pisgah

Photo Source: eugeneoutdoors.com

Athletic activities aren’t always easy to find during the “Age of Covid.”

Fortunately, you can always go for a hike.

And there might not be a better hiking spot in Lane County than Mount Pisgah, located just southeast of the Eugene/Springfield area. Mount Pisgah’s summit extends 1,531 feet above sea level, and is 1,000 feet above the Willamette River’s Coast and Middle Forks, which circulate below. 

“Our visitor numbers are higher than ever since Covid,” said Brad van Appel, executive director of the Mount Pisgah Arboretum. “You can feel safe here and get some great exercise. It’s been a real blessing for the community.

“Our car counter numbers, which normally put us somewhere around 400,000 people a year, have spiked up to about 600,000 in the past year.”

The trails are for hikers – and horses – only. No bicycles or motorized vehicles. 

Some of the trails are challenging, particularly Trail No. 1, Beistel’s West Summit Trail, a steep 1.4-mile trek that gets easier after you reach the midpoint. 

“If you’re an athlete, you might want to try Trail 1,” van Appel said. “It offers some of the best scenery. There’s a great view of the West Valley as you climb that trail.” 

Mount Pisgah’s west slope is a 210-acre arboretum that is a virtual kaleidoscope of colors with its vast array of plants. “There are eight different ecosystems and habitats for people to explore,” van Appel said. 

The arboretum itself offers seven miles of trails, but the remainder of the Howard Buford Recreation Area features another 22 miles of trails, so there’s no shortage of ways to scale the summit. 

Whether you’re there for a workout or to enjoy the beautiful arboretum as the seasons change, there’s something for everyone at Mount Pisgah. 

So the next time you hear someone state that there’s nothing to do nowadays … 

Tell him to go take a hike. 



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