Explore the McKenzie River Ranger District (Hwy 126)

The McKenzie River Ranger District is in the middle part of the Willamette National Forest, bordering the Deschutes National Forest. Accessible from the west via Highway 126 from Eugene, OR, or from the east on Highway 20 and State Rout 242 from Sisters.

The McKenzie River Ranger District area is a collection of stunning lakes and waterfalls, epic mountain biking and rafting, and opportunities to explore history of the area of the iconic Mckenzie River basin.

Hiking

Get your water fix at the Upper McKenzie Trail Area hiking the Water Falls Loop Trail #3503 where you can see the popular Sahalie and Koosah Falls. View the headwaters of the McKenzie River at the stunning Clear Lake Loop Trail #4341.

Other Recreation

Oregon Fly Fishing on The McKenzie River

Stocking Oregon's high lakes

June 15, 2018 not all of Oregon’s high lakes support fish populations. To help create fisheries in some of these off-road areas, ODFW stocks hundreds of lakes every two years with brook, rainbow and cutthroat trout. Access the ODFW locations by clicking on the above link.

Weekly trout stocking schedule

Each year, ODFW stocks millions of trouts in dozens of reservoirs, lakes and ponds throughout the state. You can use the search and filter functions to search the stocking schedule for specific locations and dates. The schedule is subject to change without notice; see individual waterbody listings in the Recreation Report for updates.

The U.S. Army Corps stockings have been incorporated into the ODFW stocking schedule.  ODFW provides U.S. Army Corps stocking information as a courtesy to anglers, but changes may be made to those stockings without notice.

The O’Leary trail complex and Upper McKenzie Trail Area offer some of the best mountain biking on the forest. Road cyclists will love the challenge of the McKenzie Pass-Santiam Pass National Scenic Byway and the views are spectacular from your vehicle as well!

Don’t miss the Dee Wright Observatory, along the scenic McKenzie Highway (Hwy 242), for panoramic views of Cascade peaks such as Mount Washington and the Three Sisters. For Highway 242 opening and closing dates, check the Oregon Department of Transportation website.

History buffs will enjoy a stop at Fish Lake Interpretive Day Use sites, or try spending a night at an historic guard station (reservations required) such as Box Canyon Guard Station or Indian Ridge Lookout.

Take a guided trip down the river with one of our McKenzie River Permitted Outfitters and Guides.

Oregon Scenic Byways Official Driving Guide

Cougar Reservoir Area area description

In the summer months, Cougar Reservoir is a popular place for boating, swimming and fishing. Cougar Reservoir is located outside of Blue River along Aufderheide Drive, part of the West Cascades National Scenic Byway.

The McKenzie River (Wikimedia): is a 90-mile (145 km) tributary of the Willamette River in western Oregon in the United States. It drains part of the Cascade Range east of Eugene and flows westward into the southernmost end of the Willamette Valley. It is named for Donald McKenzie, a Scottish Canadian fur trader who explored parts of the Pacific Northwest for the Pacific Fur Company in the early 19th century.[6][7][8] As of the 21st century, six large dams have been rainbows and a large number of Brook trout in the upper reach of the McKenzie River. The South Fork of the McKenzie River is the major tributory of the McKenzie River and is dominated by Cougar Reservoir.

Courgar Reservoir Lane County:

Reachcode: 17090004007144 | Area: 1129.3 acres | Shoreline: 17.4 mi |

(From Atlas of Oregon Lakes, Johnson et al. 1985). Cougar Lake is a long, narrow multi-purpose reservoir, built by the Corps of Engineers in 1963 by damming the South Fork of the McKenzie River about three miles south of Rainbow. The lake was named Cougar because of its proximity to Cougar Creek, a small stream used to designate the dam site on preliminary surveys. At the time the rockfill dam was constructed it was the largest in Oregon. This reservoir is one of 13 multi-purpose water projects built and operated by the Corps in the Willamette Valley. Operation is primarily for flood control and hydroelectric power generation. Recreational use is, of course, important and the lake is used all year, although maximum use occurs during the early summer months. Boating and fishing pressure is heavy; the lake contains coho salmon, rainbow, cutthroat and Dolly Varden trout. Overnight camping is available at three Forest Service parks around the lake. Public use is probably less than might otherwise be the case because the steep slopes that surround the lake leave little flat land adjacent to the water. Also, as with any flood control reservoir, the late summer draw-down exposes steep mud banks which further restrict access.

The drainage basin is entirely within the Willamette National Forest and is an area of rugged topography and diverse forest types, typically Douglas fir and western hemlock. The shoreline is also entirely within federal ownership. Bank stabilization at Cougar Lake has been a concern for years and has been partially improved by continued application of fertilizer to the above-water areas to encourage vegetation growth. In addition, the Forest Service and Soil Conservation Service have worked together to establish vegetative cover within the drawn-down portion of the lake.

Major ion chemistry in Cougar Lake is typical of other Willamette Valley reservoirs. Sodium and chloride concentrations, alkalinity and conductivity are all fairly low, as are phosphorus and chlorophyl concentrations. Very few, if any, macrophytes have been observed in this deep lake. Water transparency is high relative to other water quality characteristics (Secchi disk depth = 25.3 feet; 7.7 meters), indicating lower trophic conditions. However, phytoplankton species are more typical of a higher trophic state. Overall, Cougar Lake is classified as mesotrophic.

South Fork of the Mckenzie River

Aufderheide Scenic Byway (Forest Service Road 19) is part of the 220 mile West Cascades Scenic Byway, which runs north to south, skirting the northern half of Oregon's Cascade Mountain Range. 

Aufderheide Drive (Forest Service Road 19) connects Highways 126 (McKenzie River) and 58 (Oakridge), winding through the lush undergrowth of the majestic Willamette National Forest and meandering along the cold, clear waters of the McKenzie and Willamette Rivers. Popular with cyclists and hikers, the road connects Oakridge / Westfir with the McKenzie River communities. Many popular recreation sites are located along the route, including Cougar Reservoir and Terwilliger (Cougar) Hot Springs. This route is not maintained during the winter, generally from November until April.

An audio cassette or CD is available for travelers of the Robert Aufderheide Memorial Drive segment of the West Cascades National Scenic Byway. It can be picked up and returned, free of charge, at the Middle Fork Ranger District and the McKenzie River Ranger District offices.

Cougar Lake Campgrounds and Boat Launches:

Delta Campground: From Blue River, Or, take State Rt. 126 east 4.5 miles to Cougar Reservoir/Forest Rt. 19 signs. Turn right at sign onto Forest Rt. 19 (Aufderheide Forest Drive) and go 0.1 miles to campground sign. Turn right at sign and go 0.8 miles to campground.

Echo Ramp Day Use Area, From Blue River, OR, travel 4.5 miles east on Highway 126 to Aufderheide Drive (Forest Road 19). Proceed south on Aufderheide Drive, taking a right at the Y and climbing to the top of Cougar Reservoir. Turn east on Forest Road 1993, crossing Cougar Reservoir and winding around the lake 2 miles to Echo Picnic Area and Boat Launch.

Slide Creek Campground boat ramp: From Blue River, OR, take State Rt. 126 east 4.5 miles to Cougar Reservoir/Forest Rt. 19 signs. Turn right at sign onto Forest Rt 19 (Aufderheide Forest Drive) and go 0.4 miles to an intersection. Turn right, staying on Forest Rt. 19, and go 9.1 miles, crossing the S. Fork McKenzie River bridge, to an intersection. Turn left onto a gravel road and go 1.3 miles to campground on left.

Sunnyside Campground: From Blue River, OR, take State Rt. 126 east 4.5 miles to Cougar Reservoir/Forest Rt. 19 signs. Turn right at sign onto Forest Rt. 19 (Aufderheide Forest Drive) and go 0.4 miles to an intersection. Turn right, staying on Forest Rt. 19, and go 9.1 miles, crossing the S Fork McKenzie River bridge, to an intersection. Turn left onto a gravel road and go 0.1 miles to campground on left.

Cougar Crossing Day Use Area is located on the north side of Forest Road 19 in the Cougar Crossing Campground. The day use site is adjacent to Cougar Reservoir where the South Fork of the McKenzie River pours into the reservoir.

Cougar Crossing: From Blue River, OR, take State Rt. 126 east 4.5 miles to Cougar Reservoir/Forest Rt. 19 signs. Turn right at sign onto Forest Rt 19 (Aufderheide Forest Drive) and go 0.4 miles to an intersection. Turn right, staying on Forest Rt 19, and go 9.1 miles, crossing the S Fork McKenzie River Bridge, to campground on right.

French Pete:From Blue River, OR, take State Rt. 126 east 4.5 miles to Cougar Reservoir/Forest Rt. 19 signs. Turn right at sign onto Forest Rt 19 (Robert Aufderheide Memorial Drive) and go 0.4 miles to an intersection. Turn right, staying on Forest Rt 19, and go 10.5 miles to campground on right.

Frissel Crossing: From Blue River, OR, take State Rt. 126 east 4.5 miles to Cougar Reservoir/Forest Rt. 19 signs. Turn right at sign onto Forest Rt. 19 (Aufderheide Forest Drive) and go 0.4 miles to an intersection. Turn right, staying on Rt. 19, and go 22.9 miles

Box Canyon Campground: From Blue River, OR, take State Rt. 126 east 4.5 miles to Cougar Reservoir/Forest Rt. 19 signs. Turn right at sign onto Forest Rt. 19 (Robert Aufderheide Memorial Drive) and go 0.4 miles to intersection. Turn right, staying on Forest Rt. 19, and go 25.3 miles to campground sign. Turn right at sign and immediately left into campground.

Trail Lakes: Otter Lake: at one time fishing for Bull trout enjoyed the reputation for excellence. Otter Lake is located approzimately 29.3 miles in the South Fork of the McKenzie River watershed via Aufderheide Dr/ NF-19. Follow Aufderheide Dr for approzimately 25.9 miles to NF-1957. Turn left onto NF-1957 and follow nearly 3.4 miles to the end of the road. Park and take the Erma Bell Lakes Trail 3563 to either Otter Lake or continue to the lower, middle and upper Erma Bell Lakes. Take the left fork of the trail, the Irish Mountain Trail 3588, to Otter Lake.

Terwilliger Hot Springs (Cougar Hot Springs) From Wikipedia. Terwilliger Hot Springs, also known as Cougar Hot Springs, are geothermal pools in the Willamette National Forest in the U.S. state of Oregon, 53 miles (85 km) east of Eugene. The springs drain into Rider Creek, which in turn drains into Cougar Reservoir. They are about a quarter mile from Forest Service Road 19, also known as Aufderheide Memorial Drive. There is an 8.00 day use fee.

The Wild and Senic Main Stem of the McKenzie River: (National and Senic Rivers)was designated in 1988 for its outstandingly remarkable values of fish, scenic quality, recreation, hydrology/geology and water quality. The "Blue McKenzie" is well-known for its exceptional water quality, resulting from low turbidity, absence of organic material and the high water quality of its tributaries. The excellent quality of its fish habitat supports a variety of fish species, including three native wild trout—rainbow, bull and cutthroat trout—as well as wild spring Chinook. Recent vulcanism, including three distinctive lava flows, has shaped the river into pools, dramatic waterfalls and cascading whitewater. These features provide for exceptional whitewater boating, hiking and fishing. Motorized boats (except for rescue craft) are not allowed in the mainstem river above the Goodpasture Covered Bridge.

The free flowing reaches of the Mckenzie River are demanding waters for those who make the decision to run them. We recommend using the services of licensed guide to raft these waters or utilized the training and services offered by kayak clubs to successfully navigate the class 2 to class 4 rapids.

Oregon Fly Fishing: The McKenzie River

Our journey up the Mckenzie watershed begins at I-5. The journey begins with an introduction to the Lane County Parks Where Passes and Permits Are Required:

Lane county parks where a day or annual pass are needed Ada
Archie Knowles-Armitage-Austa Landing-Baker Bay-Bellinger Landing-Bender Landing-Big River-Blue Mountain-Bohemia Saddle-Currin Bridge-Deadmond’s Ferry-Deadwood Landing-Deerhorn-Dorena Bridge-Eagle Rock-Fall Creek-Farnham Landing-Finn Rock-Forest Glen Landing-Greenwood Landing-Hamlin-Harbor Vista-Harvest Lane Hayden Bridge-Heceta Beach-Helfrich Landing-Hendrick’s Bridge Wayside-Hileman Landing-Howard Buford Recreational Area-Lasells Stewart-Leaburg Landing-Linslaw-Mapleton Landing-Mercer Lake-Mt. Pisgah-Munsel Landing-Old McKenzie Hatchery-Orchard Point-Perkins Peninsula-Richardson-Rodakowski-Schindler Landing-Siuslaw Falls-South Beach-Stewart Bridge-Tide Wayside-Tiernan Landing-Triangle Lake-Unity/Fall Creek-Vickery-Westlake (Siltcoos)-Whitely Landing-Wildwood -ZumwaltZumwalt.

Lane County Boating Facilities

National Forest Campgrounds. RESERVATIONS: 1-877-444-6777 or make on-line reservation. SUPERVISOR ADDRESS 3106 Pierce Parkway Suite D Eugene, Oregon 97477 541-225-6300 RANGER DISTRICT ADDRESSES Detroit HC73, Box 320 Mill City, Oregon 97360 503-854-3366 McKenzie River 57600 McKenzie Hwy. McKenzie Bridge, Oregon 97413 541-822-3381 Middle Fork 46375 Hwy. 58 Westfir, Oregon 97492 541-782-2283 Sweet Home 3225 Hwy. 20 Sweet Home, Oregon 97386 541-367-5168.

The Willamette National Forest offers a stunning choice of year round recreation for day-trippers and vacationers alike from scenic drives, hiking, camping, fishing or skiing to picnicking or rafting along one of our scenic rivers. Seven major volcanic peaks rise within the Forest's Wilderness areas: Mt. Jefferson, Three Fingered Jack, Mt. Washington, the Three Sisters, and Diamond Peak.

In other words, the Willamette National Forest is filled with special places! We've used this page to feature places and areas that offer a special type of experience but there are many more. Visit our recreation page to discover your very own special place on the forest! You can also use the interactive visitor map to help on Interactive Boat Oregon Map and select boating area of interest.

McKenzie River at Armitage Park and Campground It is about an hour and 36 minute drive from Hwy 101 in Florence on mostly Hwy 126 to Armitage Park. The park is the first  boat launch on the McKenzie River just before the confluence with the Willamette River.

Depart U.S. 101 on the Florence-Eugene Hwy 126. Travel toward Mapleton. Depart Or-126 / Florence-Eugene Hwy. Turn right onto r-126. Drive past Fern Ridge Reservoir Turn right to stay on Or-126. Turn left onto OR-569 / Beltline Rd. Turn left onto OR-569 / Beltline Rd. At exit 12, take ramp right and follow signs for Coburg Road.

Turn left onto Coburg Rd. Coburg Rd changes its name to N. Coburg Rd and back to Coburg Road. After traveling nearly 66.3 miles turn left onto the access road to your destination at Armitage Park just before Coburg Road crosses the McKenzie River.

To access Armitage Park from I-5 exit the freeway at Exit 199 at Van Duyn Rd. which also E. Pearl St. Turn west onto E. Pearl St. and proceed into city of Coburg. Turn left onto Coburg Rd. which also referred to as S. Willamette St. Drive south on Coburg Rd and cross the McKenzie River Bridge. Turn right onto the Armitage Park access Rd. to the boat launch.

Deadmonds Ferry Landing: Access to Deadmonds Ferry Landing boat launch from I-5 south take exit 195 to Beltline Rd. From I-5 north exit from 195.B. Drive east on Beltline Rd. to E Game Farm Rd and turn left. Travel 0.1 tenth of a mile and turn right onto Deadmond Ferry Rd. Drive to the Deadmond Ferry boat launch at the end of the road.

Rodakowski Boat Launch: Access to Rodakowski boat launch from I-5 south or north take exit 194 A to S/R 126. Turn left from the south or take the exit ramp from the north onto S/R 126 for .8 tenths of a mile.

Take the right exit ramp to and turn left onto Pioneer Pkwy E. Turn right onto Q St. Drive .3 tenth of a mile and turn left onto Fifth St. Drive .6 tenths of a mile and turn right onto Hayden Bridge Way. The name of Hayden Bridge Way changes to Hayden Bridge Rd. for .6 tenths of a mile. Turn left onto harvest Ln. to the Rodakowski Boat launch.

Hayden Bridge Boat Launch: Access to Hayden Bridge boat launch from I-5 south or north take exit 194 A to S/R 126. Turn left from the south or take the exit ramp from the north onto S/R 126 for approximately 3.8 tenths of a mile. Take the 42 nd St. exit onto 42 nd Street. Travel .5 tenths of a mile and turn right onto Marcola Rd. for .4 tenths of a mile. Turn left onto Hayden Bridge Rd. and right into the parking area of the boat launch.

Bellinger Landing: Access to Bellinger Landing boat launch from I-5 south or north take exit 194 A to S/R 126. Turn left from the south or take the exit ramp from the north onto S/R 126 for approximately 3.8 tenths of a mile. Take the 42 nd St. exit onto 42 nd Street. Travel .5 tenths of a mile and turn right onto Marcola Rd. Cross the the McKenzie River and turn right onto Camp Creek Rd. for 3.1 miles to Oak Point Rd. Turn right on Oak Point Rd. and travel .1 tenth of a mile to the Bellinger Landing boat launch.

Hendricks Bridge Park: Access to Hendricks Bridge Park from I-5 south or north take exit 194 A to S/R 126. Turn left from the south or take the exit ramp from the north onto S/R 126 for approximately 6.5 miles to Thurston, Or. Turn left onto Main Street/McKanzie River Hwy and follow for 5.4 miles. Cross the McKenzie River and turn right onto Hendricks Bridge Rd. the immediately right onto Hendricks Bridge Lane to the boat launch.

Emmerich Landing Slide: Access to Emmerich landing slide from I-5 south or north take exit 194 A to S/R 126. Turn left from the south or take the exit ramp from the north onto S/R 126 for approximately 6.5 miles to Thurston, Or. Turn left onto Main Street/McKanzie River Hwy and follow for 8.4 miles and turn right onto Partridge Ln to the boat launch at the end of the road.

Walterville: Access to the Walterville boat launch from I-5 south or north take exit 194 A to S/R 126. Turn left from the south or take the exit ramp from the north onto S/R 126 for approximately 6.5 miles to Thurston, Or. Turn left onto Main Street/McKanzie River Hwy and follow for 8.8 miles to the boat launch located on the right side of the Mckenzie River Hwy.

Taylor Landing: Access to Taylor Landing from I-5 south or north take exit 194 A to S/R 126. Turn left from the south or take the exit ramp from the north onto S/R 126 for approximately 6.5 miles to Thurston, Or. Turn left onto Main Street/McKanzie River Hwy and follow for 11.4 miles to Holden Creek Lane. Turn right onto Holden Creek Lane to Bridge Street. Turn right onto Bridge Street and cross the McKenzie River. Drive to Deerhorn Rd. and turn right and follow the road to Taylor Landing located several miles downriver on the right side of the road.

Deerhorn Landing: Access to Deerhorn Landing from I-5 south or north take exit 194 A to S/R 126. Turn left from the south or take the exit ramp from the north onto S/R 126 for approximately 6.5 miles to Thurston, Or. Turn left onto Main Street/McKanzie River Hwy and follow for 11.4 miles to Holden Creek Lane. Turn right onto Holden Creek Lane to Bridge Street. Turn right onto Bridge Street and cross the McKenzie River. Turn right into the driveway of the Deerhorn Landing boat launch.

Leaburg Landing from I-5 south or north take exit 194 A to S/R 126. Turn left from the south or take the exit ramp from the north onto S/R 126 for approximately 6.5 miles to Thurston, Or. Turn left onto Main Street/McKanzie River Hwy and follow for approximately 13.3 miles to the Community between Walterville and Leaburg to the entrance of the Leaburg Landing located on the right side of the Hwy. Leaburg Landing is located down river from the Leaburg Dam.

Greenwood Landing: Access to Greenwood Landing from I-5 south or north take exit 194 A to S/R 126. Turn left from the south or take the exit ramp from the north onto S/R 126 for approximately 6.5 miles to Thurston, Or. Turn left onto Main Street/McKanzie River Hwy and follow for 15.1 miles to Greenwood Dr.

Turn right onto Greenwood Dr. The boat launch is approximately 2/3 of mile on the right side of the road

Leaburg Landing Poleslide: Access to Leaburg Landing from I-5 south or north take exit 194 A to S/R 126. Turn left from the south or take the exit ramp from the north onto S/R 126 for approximately 6.5 miles to Thurston, Or. Turn left onto Main Street/McKanzie River Hwy and follow for 17.5 miles to the Leaburg Dam Road. Turn onto the Dam Rd. and right onto Fish Hatchery Rd and into the entrance of the boat launch.

Leaburg Dam Fish Counts: 2017 Monthly Leaburg Ladder Counts (pdfs)

Our Lloyd Knox Park is located along the shores of Leaburg Lake 22 miles east of Springfield offers recreational opportunities for people of all interests — and it's free. To access the Park turn onto the Leaburg Dam Road. Cross the Leaburg Dam and turn left into the Lloyd Knox Park.

Ikes Landing Access to Ikes Landing from I-5 south or north take exit 194 A to S/R 126. Turn left from the south or take the exit ramp from the north onto S/R 126 for approximately 6.5 miles to Thurston, Or. Turn left onto Main Street/McKanzie River Hwy and follow for approximately 18.3 miles to entrance of Ikes Landing on the right side of the Hwy.

Goodpasture Boat Ramp Access to the Goodpasture Boat Ramp from I-5 south or north take exit 194 A to S/R 126. Turn left from the south or take the exit ramp from the north onto S/R 126 for approximately 6.5 miles to Thurston, Or. Turn left onto Main Street/McKanzie River Hwy and follow for approximately 19.1 miles to entrance of Goodpasture Boat Ramp on the right side of the Hwy.

Helfrich Landing Access to Helfrich Landing from I-5 south or north take exit 194 A to S/R 126. Turn left from the south or take the exit ramp from the north onto S/R 126 for approximately 6.5 miles to Thurston, Or. Turn left onto Main Street/McKanzie River Hwy and follow for approximately 22.3 miles to Thompson Resort Rd. Turn onto Thompson Resort Rd and right at the entrance of Helfrich Landing on the right side of the Thompson Resort Rd.

Ben and Kay Dorris Park Access to Ben and Kay Dorris Park from I-5 south or north take exit 194 A to S/R 126. Turn left from the south or take the exit ramp from the north onto S/R 126 for approximately 6.5 miles to Thurston, Or. Turn left onto Main Street/McKanzie River Hwy and follow for approximately 22.8 miles to the driveway of the Ben and Kay Dorris Park. Turn into the driveway and follow the driveway to the end.

Rennie's Landing Access to Rennie's Landing from I-5 south or north take exit 194 A to S/R 126. Turn left from the south or take the exit ramp from the north onto S/R 126 for approximately 6.5 miles to Thurston, Or. Turn left onto Main Street/McKanzie River Hwy and follow for approximately 25.9 miles to Rennie's Landing located on the river side of the Hwy.

Silver Creek Landing Access to Silver Creek Landing from I-5 south or north take exit 194 A to S/R 126. Turn left from the south or take the exit ramp from the north onto S/R 126 for approximately 6.5 miles to Thurston, Or. Turn left onto Main Street/McKanzie River Hwy and follow for approximately 27.6 miles to Silver Creek Landing located on the river side of the Hwy.

McMullen's Landing is operated by ODFW at 800-720-6339. Access to McMullen's Landing from I-5 south or north take exit 194 A to S/R 126. Turn left from the south or take the exit ramp from the north onto S/R 126 for approximately 6.5 miles to Thurston, Or. Turn left onto Main Street/McKanzie River Hwy and follow for approximately 30.8 miles to McMullen's Landing located on the river side of the Hwy.

Finn Rock Rest Area is operated by the ODFW at 800-720-6339. Access to the boat launch is from I-5 south or north take exit 194 A to S/R 126. Turn left from the south or take the exit ramp from the north onto S/R 126 for approximately 6.5 miles to Thurston, Or. Turn left onto Main Street/McKanzie River Hwy and follow for 31.5 miles to Quartz Creek Rd. Turn to the south and cross the bridge over the McKenzie River. Immediately turn left and left again into the Finn Rock Rest Area boat launch.

Shepard's Landing is operated by the ODFW at 800-720-6339. Access to the boat launch is from I-5 south or north take exit 194 A to S/R 126. Turn left from the south or take the exit ramp from the north onto S/R 126 for approximately 6.5 miles to Thurston, Or. Turn left onto Main Street/McKanzie River Hwy and follow for 31.5 miles to Quartz Creek Rd. Turn to the south and cross the bridge over the McKenzie River. Turn left on the second road. Proceed to Shepard's Landing located approximately 1.7 miles to the entrance to the boat launch.

Blue River is 34.3 miles from Main Street in Thurston to Blue River Rd.

Forest Glen Landing on the Mckenzie River. is approximately 34.5 miles from Main Street in Thurston to the Forest Glen Landing located at Dexter St in Vita. The boat lauch is located on the bank of the McKenzie River on the opposite side of the street from Dexter St..

Blue Lake:

Reachcode: 17090004007112 | Area: 796.6 acres | Shoreline: 15.9 mi | View on Interactive Map

(From Atlas of Oregon Lakes, Johnson et al. 1985).  Blue River Lake is a long, narrow, winding flood control reservoir formed in 1968 by damming the Blue River 1.8 miles above its confluence with the McKenzie River. It was built here by the Corps of Engineers after strong opposition developed toward the construction of a dam on the 2smainstem of the McKenzie. There are actually two rockfill dams, Blue River Dam and Saddle Dam, that impound the waters of Blue River and several of its tributaries. The lake was named for Blue River which was named for its remarkable color. It lies in a beautiful setting nestled among the rugged slopes of the Western Cascades. Rough rock pinnacles and outcroppings are common throughout the area. Around the turn of the century gold was traced to the Gold Hill area immediately northwest of Blue River Lake on Quartz Creek and mining boomed for ten years until the supply was exhausted. 

The drainage basin of Blue River Lake is covered with a western hemlock and Douglas fir forest and is almost entirely within the Some of the land adjacent to the lake is in private ownership and commercial timber has been harvested from much of it. The Corps of Engineers also administers a large part of the shoreline. Steep shoreline slopes restrict the amount of flat land around the lake, thereby limiting the potential for public access and recreation. The Forest Service maintains one campground and an unpaved boat ramp at the north end of the lake. Late summer use is frequently limited by reservoir draw-down. The lake is stocked annually with cutthroat trout and also has native cutthroat trout and coho salmon. In addition to fishing the lake is popular for swimming and water skiing. 

Water transparency in Blue River Lake is good (17.1 feet; 5.2 meters), although high values of suspended solids have been reported by the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife. This has apparently caused a minor problem in fish production. Major ion concentrations are average for Willamette Valley reservoirs. Although water transparency is very high, the concentrations of phosphorus and chlorophyl suggest moderate productivity and mesotrophic conditions. Blue-green algae have been observed in the lake which suggests higher trophic conditions than indicated by other data. However, because there is no evidence of oxygen depletion, Blue River Lake is classified as mesotrophic. 

Blue River Lake: SNW - Saddle Dam boat ramp: Blue River recreation Camping: The U.S. Forest Service operates three recreation facilities at Blue River Dam & Reservoir: Mona Campground, Lookout Creek Boat Ramp and Park and Saddle Dam Boat Launch.from I-5 south or north take exit 194 A to S/R 126. Turn left from the south or take the exit ramp from the north onto S/R 126 for approximately 6.5 miles to Thurston, Or. Turn left onto Main Street/McKanzie River Hwy and follow for approximately 37.4 miles to the Blue River Reservior Rd. Vida, OR. Turn left and travel approximately .9 miles to the boat launch on the left For more information call the McKenzie River Ranger District Office at 541-822-3381.

Mona Campground from I-5 south or north take exit 194 A to S/R 126. Turn left from the south or take the exit ramp from the north onto S/R 126 for approximately 6.5 miles to Thurston, Or. Turn left onto Main Street/McKanzie River Hwy and follow for approximately 37.4 miles to the Blue River Reservior Rd. Vida, OR. Turn left and travel approximately .9 of a mile to the primitve boat launch or continue 2.6 miles to campground and boat launch on the left For more information call the McKenzie River Ranger District Office at 541-822-3381.

Hamlin Park is operated by: the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife at 800-720-6339. Access to the boat launch is from I-5 south or north take exit 194 A to S/R 126. Turn left from the south or take the exit ramp from the north onto S/R 126 for approximately 6.5 miles to Thurston, Or. Turn left onto Main Street/McKanzie River Hwy and follow for 37.2 miles to the Hamlin Park boat launch.

Brukart Landing is operated by the U.S. Forest Service at 541-822-3381. From Blue River, Or, take State Rt. 126 east 4.5 miles to Cougar Reservoir/Forest Rt. 19 signs. Turn right at sign onto Forest Rt. 19 (Aufderheide Forest Drive) and go 0.1 miles to the entrance to the Brukart Landing boat ramp.

McKenzie Bridge Campground: from I-5 south or north take exit 194 A to S/R 126. Turn left from the south or take the exit ramp from the north onto S/R 126 for approximately 6.5 miles to Thurston, Or. Turn left onto Main Street/McKanzie River Hwy and follow for approximately 34.4 miles to the Bridge over the Blue River. Vida, OR. From Blue River, OR, take State Rt. 126 east approximately 8.9 miles to campground on right. The boat ramp is a put-in/take-out for rafts. FISHING: Protected Bull trout, spring Chinook salmon, Cutthroat and Rainbow trout, and summer Steelhead trout.

Highway 126 parallels the McKenzie River from the intersection of Hwy 126 and Hwy 242 for nearly the entire length where it merge into Hwy 20.

The turn off onto the Old McKenzie River Hwy 242 is located 55.0 miles from the I-5 exit 194 freeway in Springfield to the intersection of Hwy 126 and Hwy 242 in McKenzie Bridge and 36.6 miles from Sisters, Or.

The McKenzie River Ranger District office is located at 57600 McKenzie Hwy 126 approximately 53.0 miles from the I-5 exit 194 freeway in Springfield. McKenzie Bridge, Oregon 97413 541-822-3381 for river information and outfitters. RESERVATIONS: at 1-877-444-6777 or make on-line reservation.

McKenzie Bridge Day Use Area access is gained by turning right from the McKenzie Bridge Campground Rd on the access road to the Day Use Area. The Oregon State Marine Board list a put and take boat ramp located at the Day Use Area but this needs to be confirmed.

Folly Creek Hot Springs: from I-5 south or north take exit 194 A to S/R 126. Turn left from the south or take the exit ramp from the north onto S/R 126 for approximately 6.5 miles to Thurston, Or. Turn left onto Main Street/McKenzie River Hwy and follow for approximately 44.1 miles to Horse Creek Rd/FS-2638. Travel 4.3 miles on NF-2638 to the entrance to Folly Hot Springs.

Weather Forcast for MCkenzie Bridge area of the Mckienzie River. 10-day forecast for McKenzie Bridge, OR.

Paradise Campground: From Blue River, OR, take State Rt 126 east 12.8 miles to campground on left. The pole slide boat ramp is a put-in/take-out for rafts and kayaks, no power boats. Contact McKenzie River Ranger District for river information and outfitters. HIKING: McKenzie River National Recreation Trail #3507 (foot and mountain bike) - 26 miles FISHING: Protected Bull trout, spring Chinook salmon, Cutthroat and Rainbow trout, and summer Steelhead trout.

Frissel Boat Launch: is located on Hwy 126 and is managed by the U.S. Forest Service at 541 822 3381. 

Frissel South Trailhead: From McKenzie Bridge, OR, drive west on Highway 126 about 3 miles and turn right onto Forest Road 705.

Turn right at the first fork. After 1 mile, the road forks again. Stay to the right on Forest Road 700. 

At the junction of the private road, turn to the left on Forest Road 704. Drive a short distance to the end of the Forest Road 704 to find Frissell South Trailhead.

Ollalie Campground From Blue River, Or, take State Rt. 126 east 19.3 miles to campground on left. HIKING McKenzie River National Recreation Trail (foot and mountain bike) - 26 miles

Trail Bridge Campground: with the announcement of the Carmen-Smith Hydroelectric Project the Eugene Water and Electric Board and U.S. Forest Service closed the Trail Bridge and Smith Reservoirs, the Trail Bridge and Lakes End Campgrounds in addition to the Trail Bridge Boat Launch and Forest Service roads 690 730 and 689. The closures will last approximately 5 years.

Trail Bridge Reservoir (Linn)

(From Atlas of Oregon Lakes, Johnson et al. 1985)  Trail Bridge Reservoir, adjacent to U.S. Highway 126 along the Upper McKenzie River, was built in 1963 by the Eugene Water and Electric Board as one of three area reservoirs in the Carmen-Smith Hydroelectric Development. The entire system supplies 113,000 kilowatts of peak power to the Eugene area, 70 miles to the west. The unique feature of power production at Trail Bridge Reservoir is the diversion of part of the McKenzie River through a tunnel into Smith Reservoir, and then back into the McKenzie River at Trail Bridge through a power tunnel and penstock. A small power plant is also located at the 98-foot high rockfill dam that forms the reservoir.

The drainage basin of the reservoir straddles the geologic border between the older, deeply eroded western Cascades, and the younger High Cascades, which are characterized by relatively fresh volcanic terrain. The steep, forested slopes of the Smith River sub-basin contrast sharply with the relatively young, unvegetated lava block fields in the northwest region of the basin. Recreation was a planned feature of Trail Bridge Reservoir, and the Willamette National Forest operates a 33-unit campground on the north shore. Rainbow trout are stocked annually, and the Eugene Water and Electric Board has cooperated with state and federal agencies in developing an artificial spawning facility for chinook salmon immediately downstream. A 10 mph speed limit for boats is in effect on the reservoir.

The major ion chemistry, alkalinity and conductivity of the water are typical of reservoirs in the Willamette drainage basins. Phosphorus concentrations are somewhat above average, but chlorophyl concentrations and water transparency indicate that the reservoir is oligotrophic. The reservoir when full, spans 120 acres. In the winter months, the reservoir is primarily used as storage for floodwaters in winter.

In the summer months the Trail Bridge Reservoir Area is a popular place for camping, hiking, fishing, boating, and swimming. Access to the McKenzie River National Recreation Trail is close by.

In late summer, early fall through mid-March, the water levels on Trail Bridge Reservoir are frequently drawn down to the point where boat launches are no longer available. Reservoir and river level information is available from the US Army Corps of Engineers here. Watch for obstructions near the shoreline such as submerged stumps, logs and rocks. Small craft should stay out of open waters when it is windy since dangerous waves can build up suddenly.

Directions: From Blue River, OR, take State Rt. 126 east 22.4 miles to campground sign. Turn left at sign, crossing bridge, to an intersection. Turn left, passing through a single lane corridor of a power station, and go 0.3 miles to campground on left. Trail Bridge Reservoir is 120 acres. Power boats are limited to 10mph.

Carmen Diversion Launch Ramp

Carmen Lake : access to Carmen lake and the Ice Cap Creek Day Use Area is from NF road 750 off of the McKenzie River Hwy 126.

Ice Cap Creek Campground: The campground is a single loop in a stand of Douglas fir, cedar and hemlock. The sound of rushing water surrounds the campground. Better suited for tent and car campers, the walk-in sites have a view of Carmen Reservoir below. The nearby Clear Lake Resort has snacks, fishing equipment and breakfast and lunch menus. An interesting "thing-to-do" is walking down to the Koosah Falls, next to the campground, and a little further upriver is the spectacular Sahalie Falls.

Clear Lake is located near the headwater of the McKenzie River. Clear Lake is renound for the water clarity highliting the sunken standing forest the artifacts associated with the depth of the lake. There are two resorts located on Clear Lake. Clear Lake Resort located on the north shore via NF Rd. 775 and Cold Water Campground located on the south shore via NF Rd. 770 accessible off of the McKenize River Hwy 126.

Cold Water Cove Campground Boat Slide. Boats motors are not allowed on Clear Lake. Both resorts on the lake rent row boats.

Clear Lake Day Use

Smith Reservoir Area The reservoir when full, spans 170 acres. In late summer, early fall through mid-March, the water levels on Smith Reservoir are frequently drawn down to the point where the boat launch is no longer available. Reservoir and river level information is available from the US Army Corps of Engineers here. Watch for obstructions near the shoreline such as submerged stumps, logs and rocks. Small craft should stay out of open waters when it is windy since dangerous waves can build up suddenly.

Directions to Smith Reservoir from McKenzie Bridge, OR, travel east on Highway 126 for 12 miles to Forest Road 732 at Trailbridge Reservoir. Follow Forest Road 732 across the bridge, then south along Trailbridge Reservoir to Forest Road 730. Take Forest Road 730 north 1.5 miles to Smith Reservoir

Stocked annually with trout, Smith Reservoir makes a good fishing spot. Boats can be launched from a site near the dam (a 10 mile per hour speed limit for boats is enforced).

Smith Reservoir boat launch is a no use fee boat launch operated by U.S. Forest Service. Call 541-822-3381 for additional information. Comments: Closed until 2021 for reconstruction. http://www.eweb.org/about-us/news/eweb-to-close-trail-bridge-campground Location: 44.309333 , -122.043361

Lakes End Campground is the one campground located on the reservoir and is accessible only by boat. Beautiful Sahalie and Koosah Falls are nearby on the McKenzie River National Recreation Trail.

McKenzie Rive Adventures Join the River Guides for a series of river adventures, and discover remote and remarkable journeys along the McKenzie River.

Waterfalls, Lava Flows and a Turquoise Pool Await Upper McKenzie Hikers

Hiking a popular 7-mile stretch of the McKenzie River National Recreation Trail offers large waterfalls, a stunning turquoise pool, lava fields and hundreds-year-old Douglas firs along a stretch of untamed whitewater. Vine maples add a splash of fall color.

Beginning at the Upper McKenzie River Trailhead, McKenzie River National Recreation Trail #3507 starts in an old lava flow, originating from Mt. Washington, and crosses a bridge over the McKenzie River.

The trail maintains a gradual downhill track through old growth conifer trees as it winds along the edge of the McKenzie River and crosses the river on a footbridge just before Clear Lake. The trail continues winding through the forest and old lava flows in view of Clear Lake and passes the Great Spring, which is a primary source of the McKenzie River.

After passing the southern end of Clear Lake, the trail winds through forest and crosses Highway 126, continuing along the McKenzie River. The trail then crosses the river to its western side on a footbridge, winding down past scenic viewpoints overlooking Sahalie and Koosah Falls. The trail winds around Carmen Reservoir where the river disappears underground for most of the year.

The trail then follows a dry creekbed in old growth forest with several bridges to cross as the trail and creekbed meander in the valley bottom. After about 2 miles, the trail reaches a viewpoint of Tamolich Blue Pool, where the river bubbles up from the ground in a crystal clear, blue colored pool.  

From here, the trail heads down stream as the river begins to grow from the spring at blue pool eventually ending again at Trailbridge Reservoir. From Trailbridge Reservoir, the trail continues south through an old growth conifer forest and breaks out onto Forest Road 610, joining the road and heading south past a gate before breaking off the road east and south back along the now continuing river.

The trail crosses several more streams and follows forest roads connecting trail segments, breaking west and leveling out near Belknap Hot Springs Resort. The trail continues over undulating terrain west past Paradise Campground, then past the McKenzie River Ranger Station before reaching its end the at Lower McKenzie River Trailhead.

See it before you hike it! Use Travel Lane County’s Google-Trekked Trails to see Google's "trail view" of this trail. Click on the "trail details" for more information on the trail itself. McKenzie River Trailtrail details

Click on McKenzie River Trailhead to view the Oregon Field Guide video clip of the Mckenzie River Trailhead famous Tamolitch Blue Pool. The Blue Pool is located from McKenzie Bridge, take Highway 126 east to Trailbridge Reservoir. Turn left onto Forest Road 730, crossing the McKenzie River. Travel ahead on Forest Road 655 to McKenzie River Trailhead – Tamolitch Blue Pool.

Smith Reservoir: In addition to inflow from the McKenzie River, the reservoir also receives a significant amount of inflow from Smith River, which drains a deeply dissected area of andesite and basalt. Vegetation cover is a dense forest of Douglas fir and western hemlock and the basin is entirely within the Willamette National Forest. The Wildcat Mountain Research Natural Area lies within the basin. The Northern Spotted Owl, an endangered species, is reported to use this region for nesting. Steep slopes have effectively limited human activity and development in the basin. A 17-unit campground is located at the northern end of the reservoir and is accessible only by boat or on foot. Smith Reservoir is stocked annually with rainbow trout, and boats can be launched from a site near the dam. A 10 mile per hour speed limit for boats is enforced.

Fish Lake Historic Site

Fish Lake Historic Site, also known as the Fish Lake Remount Depot, is located in the heart of the Oregon High Cascades in the Willamette National Forest. Located along the Santiam Trail, since the mid-1800s thousands of travelers including Indian tribes and wagon trains, along with their livestock, pack animals and freight have passed through the site. The seasonal lake and meadow offered them a place of rest and bountiful provisions. Today visitors can explore the legacy of Fish Lake. Enjoy!

Directions to Fish Lake Historic Site: from the intersection of Or-126 and Or-242 Travel east on Or-126 / McKenzie Hwy for 18.8 miles to Fish Lake Camp FS Rd. Turn left onto Fish Lake Camp FS Rd for 0.3 miles to Fish Lake Camp.

Hwy Or-126 merges with Hwy 20 some 19.7 miles from the intersection of Or-126 and Or-242.

Popular Lakes and Rivers:

Waterfalls

Oregon State Marine Board Boat Launches

Lost Lake is stocked with eastern brook trout and rainbows and also has some native fish. Angling is permitted only until September 1 in order to protect fish that are forced to cluster as the water level drops in summer. There is usually a solid ice cover in early spring and ice-fishing is popular. No motorboats are allowed on the water. A Forest Service campground is located on the west shore adjacent to the highway. Lost Lake Campground at Lost Lake is located on NF-835 off Lost Lake is located 1.5 miles from Santiam Junction with Hwy 20 and Hwy 22 to NF-835. Turn left onto NF-835 to the campground and boat launch.

Visit the old Santiam Wagon Road, a historic trail used to transport livestock east across the Cascade Mountains to central Oregon's grasslands. 

Big Lake is 225 acres in size and is situated on the historic Santiam Wagon Road. It was the first resting place for early travelers heading west. A 49-unit Big Lake campground on the western shore has been established by the Willamette National Forest, and a Seventh Day Adventist youth camp operates under special use permit on the east side of the lake. The NF campground is located adjacent to the Santiam Pass Motorized Recreation Area (area is unavailable) and is a popular campground for OHV enthusiasts. Volcanic peaks and cinder cones visible from the lake include Mt. Washington, Sand Mountain, Hoodoo Butte, Hayrick Butte and Three Fingered Jack.

Big Lake is popular for motor boating and water skiing, as well as camping, picnicking, fishing and swimming. Access to wilderness trailheads is located nearby. The nearby Santiam Pass Dispersed Motorized Recreation Area is open to Off-Highway Vehicles. A boat launch is located in the Big Lake Day Use Area (fee required). The lake used to be an excellent producer of brook trout, but they now run second to kokanee; cutthroat trout are also present. 

Directions from Santiam Junction travel 5.0 miles to Big of the Santiam Hwy and is operated by the U.S. Forest Service at 541- 475-9272. Trun right onto Big Lake Rd and continue traveling on Big Lake Rd. until it becomes the Old Santiam Wagon Rd. NF-2690-810 for the approximately 3.1 miles to the campground.

Big Lake Area: Big Lake Day Use Area (fee required) is located in the Big Lake Campground ares.

View more Popular Lakes & Rivers 

Nearby Patjens Lakes Trail #3395 offers easy access to the Mt. Washington. the Patjens Lakes Trail is located in the high elevation ecosystem, Patjens Lake trail passes through a mixed forest of lodgepole pine, western hemlock, and alpine fir. Some of the forested are burned over from fires. Three small lakes are accessed from the trail. Entry into the wilderness area require a self issued pemit available at the trail head.

Blue Lake: the Blue Lake — Suttle Lake area has long been a favorite with outdoor enthusiasts, and several Forest Service campgrounds are in the area, including one at Blue Lake. Several hiking and horse trails follow the shoreline. Rainbow trout are stocked in the lake each year, and some kokanee are taken. Fishing is best in the warmer months because of the depth of the lake. Elliott R. Corbett Memorial State Park includes part of the south and west shores of Blue Lake. The park is preserved as a wilderness area, with only water and toilet installations provided. Use of the park is light, as it is accessible only by trail. About half of the rocky, forested shoreline is in private ownership, and a private resort is located at the outlet. The area of the Cascades from Blue Lake and Suttle Lake to Sisters and south of U.S. Highway 20 has a checkerboard pattern of privately—owned parcels of land alternating with land under management of the Forest Service. Land use and land management plans must be adjusted to the discontinuous nature of the land ownership pattern.

Blue Lake is accessed through Suttle Lake. From Santiam Junction travel 12.4 miles to SW Suttle Lake LP. Turn onto SW Suttle Lake LP. Travel 2.3 miles to Blue Lake Rd. Turn left onto Blue Lake for .2 mile to Blue Lake or travel on SW Suttle Lake Rd for 2.3 miles to SW Blue Lake Rd. Turn left onto SW Blue Lake Rd and follow for.5 mile to Blue Lake.

Return to the Oregon Coast Trail Maps.