Alton Baker Park


Alton Baker Park is Eugene’s largest developed park.

Alton Baker Park is located east of the Ferry Street Bridge on the north bank of the Willamette River.  By car, from downtown you cross the Ferry Street Bridge and enter the main parking lot (Pa) from Club Rd. via Martin Luther King Blvd.

Alton Baker Park is over 230 acres, excluding the Whilamut Natural Area to the east. The first parcel of land for the park was purchased by Lane County in the late 19th century.  The remaining acreage was acquired in the early 1960's. The park gets it's name from the founder and original editor of Eugene's daily newspaper, the Eugene Register Guard.   This park along the Willamette River has many recreational features, including green lawns, ponds, a canoe canal, picnic areas, a dog park and miles of walking and running trails.


Alton Baker Park offers a number of birding opportunities.  You can follow the trails any number of different ways; you can spend just a few minutes studying the gulls at the display pond or hours birding the far reaches.

Starting at the main parking lot (Pa), there is a broad grassy area to the river and the display pond.  This is a favorite spot for gulls, geese, and numerous ducks of uncertain heritage as people like to feed the birds here, a practice actively discouraged by the city. Ring-billed Gulls, Glaucous-winged Gulls, and hybrids between the two dominate. Western, Herring, and Thayer’s can be found as well. On a few rare occasions, a Glaucous Gull has shown up here. Mallards and American Widgeon are the common ducks, with an occasional Eurasian Wigeon mixed in. On the pond, you might find Pied-billed Grebe and Great-blue Heron. On the river look for Double-crested Cormorant and Common Merganser.

One path leads along Patterson Slough (s), loops around Cuthbert Auditorium (c) and past the Science Factory (f).  A small heron rookery, active in winter, can be seen atop some large trees here; the site is often inhabited by osprey in the summer months.  Look for Hooded Merganser on the slough near Cuthbert.  Belted Kingfisher and Ring-necked Duck frequent this area and an occasional Great Egret is found.

A second path (r) parallels the river through tall cottonwoods and past open fields, bringing you to Autzen footbridge (a). Along the path you may find Black-capped chickadee, both Ruby-crowned and Golden-crowned Kinglet, Brown Creeper, Downy and occasionally Hairy Woodpecker, Winter and Bewick’s Wren, Yellow-rumped and Townsend’s Warbler, and in migration other warblers such as Orange-crowned, Yellow, and Wilson’s. Look over the river for Common Merganser and Lesser Scaup. From the Autzen footbridge, scan the rocks for Spotted Sandpiper, or if you are lucky, a Solitary Sandpiper. Looking upriver, you might find Mallards and Pied-billed Grebe in the quiet water to the north. An Osprey nest downstream from the Autzen bridge has been active for several years.

Day Island Road (i) provides a middle path through the park. Look along the maintenance area (m) and adjacent gardens for sparrows and thrushes, and pheasant. The woods are a favorite of Varied Thrush in winter.