Looking for quiet? Check out this socially-distanced route in Polk County


Even though most of the state is starting to reopen, we here at Run Oregon believe things should be done planfully and thoughtfully. Running has always been an “allowable” activity outside, so long as distancing was taken into account. We thought we would highlight a few areas/routes that we have found to be less crowded and wanted to pass those along to our readers!

One of my favorite places to get a workout in through the pandemic has been the Rickreall to Monmouth Path. It runs right along Highway 99, is very flat, and only crosses a maximum of three roads over the duration. During my runs, I have yet to see more than 10 total people – bikers and runners – over the ~8.6 mile out-and-back. And even then, it’s only for a split second during passing.

I would recommend either parking near the north end of downtown Monmouth or at the Polk County Fairgrounds in Rickreall (my preference). Even though it is just under 9 miles in length, you can turn around at any time to reach your distance of choice. I have found it very nice to take my kids to so they can bike along with me, and its also ideal for a PR – straight as an arrow with minimal up and downs. Even though it’s near a highway, there is an abundance of farmland on the west side of the path, with both the Salem and Dallas hills in the near distance to keep your mind free and one with nature.

Afterwards, consider safely stopping into Eola Hills and/or Namaste Wineries in Rickreall (check their social media for opening updates) as you will pass both on the run.

About Author

Matt Rasmussen lives in Keizer, Ore. with his wife and three daughters. He enjoys watching hockey, going to as many breweries (618) and wineries (152) as he can, and all things Canada (he was born there). Matt was raised as a baseball player and officially transitioned over to running in 2010.

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