Riders who live near Eugene, Oregon are very lucky to have Mt. Pisgah in their back yards. Formally known as the Buford Recreation Area, this Lane County Park offers a variety of trails that are open to horses and hikers, including several that go to the top of 1,531-foot Mt. Pisgah.
The impressive 360-degree views from the summit encompass the entire south end of the Willamette Valley, extending from the Coast Range to the jagged peaks of the Cascades.
Because Mt. Pisgah rises 1,000 feet above the valley floor, the trails that run to its summit feature significant elevation gain. Other trails in the park climb more gently. Some trails run through open prairie, while others are shaded by oak woodlands or mixed conifer forest.
When Howard Buford deeded Mt. Pisgah to Lane County, he stipulated that the area’s trails must remain available to equestrians. Mr. Buford’s 2,363-acre legacy is a wonderful gift to the equestrian community, with 13 miles of equestrian trails are open to horses. No mountain bikes are allowed.
Mt. Pisgah’s trails offer plenty of variety. The trails to the summit offer excellent conditioning opportunities for your horse. Or you can stick to the lower-elevation trails for a gentler, more relaxing ride. You can link the trails in various ways to create your own loops. Keep an eye out for poison oak, because it is present in the park.
Mt. Pisgah is a great place for an after-work jaunt in summer or a leisurely weekend ride year round.
Getting There: From Eugene or Springfield, drive south on I-5 and take Exit 189 toward 30th Avenue. Merge onto McVay Hwy. and continue 0.6 mile. Turn left at E. 30th Ave., go over the freeway, and turn left on Franklin Blvd. (you’ll see signs for Springfield/Fwy. N.). In 0.5 mile turn right at Franklin Blvd. E., then left on Seavey Loop Road. Follow it 1.5 miles, then continue straight on Seavey Way for 0.3 mile. When you reach the park, turn left on Frank Parrish Road, and drive 0.2 mile to the main equestrian trailhead.
Fees: Daily use fee or annual pass
Season: Year round, though some trails are muddy in winter
Facilities: The parking area on Frank Parrish Road has room for many trailers, plus a toilet, garbage cans, and accessible mounting ramp.
More Information: Mt. Pisgah’s trails are covered in more detail in Riding Northwest Oregon Horse Trails, by Kim McCarrel, (Ponderosa Press, 2013) and in Riding Southern Oregon Horse Trails, by Kim McCarrel, (Ponderosa Press, 2014).