Lyle Hatfield Riverside Trail: Springfield

Lyle Hatfield Riverside Trail

Lyle Hatfield Riverside Trail, behind Riverbend Hospital

Over the years, I’ve spent my share of time waiting at hospitals around Oregon. Usually it is the more casual type of waiting, as someone I love and care about is getting routine testing or procedures done. But sometimes it is that stressful kind of waiting that nobody wants to experience.

Even irregular readers of this blog can probably guess that I need to get outside, a lot. Getting outside is how I clear my head and, more importantly, how I de-stress. Over the years I’ve pounded the pavement in a lot of hospital parking lots. I’ve seen a lot of hospital access roads and loading docks as I’ve walked circles around the buildings in an attempt to get some fresh air, exercise, and a moment of stress relief.

Bench along the Hatfield Riverside Trail

Bench along the riverside trail at Riverbend Hospital

PeaceHealth Hospitals recognize this need to get exercise in their online patient care manual where they recommend that caregivers walk everyday because “spirits are replenished with exercise.”  What they don’t tell you in that manual is that Riverbend Hospital in Springfield has a wonderful walking path around their building, including a nice stretch along the McKenzie River. I know about it because I asked a hospital worker for walking recommendations, and she suggested it only after I dismissed her suggestion to walk to the hospital gift shop.

With some searching, I finally found a map of the walking path — and others that they recommend — on the Riverbend website (see page 2 of this PDF). The loop I took the other day turned out to be a mile and a third and the only people I saw along the river, even though it was a beautiful day, were hospital workers out for a break.

McKenzie River from Hatfield Trail

The McKenzie River as viewed from the Lyle Hatfield Riverside Trail

To be clear, I don’t think this is a destination trail to seek out with friends for a Sunday dog walk. It is, however, a wonderful resource if you ever find yourself at Riverbend with the need to get outside.

Woodpecker Loop: Finley National Wildlife Refuge
Territorial Tastings


  1. Colette you verbalized so well my exact feelings in talking about fresh air, exercise, and stress relief. I carried this with me since my youth and there is nothing in this world that works as well for me. Thanks.

    • Thanks Jim. I basically grew up playing outside, and whenever life gets stressful for me you’ll find me outside. I know there are a few of us around.

  2. Looks like a lovely setting and great place to get some much needed fresh air.

  3. Sometimes it takes me awhile to read your blogs, but I’m always happy when I do and this one is no exception. Only wish the trail was here near our hospitals.

    • I’m surprised more hospitals don’t have designated walking paths, it seems so obvious to me. And, I was surprised the folks at Riverbend don’t promote this more, it is such a huge asset.

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