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.

: Greg Vaughn


Vida tucks up against the foothills of the Cascade mountains in the Willamette Valley.

Perched along the McKenzie River, this little town is home to the state’s second longest covered bridge and is the gateway to the McKenzie River Trail. Runners, mountain bikers and hikers alike are drawn to the soft single-track with views of the designated Wild and Scenic River, crashing waterfalls and lava canyons where anglers cast into still pools.

Note: This city was impacted by the 2020 wildfires. Stay updated about travel alerts and find ways to help communities recover.

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...
    Peter Frick-Wright, Guest Author
  • Cultural Oregon: Covered Bridges
    Our Oregon heritage offers cultural travelers an opportunity to step back in time, and covered bridges illustrate some of the most iconic cultural elements of our state. Covered to increase their lifespan, the bridges today...
  • Tamolitch, The Blue Pool
    The trails less traveled are the ones I cherish most and Oregon has a bounty of places to choose. We’re heading up the McKenzie River Valley into the rugged mountains where a gentle trail lead us...
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Ask Oregon

We’re staying in Vida during the Olympic Trials in Eugene; what should we check out?

Vida is pretty remote but it’s in a very, very pretty spot with lots of outdoorsy things to do. It’s right along the McKenzie River which is one of the prettiest rivers in the state. From Vida, it’s about a 40-minute drive to the trailhead for an easy hike to Tamolitch, the Blue Pool–this one…

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