ELIJAH BRISTOW STATE PARK
Elijah Bristow State Park is located on the Middle Fork of the Willamette River, and is easy to reach via State Highway 58 southeast of the Eugene. The park was named for one of the first pioneer settlers in Lane County and is comprised of 847 acres of scattered meadows, woodlands and wetlands. 3 reservable group picnic areas, and numerous first come, first serve picnic sites provide plenty of opportunity relax and enjoy nature.
Salmon and steelhead trout abound during annual runs in one of the few stretches of the lower Willamette with fast-moving white water. Unique wildlife nesting and habitat areas fill the park's islands and sloughs.
Channel Lake, a land-locked river channel that meanders through the park, eventually empties back into the Willamette and provides habitat for Osprey, great blue heron, bald eagles and beaver. Elijah Bristow is also home to several threatened species, including the Western pond turtle and the Oregon chub. A dense canopy of broadleaf and evergreen trees with a lush understory of shrubs and herbaceous plants provides an excellent area for nature study and outdoor education.
Elijah Bristow has more than 10 miles of trail for hikers, mountain bikers and equestrians. Part of the trail system includes a portion of the Eugene to Pacific Crest trail. A separate equestrian staging area with a picnic shelter, barbecue grills, tables, water and a restroom make Bristow a favorite destination with local riding clubs. Kayakers and canoeists will appreciate a new access trail to the river for the start of their journey on the Willamette River Water Trail.
Acquired between 1971 and 1979 by gift from Lane County, transfer from the State Lands Division and purchase from various private owners, the park lies along the Middle Fork of the Willamette River just below Dexter Dam. Authorized for Willamette River Greenway acquisition by the 1973 State Legislature. Originally called Dexter State Park, the park name was changed in 1979 to honor Elijah Bristow 1788-1872, known as one of the first Euro-American settlers in Lane County. On his claim, Bristow founded the community of Pleasant Hill, located some 10 miles west of the park on Highway 58.