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USA Parks
Willamette Valley Region
Elijah Bristow State Park
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Elijah Bristow State Park © Rick Obst / CC BY 2.0
Elijah Bristow State Park © Rick Obst / CC BY 2.0
Elijah Bristow State Park © Rick Obst / CC BY 2.0
Elijah Bristow State Park © Rick Obst / CC BY 2.0
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Wheeler Road
Dexter, Oregon   97431
(lat:43.9364 lon:-122.8421) map location

Phone: 800-551-6949
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.
History of the Area
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.

Elijah Bristow State Park is located near Cottage Grove, Eugene and Springfield

1. Elijah Bristow Horse Loop: This 2-mile loop is perfect for horseback riding and hiking, offering a scenic view of the park's diverse wildlife.

2. River Trail: A beautiful trail that runs along the Willamette River providing stunning views of waterfowl and other aquatic life forms.

3. Turtle Flats Trail: An easy hike with interpretive signs about local flora and fauna; it leads to an observation deck overlooking turtle nesting sites in wetlands area.

4. Lost Creek Nature Trail: A short but informative walk through lush forested areas where hikers can learn more about native plants from informational plaques placed throughout this path.

5. Meadowlark Prairie Overlook Pathway: Offers panoramic views over prairie lands filled with wildflowers during springtime, also great spot for bird watching.

6. Deerhorn Park Road Hiking Route: It's a longer route which takes you deeper into woods giving glimpses of deer herds if lucky enough.

7. Fisherman's Point Walkway: As name suggests, ideal place for fishing enthusiasts as well as those who enjoy serene riverfront walks.

8. Equestrian Trails: These are multiple trails spread across park specifically designed keeping equestrians in mind though they're open to walkers too.

9. Blue Heron Loop: Named after frequent sightings of blue herons here ; offers peaceful stroll around lake side.

10. Baldy Peak Track: For experienced hikers looking forward challenging climb leading up to Baldy peak rewarding them breathtaking vistas at top.

11. Raccoon Run: Shorter woodland track suitable families or beginners wanting explore nature without much physical exertion.

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1. Starting from Eugene, head east on OR:58 E/Willamette Hwy.
2. Continue driving for approximately 12 miles until you reach Lowell.
3. In Lowell, turn left onto Jasper:Lowell Road and continue for about 4 miles.
4. At the junction with Pengra Rd., turn right and drive another mile before turning left onto Elijah Bristow Park Road (also known as Camp Creek Rd).
5. Follow this road for around half a mile until you arrive at Elijah Bristow State Park.

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Oregon State Parks