Just 35 minutes from Eugene, Shotgun Creek Recreation Site is best known for its 20-acre portion that has been developed for a variety of day use activities, though over 200 additional acres are undeveloped. In the park’s heyday, an informal dam along the creek created a swimming hole that was very popular with locals in the summer. The dam has since been removed, and the creek’s low flows are certainly not swimmable; that said, various spots along the creek still create small pools that will delight children, and the area has plenty of infrastructure and amenities to support several large groups and individuals during a day in the sun. The trees still throw the same shade, the air is still perfumed with fir, and the creek still babbles near the picnic areas. All in all, Shotgun Creek Recreation Area is just as pretty as it every was, and much less crowded than it used to be.
The park is divided into a north and south sections that are divided by the creek. To the south visitors will find extensive parking and a network of individual picnic areas sprouting off of paved walking paths. The entire area is shaded by giant Douglas firs and an understory of maple and alder, so the place stays relatively cool even in the summer. The beach area is just off of these loops, and it isn’t much to look at now; a little revegetation would go a long way here.
The north section is home to two huge picnic shelters that are available for reservation (call the Northwest Oregon District Bureau of Land Management, Springfield Interagency Office at 541.683.6600) and come with water. A large playground, restrooms, and a 6-mile hiking trail network are all nearby along with volleyball and a baseball field. Shotgun Creek runs right behind the developed section under a dense canopy of trees, and the summer flows here are low enough and tame enough for kids to safely explore.
Shotgun Creek Recreation Area is open year round, and the hours vary with daylight and seasons. Passes are required year round, as well.