A dirt/gravel doubletrack service road through Oregon State University's McDonald Research Forest, Forest Road 500 is one of the main access paths guiding runners and bikers through the northern part of the forest property. Like other forest roads in the McDonald, Road 500 is closed to public motorized vehicles; so, despite being doubletrack, it feels like a running trail.
Northbound access is gained from the popular Lewisburg Saddle parking area on Sulphur Springs Road; for southbound access, park at the Peavy Arboretum parking area. Regardless of starting points, expect a solid climb at the beginning of your run. Connections with Vineyard Mountain Trail
, Forest Road 600 (Patterson Rd.)
, and the Peavy Arboretum trail network make this an arterial connection for numerous loops in the McDonald Forest.
Very popular among dog-walkers, families, and mountain bikers, expect crowds in nearby parking areas on weekend afternoons. Still, the quantity of miles in the McDonald make solitude relatively easy to find by running a distance from the trailheads.