Road Trip: McKenzie River Valley

A string of riverside communities greets the wild and oh-so-scenic McKenzie River as it drains down from the Cascade Mountains and tumbles west toward Eugene.

: Good Pasture Covered Bridge by Greg Vaughn

Blue River

Aptly named for the striking blue color of its rocky bed, Blue River is a charming community located at the confluence of the Blue and McKenzie rivers in the Willamette National Forest.

It’s home to the Belknap Covered Bridge and the H.J. Andrews Experimental Forest, as well as cozy mountain cottages, reservoirs and prime fishing spots. Use Blue River as your hub for golfing, rafting, hiking and easy access to the McKenzie River Trail.

Trip Ideas

  • West Cascades Scenic Byway

    This 215-mile/346-kilometer drive captures a quintessential slice of Oregon scenery as it winds along the lush western slope of the Cascade Mountains, where some of the state’s best-known rivers spill through timeless fir forests.
  • Gold Panning in Oregon

    It was 1851 when prospectors first found gold in Southern Oregon and Gold Rush fever swept through the state. Big, shiny nuggets first turned up in and around Josephine Creek and on the Illinois, Applegate...
  • Aufderheide Scenic Drive

    Many Oregon roadways are busy blurs, but this week, slow down and enjoy the sights and sounds of the changing seasons. This getaway takes us down the country’s oldest national scenic byway in the Cascade Mountains....
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Ask Oregon

Where should I start a hike on the McKenzie River Trail?

Great question! The McKenzie River Trail is one that is near and dear to my heart. I like to think of the trail as 3 different sections. The upper portion begins at Clear Lake. You can hike around the lake which is very beautiful (or rent row boats by the hour). The trail continues on…

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