If you want to inhale the fragrance of an Oregon Spring, try the Rhododendron Garden at Hendricks Park during bloom season. If I could take an aroma snapshot, I would share the sweet, clean scent. Simply luscious! It’s a lovely accompaniment to the colorful feast for the eyes: emerald lawns, aged evergreens, and a rainbow of rhodies and azaleas. In this mature garden of more than six decades, one of these blossoming beauties was more than triple the height of my 6-foot-4-inch husband. (It’s near the fountain, if you’re curious.)

I first learned of Hendricks Park when Colette shared park information and photos on My South Lane. After seeing that the garden map depicted plenty of benches in the Rhododendron Garden, I wanted to visit. It was prime time to do so; plans for the following Saturday were set.

Stretched across a hilly a corner of Eugene not far from the Ducks home field at the University, Hendricks Park is a lovely expanse of natural and cultivated Oregon beauty. The park contains two gardens, plus several hiking trails. I focused on the more moderate garden walks. You can find details – including hill profiles – for the other trails in the park map.

Rhododendron Garden

Stroll Wheels:

In this well-cared-for garden, paths meander through lush vegetation. Benches are scattered at creative locations along the path and the lawn’s periphery, one hidden under a rhody, another behind a trunk of huge girth, many in semi-private, restful nooks. Composed of stone, slatted wood, and more traditional materials, not all seating options are suitable for everyone, but if the nearest doesn’t suit you, the next is not too distant. Trees, ferns, and other opulent flora ensure that even when not flowering, this garden is worth a stroll.

Walk Details for Rhododendron Garden
Terrain: Sidewalk at the entrance, but mostly packed dirt and tiny gravel. The main loop is level or slightly sloped. Branching onto side paths quickly gets steeper. (We stuck to the main loop.)
Seating: Benches of various materials and heights (some very low) at intervals along the path and around the central lawn.
Fee: No fee
Restrooms: About 75 steps from parking, down the dirt path to the right of the main entrance walkway.
Directions: Use the Directions button near the top of this page to get Google Maps directions to the park. When you get close, signs will help guide you. From within the park, take Birch Lane to Skyline Blvd. The second parking lot turn in is closest to the entrance. The handicapped parking space is nearest to the restrooms.

Native Plant Garden

Stroll Wheels:

We took only a brief peek at the Native Plant Garden. The Moon Terrace and picnic shelter are situated about 50 steps from the nearest parking. Even in that short distance we saw Western Columbine (identified by a small plaque) and several other flowers I cannot name. Paths are steeper than the Rhododendron Garden, and benches are more widely spaced.

If you are looking for a more ambitious outing or have a draw to foliage native to Oregon, this section of Hendricks Park may be just the ticket.

Walk Details for Native Plant Garden
Terrain: Sidewalk at the entrance and decking, all level, to reach the Moon Terrace and picnic shelter. Trail paths are packed dirt and tiny gravel, with hilly terrain.
Seating: Bench locations are depicted on the park map.
Fee: No fee
Restrooms: No. Nearest are in the Rhododendron Garden.
Directions: Use the Directions button near the top of this page to get Google Maps directions to the park. When you get close, signs will help guide you. From within the park, there is a large parking lot off Floral Hill Drive, but the nearest parking (just a few spaces) is accessed from Birch Lane.