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. Easy to reach along the McKenzie River Highway (OR-126), they’re your gateway to this river valley’s incomparable natural attractions. Lane Transit District will even handle the driving, with bus service… More
: Greg Vaughn

McKenzie Bridge

McKenzie Bridge is a riverside mountain town 53 miles east of Eugene.

Surrounded by miles of hiking and mountain biking trails, the wild waters of the McKenzie River and three massive waterfalls, McKenzie Bridge is a favorite getaway for outdoor enthusiasts. Relax your weary muscles in the soothing, hot mineral water pools of Belknap Hot Springs. In summer and early fall, drive the McKenzie Pass–Santiam Pass Scenic Byway to Dee Wright Observatory, a historic observatory built out of lava rock, and hike through lava fields and old-growth forests to Proxy Falls.

Trip Ideas

  • 5 Ways to Love the McKenzie River
    The crystal-clear, spring-fed Wild and Scenic McKenzie River is a favorite spot for mountain bikers, hikers, and rafting and fishing enthusiasts alike. It’s the lifeblood of clear, clean water for salmon and local farms in... More
  • Ride the McKenzie River Trail
    The only major controversy surrounding the McKenzie River Trail (MRT) is whether it is the best mountain bike trail in Oregon or the whole country. When I worked in a bike shop years ago, I... More
    Peter Frick-Wright, Guest Author
  • 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.... More

Don't Miss Near McKenzie Bridge

Sahalie Falls
McKenzie Bridge, Willamette Valley
Belknap Hot Springs
McKenzie Bridge, Willamette Valley
Dee Wright Observatory
Koosah Falls
McKenzie Bridge, Willamette Valley
Tamolitch, The Blue Pool
McKenzie Bridge, Willamette Valley
A Beginner’s GeoTour
McKenzie Bridge, Willamette Valley

Outdoor Adventure Near McKenzie Bridge

O’Leary Trail Loop
25Mi, Challenging
McKenzie Bridge, Willamette Valley
McKenzie River Trail
25Mi, Extreme
McKenzie Bridge, Willamette Valley
Cougar Lake
Summer Fun on Oregon’s McKenzie River
McKenzie Bridge, Willamette Valley
Horse Creek Group Campground
Blue River Lake
Olallie At Mckenzie Bridge

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McKenzie Bridge


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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