Fall frolic on Eugene's trails

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      EUGENE, Ore. Fall is a scenic time of year to take in some of Oregon's scenery.

      And if you enjoy the outdoors, Eugene's trail system offers some breathtaking views that won't leave you feeling too winded.

      The pond at Alton Baker Park is a popular landing for mallards. And like the ducks, most mornings, you'll find another group preparing to take flight.

      "You go on rides, you can cover a lot of ground and you can see a lot of things you just don't ever notice in a car," Mike Cantrell said.

      Cantrell is the ride coordinator for the Greater Eugene Area Riders. The group meets several times a week to pedal around the city and promote safe cycling. And you don't need to be a pro to tag along.

      "I started riding with GEARs to find new routes, because I got tired of riding the same old roads," Cantrell said.

      You don't even need the bike. Whether you prefer some tread or no tread, Paul's Bicycle Way of Life is just one of a handful of shops in Eugene that rents out bikes.

      "We'll rent anywhere from one day up to months if you wanted to," bike specialist Deireck Ritter said.

      Or for something that won't cost you a thing, you can take a hike.

      "The Ridgeline System has about 12 miles of trails accessing several really beautiful parks," Trevor Taylor said.

      Taylor is the restoration team supervisor for Eugene's Parks and Open Space.

      That includes Spencer Butte, which Taylor calls the crown jewel of Eugene's trail system.

      "From the top, you have great vistas of the entire region. You can see the Coburg Hills, you can see all the way to Three Sisters on a clear day," Taylor said.

      There's not a lot of clear days this time of year, but many people will make the hike to the top of Spencer Butte, rain or shine. They say it's a challenging hike with an even better view.

      "It's even nice in the rain," hiker Mary Wall said.

      The paths to the peak vary by distance and grade, but most are appropriate for any age.

      "It's a nice steepness and I can still do it. I'm 60 today," Wall said.

      Just two ways you can get a bird's eye view of Eugene. Paul's Bicycle Way of Life in Eugene also rents out cyclocross bikes, which are used in off-road races that ramp up during the fall and winter in Oregon.