Just a short 10 mile drive from Salem is a small beautiful town known as Independence. Independence runs along the west side of the Willamette River, following the OR 51 route. Independence is near Monmouth in Polk County. I have always loved the Riverfront area but had never run there. A few weekends ago, I decided to check it out!
I actually parked in the next town over, Monmouth to get in a few extra miles. I parked near Dutch Bros along the main road and ran down Highway 51. This road has sidewalks to run on and I’ve run here several time with no issues. It’s generally nice and quiet as this is a small town. It’s only a couple miles and you come straight to the riverfront. From 51, take a left and one block down is the Riverview Park. It’s beautiful and there are sometimes concerts and or a farmer market going on. I ran here on a Sunday morning and nothing was going on. I made a quick stop at the public bathrooms up near the street before heading down on the trail. The bathrooms were open and clean. Note, the port-a-potties down in the park, were locked up.
I went down the hill from the bathrooms and took a left onto the trail. I crossed a small bridge onto a very nice paved trail in somewhat of a “woodsy” area. To my left, through the trees was the road. To my right through the trees was the Willamette River. There was little off road trails all over in the trees on the river side, but I stayed on the paved path while running on this day. I soon came to a well maintained dog park with locked port-a-potties just off the mail road. I felt very safe on this trail although I did have another runner with me.
A short distance down the paved trail was a stretching station. I found it very interesting so I stopped to take a photo. I continued to run and low and behold there were circuit stations all along the path. There were 12 total stations. To name a few, later hops, parallel bars, over/under logs, wall vaults, rope climb, hand over had ladder, and box jumps. The majority of the stations went around the sports area on a bark chip path. This does look like a well used area during summer outdoor sports season, but on this Sunday morning, there wasn’t anyone. On the paved area we went by only a few people far and few in-between.
We took the paved path back to the Riverview Park but this time we kept going along the river. We went behind new buildings, the new hotel in town and it continued to be a very pleasant, quiet run. The river trail itself was only a couple miles long, I added more running through town to add to my mileage that day. You can see in my Strava link at the bottom of this page. If you are looking for a family friendly walk, a nice lone walk or a short run, this is a great visit this time of year. I do believe this whole trail will fill up this summer. It’s connects two parks and two boat ramps. So, go enjoy it now!
- Independence River Trail with added miles running from Monmouth
- 11.70 miles total, about 3 miles on the river-trail, out and back and the sports loop
- Paved sidewalks in town, paved trail along the river, and bark chip trail on the sports complex loop