The trails are only open from April-September, so make the most of this summer and head about 13 miles west of Salem to check it out. There trails are a mix of gravel, dirt, and grassland and most of the time is a solitary place to just run amongst nature. There is a restroom at the start/finish/parking area as well. There are some signs that state “no jogging” nearby, so please remember to run only :). Seriously though, just be sure to be courteous to hikers, families, photographers, and wildlife and no littering!
Click here to check out the route. The race begins at the first wooden power pole to the south of the parking area and ends just as you re-enter the parking lot.
The start is on the gravel Coville Road – with the line right at the first wooden power pole. Begin by heading uphill through the parking lot and onto the uphill gravel path. Keep right at the first fork at .23 miles. Another fork will appear at mile .5 – also stay right. Another fork will appear shortly thereafter (mile .65) and again a right will be taken up the hill. At mile .75, you will exit the tree canopied section and be spit out to an amazing view on the edge of a large field. Keep moving along the very outside of the field. Mile 1 will hit as you hit the field’s curve.
At mile 1.75, there will be some tall (think feet tall) grass which creates a little mini running “lane” between the tall grass and the lake. Just afterwards, the grass will give way to a loose gravel trail before hitting mile 2 near the northwest corner of Morgan Lake. Beyond that is a parking lot (2.25) and rural Smithfield Road. Runners should hang a left as they enter the road and head west for .25 miles until there is another gravel trail leading back south. I have run this on numerous occasions and the gate was open once and closed once. When closed, there is an easy way to navigate through the barbed wire so fear not. Stay on the gravel path for a good stretch as you pass by blackberry bushes, farmland, a small lake, and a variety of marshes for wildlife and water fowl. Just make sure you keep some energy in the tank.
At mile 3.5, there is a significant climb (which will then be followed by 2 additional climbs). Though the first climb is steep, it is short (keep to the right at the fork at mile 3.73 and you will level off). At mile 3.91, you will (yet again) stay right at the fork and enter the dirt trails under thick treed canopies. This gradual climb will push you a bit more upwards before leveling off (and thankfully going downhill a bit near the end). At mile 4.45, you will hit a sign before heading up to the observation deck at the top of Baskett Butte. Circle the observation deck before heading back down the hill, likely with a smile on your face because your climbs are DONE! Turn right at that previous sign and make your final downhill stretch to the finish line at the parking lot.
Here is a little cheat sheet you could print and run with if you so desired:
- Start at power pole
- Rt at fork .23
- Rt at fork .25
- Rt at fork .65
- Follow grass
- Lt on Springfield Rd.
- Lt on gravel entry
- Uphill at 3.5
- Rt at fork 3.73
- Rt at fork 3.91
- Rt at sign 4.45
- Circle Obs. Deck
- Rt at sign 4.69
- Finish at parking lot
We will be checking those times!
Keep checking out our Run Oregon Virtual Time Trial for routes in other areas and for other distances. As always, if you have a great route you’d like us to review and potentially add to our line-up, be sure to let us know (and include a public link to the map). Before you send your route in, though, make sure it’s a safe route with no road crossings (or any road crossings are safe for pedestrians and easy to see cars coming as you approach).