Location: Downtown Medford, Oregon
Distance: The 20-acre park has a walking path around the perimeter. You can do the math if you’re motivated.
Hawthorne Park seems to always have people there, especially on weekends and sunny days. I stopped by on Sunday for a picnic, bit ended up going elsewhere because the park was overpopulated. Because today was Friday and windy, there were fewer people. It was still a mixed hat though, from the kids and moms on the playground to the homeless hippies who happily accepted some of the cookies my six-year-old walking buddy and I were noshing along the way.
The urban oasis known as Hawthorne Park has been around for a long time. In college I would sometimes seek refuge there after class. But in the past couple of years, Hawthorne Park has undergone a major renovation. Basically the only things that have stayed the same are the name and land. We started and ended our walk at the playground. It’s the best of both worlds: half of it has the latest fun equipment, and the other half is a nature-inspires play area. We walked past a few different sports courts, fenced-in dog parks, and a skate area. Part of the path goes under the I-5, which is also shared with the Bear Creek bike path. That trail runs through five different cities, definitely a feat I should write about if I ever accomplish the whole path. I also love the murals painted on the underpass.
-There are two parking lots at either end of the park. The one closest to downtown has a time limit on weekdays, but the one next to the playground (on Hawthorne Road) is free to park for as long as you want.
-Go in the daylight. While I’ve never encountered an issue, downtown can get sketchy after dark. I think the park is officially closed at sunset, anyway.
-The Pear Blossom Festival happens once a year in April. (In this case, it’s tomorrow.) That will probably be the only time parking will be an issuehere, since most other nearby parking lots are closed off for the run and parade. My secret is to park across the street in the expansive movie theater parking lot.