Adventure Run #1: Camp Creek Road

McKenzie River on our way to Camp Creek Rd.
McKenzie River on our way to Camp Creek Rd.

“Don’t you get bored running?” is a question that I get asked a lot as a runner. My answer to this is “Yep, sure do! But only sometimes.” I’d venture to say that most runners have made it to the point of monotony during a run where they’d rather just stop and go home than do one more loop that they’ve done countless times before.

I’ve been there, and the situation makes me feel restless, which is an ironic thing to feel while you’re out running of all things! Obviously, because of busy schedules, every run can’t be an adventure run, but making time once a week or so to go for a fun run can keep you on the love-side of the love/hate relationship that I talked about in a previous post. In short, though, if you’re consistently bored while you’re running, you’re doing it wrong. 

The best way I’ve found to solve this problem is to break up my routine; it’s no wonder that running gets old when if I’m running down the same streets every day! I’d like to help out my fellow runners by reviewing runner-friendly routes in the area that have captivating scenery, and that you (hopefully) haven’t already explored. And, with increasing mileage comes increasing opportunities for restless running, and so as I progress with my marathon training you can expect more and more adventure run suggestions coming your way.

Camp Creek Rd.

Now, I know that global warming is a bad thing, but if there’s an upside to any issue, a warm and sunny run during November is definitely the silver lining to global warming.This week I went on an adventure run up Camp Creek Road in Springfield. I heard about the route from my marathon training partner, who raved about it after running there while training for the Portland Marathon. On this particular run we only ran 4 miles deep before turning back, but the road is long enough to accommodate a 17 miler, round trip.

We parked at a gravel lot about a half a mile away, crossed over the McKenzie and turned right onto Camp Creek Road. As soon as we made the turn onto Camp Creek we were greeted by orchards on the left and hills of autumn-colored calico on the right. These seasonal surroundings almost seemed out of place on this run because we went this weekend while it was 70 degrees out.

Even if you can’t get out to camp creek while we’re still in this sunny stage, I’d recommend trying it out before the trees are bare. Running under oaks clothed in goldenrod and pumpkin. In fact, this run is especially friendly to fall and winter running in the Willamette Valley since it is paved the whole way, which means you don’t necessarily have to end up a muddy mess every time you want to switch up your scenery.

View of McKenzie along Camp Creek Rd.

Leaves definitely puts this run at the top of my list for an autumn run in a place you haven’t been before (because we all know that Hendrix Park and Alton Baker are equally beautiful this time of year, but are not someplace new for you veteran Eugene runners out there).

At less than a mile in, the road meets up with the river and the two continue with each other intermittently from then on. The road is made up of continuous hills, but they are gradual enough that we didn’t notice them until we were halfway through our run.

A convenient way to get an extra bit of strength training while still being comfortable. Speaking of being comfortable, neither my training partner nor I truly felt good on this run—it was just one of those off-days, you know?

Despite our physical discomfort, we were reveling in how glorious it was outside and what perfect a place to run it was. That’s a characteristic of an ideal adventure run—a route that is fresh enough to give you an enjoyable run even on an off-day.To get to Camp Creek Road, head east on 126 towards Springfield, take the 42nd street exit towards Marcola, and then turn right onto Marcola Rd. There’s a gravel parking lot on Marcola just before the river where you can park. Camp Creek is a half mile up the road. Like I said, I only went 4 miles in, so that leaves much uncharted water, or in this case pavement, to explore!

Until next time, I’ll see you on the trails!

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