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

  • 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
  • Trekking the McKenzie Pass Scenic Bikeway
    We grinded out revolution after revolution, waving to cyclists coming down who had passed us only a couple hours earlier on their way up. The steep roads never seemed to flatten, yet, we felt such... More

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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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