Brice Creek - Trail Running with Friends

by Jodi

I first heard of Raina after I ran the Eugene Marathon with Carissa in April 2012.  She was a blogger.  A fast runner.  A mother.  A wife.  A follower of Jesus.  And she had quite an online presence and following.  Raina also ran Eugene that year so we exchanged a few emails about the marathon then swapped blog addresses and started reading each other's blogs.  A virtual friendship developed between us.  When one of us raced, we cheered each other on offering encouragement via email or blog comments.  We talked about meeting in person, but never followed through because she lives in the country outside of Cottage Grove - a good 2+ hours from my home in Newberg.  Our friendship grew over the last 2.5 years.

At the end of December, my brother Shane (who was visiting from Montana) and I drove down to Eugene to run to the summit of Mt. Pisgah.  We were down and back in a handful of hours.  Our excursion reminded me that Eugene really is not that far from my house.  I emailed Raina and we set up a date to finally meet in person.

Today was our day.  We met in Cottage Grove and then drove together to the Brice Creek trailhead in the Umpqua National Forest outside of Cottage Grove.  The weather was warm for a January day, topping out in the mid 50's.  We ran in short sleeves and were comfortable.  The single track trail through the mossy, lush, green old-growth forest paralleled Brice Creek.  It was so lovely!

Selfie before we got too sweaty
At times we ran just above the creek.  Others we climbed up into the forest only to emerge on bluffs way above the creek below.
On the bluff 300 feet above the creek

The water was so pure and clean-looking, giving us a view of the creek bottom below.  Private swimming holes were all over this creek.  I can't wait to come back in the summer and run this trail on a hot day.

the trail was on the bridge above the water
In one section of the trail a GIANT tree had uprooted and crashed across a ravine, the trunk blocking the trail on one side and the massive, uprooted root ball creating a gaping hole we had to climb up and over on the other side.  It was pretty cool.

A small, beautiful waterfall was the gem of the portion of the trail we ran.  It was so inviting that even on a winter day we picked our way down to the shore and across the rocks to stand and look over the edge.

me on the edge of the waterfall
A bigger waterfall - Trestle Creek Falls - is accessible off the Brice Creek Trail too, but we didn't have enough time to add in the additional three mile loop to see the waterfall.  We'll have to do that on another trip.

For the most part this trail was easily navigable, with the fallen tree being the biggest obstacle.  There was one portion just up from the waterfall that also required careful footing to get through a rocky, angled portion of the trail.

This section required a little balancing and careful footing
But it still is a single track trail with rocks and roots waiting to trip you up if you dare to take your eyes off the trail for more than a second.  TWICE I tripped and fell, catching myself just inches before my face hit the dirt.  So be warned and run slowly and carefully.

Raina and I ran the trail out four miles, then crossed the trail on a bridge to the paved road we drove in on.  We ran the road back to our car at a faster pace because we had to get home to our kiddos.  Overall we ran 8 miles.
The trailhead where we parked.
The Brice Creek trail was definitely worth the drive.  It was so fun to run a trail I normally would hike and to do it with a new-old friend.
Isn't she cute?  She still looks 20!
Thank you Raina for giving up your day to tour me around the trail system that you know and love.  I so enjoyed our day together and look forward to many more in the future.


  1. It was such a fun time to spend together. Trail running with friends is my favorite outlet. It seems that sharing is made easier when you have a bond of dirt and sweat! Thanks for driving my way so we could do this, Jodi!
    Already planning the next one :)

    1. I agree that camaraderie is formed side-by-side, sweating it out. It was fun!

  2. I've enjoyed following Raina's running blog over the years, too! How great that the two of you were able to go on a trail run together in such a pretty place. The water, moss and trees are gorgeous!

    1. It was pretty fun Tia. We always appreciate your comments on our posts too. The running community is pretty special. Have a great day.