Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Trail Review: North Shore: Lowell, Oregon

Trail Smitten was stoked to run the North Shore Trail with her hubby

Lowell's North Shore Trail is one of my many favorite places to run in Lane County.  This place is too good to keep to myself.  Here's the "down and dirty" on this totally tubular place that will keep you stoked whether you're setting off for as little as six miles or as many as sixteen.

From Eugene go East on 58 for about 20 miles. Make a left at the covered bridge and continue to N. Shore Dr. Turn Right, this will become N. Boundary Rd. Continue till you come to the dam. There will be a parking lot with a bathroom by the boat ramp on your right. Trail head is on the left side, marked with a Hikers sign.

Why it's worth the trip:
Along the shore of Lookout Reservoir and North Shore Road there's a single track trail.  There are a few short easy climbs and lots of fun roots, rocks and creeks to keep things interesting.  I never get bored on this trail. The views are spectacular!  You'll enjoy sights of the lake, old growth trees, forest vegetation, streams and Eula Ridge which is often snow topped or shrouded in fog.  Pretty wildflowers bloom alongside the trails from spring to summer.

There are lots of out and back options. Only tricky part is that sometimes you are forced to get off the dirt trail and run on the road for a short jaunt.  It's easy to miss where the road leads to the trail again.  I enjoy the 14 mile out and back from the dam to the boat dock or vice versa.  If that's not enough running for you, you can continue past the boat dock for a mile and half out to the Ivan Oaks Campground.  There is a connector trail that will take your run even further and give you lots of good climbs.  I haven't attempted that portion of the trail yet.  

If those aren't enough reasons to get out there and get dirty, here are a few more:

  • There are nice clean, non stinky vault toilets WITH toilet paper AND locking doors!
  • There are picnic tables and fire pits. I've thought about taking my family there for a day trip.  Kiddos can go on a nature hike, cool off or float around in the lake, play in the forest, picnic at the tables, roast marshmallows or hot dogs around the fire with supervising adult while other person or people get in a run.  
  • The cool lake is a fabulous place for a post-run "ice bath"
  • There are few people on the trail.  With that said, this trail is shared with mountain bikers so keep your eyes and ears open.  
What to wear:
Plan on getting dirty!  In the spring there's lots of mud.  Wear a good pair of trail shoes.  I opt for my Montrail Masochists which are my shoes with the biggest lugs.  Plan on getting wet in the spring!  You'll be crossing creeks, puddles, and wet ferns encroaching the trail will brush against your legs.  Tights will keep you warm, dry and protect your legs from scratches.  Wear layers so you're comfortable in the various temperatures and ever-changing sun/rain variations that seem to be inevitable in this area.  There isn't water so bring your own.  I wear my Nathan Hydration pack for hands-free hydrating and to store all my extra clothes and snacks.

Take a Peek!

Beginning of the trail from the boat dock parking lot

Trees downed from the March wind storm

One of the many wooden bridges over a creek

Old growth forest

Sun streaming through the trees
Pretty trees
Lookout Reservoir
Eula Ridge behind Lookout Reservoir
Scaling a giant root of a fallen tree
Climbing over and through downed branches and logs 
Trail crew have been working hard on clearing the trails
Bloody and muddy ankles and calves = good time on the trail

Happy trails!


  1. Looks like we need to get our Warrior Team out there for some training time!

  2. Stephanie RushtonMarch 30, 2011 at 6:36 AM

    Thanks Leah! I swim out there in the summer, but I never knew there was a great running trail nearby. I will explore it today!

  3. I would love to get our Warrior Team out there! Hope you enjoy it Stephanie! Do you open water swim out there or just recreational? I was thinking that I'm going to do my open water swim training out there.