Outside is the place to be when summer weather is officially here to stay, and many of the options to comfortably enjoy the heat in Eugene involve water. Take a dip in swimming holes in the area, or travel to a water park and enjoy all it has to offer. Eugene and its surrounding areas have it covered, with refreshing activities that cater to both adults and children.
Water features, both manmade and natural, are plentiful in the area. Triangle Lake Slide Rock, located off Hwy. 36 near Blachly, is an all-encompassing, beautiful spot for cliff jumping, swimming and gliding down natural water slides. Situated at Lake Creek Falls, this scenic venue features a waterfall that funnels into a pool begging to be swam in.
If Triangle Lake isn’t enough, there are plenty more areas to enjoy scenery while going for a relaxing swim, and many include a view of a nearby waterfall. You don’t have to be an avid hiker to reach these spots, either. In Lorane, there is Kentucky Falls, where visitors can take in the picturesque falls while fishing or swimming in the creek. A 28-mile drive from Eugene and a 4-mile hike are all that’s needed to experience this.
And if you don’t mind a bit longer drive, Oakridge has no shortage of places to cool off. Diamond Creek Falls, Salmon Creek Falls and Salt Creek Falls are there waiting to be explored, each with minimal hikes to the falls and accompanying swimming holes.
But wait, there’s more. Brice Creek Falls, Trestle Creek Falls and Wildwood Falls are located near Cottage Grove, with no more than an hour’s drive needed to take in the scenery at these beautiful sites and plunge into deep pools. In addition, McDowell Creek Falls outside of Lebanon comes highly recommended as a place to take the kids in summertime and, as part of a leisurely 4.5-mile hike with 650-foot elevation gain, to view Royal Terrace Falls and Majestic Falls, and swim in Crystal Pool.
To properly enjoy these falls and the accompanying swimming holes and water slides, it is important to be exactly sure as to the depth of the water before jumping as well as its ferocity. Check for hidden rocks and logs before you leap. For safety purposes, it is also imperative that you do not go alone and do not take lightly rocks that some use as launching pads into pools.
On top of these natural settings, there are water extravaganzas even closer to home. Amazon Pool is kid-friendly and open in the summer, while Skinner Butte Park and River Playground, situated along the Willamette River, gives children the opportunity to climb a replica of the butte and, after that exertion, cool off and bask under a rain circle, a water play feature located in nearby Kalapuya Village.
It doesn’t have to be summer to enjoy many water features in and around Eugene if you don’t mind being inside. Willamalane Park Swim Center and Splash! are open year-round, and while the water slides and waterfalls in these swim centers aren’t picturesque spectacles of nature, they do suffice for avid swimmers and families looking for a good time when the weather isn’t so hot.
But at this time in the year, it is about to get really warm out there, which means it’s time to grab bathing suits, get in the car and trek to the waterslides, waterfalls and adjoining pools spread throughout the area, with water ready to be waded in and an array of scenery to be enjoyed.