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McKenzie River National Recreational Trail

HARD 35 reviews
#24 of 135 trails in

McKenzie River National Recreational Trail is a 24.1 mile moderately trafficked point-to-point trail located near Blue River, Oregon that features a lake and is rated as difficult. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible year-round. Dogs are also able to use this trail.

Distance: 24.1 miles Elevation Gain: 2,509 feet Route Type: Point to Point

dog friendly

camping

hiking

mountain biking

nature trips

trail running

bird watching

forest

lake

river

views

wild flowers

wildlife

muddy

This is an amazing bike trail, one of the best in Oregon. You'll pass by beautiful lakes, two big waterfalls, through lava fields and through beautiful forests.

backpacking
rocky
6 hours ago

I was using this as a training hike and always appreciate the amazing trees and geology of rivers that disappear then reappear. Had lots of space to myself except near the Blue Pool but I am glad to see so many folks enjoying nature.

hiking
11 days ago

Did my 4th Annual McKenzie River Hike yesterday. I normally go with people and split it into 2/3 days. Yesterday it was just me and my pup, and we ended up completing it within the day. 26 miles, took the shuttle from the South Trailhead up to Clear Lake and walked back down. Pack was 60 lbs before I drank all the water - took us 10 hours to hike. Plenty of water along the trail for the dog, and I ran out of water for myself 7 miles before the end but didn't want to take the time to filter it, so just kept going. Totally doable, beautiful as always. Likely will ditch the pack and run it next time to shave down the time.

Belknap Hot Spring to Paradise Camp Ground. This trail is beautiful. The trail angels have cleared most of the past storm damage, thank you! On this particular section there are two massive fir trees that have fallen and taken out the trail. Some engineering is required to fix this section. Scampering through the mud pits of the root balls is required here.

blowdown
muddy
scramble
snow
washed out
3 months ago

I just hiked about a 1/4 of this trail on an overnight (3/29/19-3/30/19) with my eight year old. It was not an easy hike like it's supposed to be. This trail was recently blasted by a massive storm, wreaking havoc with high winds and deep snow. There are now hundreds of large and small trees over the trail, and some deep snow banks. This makes the trail exhausting and a little dangerous right now. Without the downed trees this is a beautiful hike with an easy trail. Unfortunately your are between the river and the road for a good portion of this hike, so there is some traffic noise at different times, this is why I would rate it a 4 and not a 5. We just did an overnight and covered only about 12 miles of trail out and back, 6 miles one way. The first few miles are very comfortable and technically very basic. The park staff and volunteers have cleared the few miles either side of the ranger station. Paradise Campground was quite nice, there was still packed snow on the ground and a few trees down but it was easy to navigate and decent place to set up camp with a young hiker in tow. The next few miles heading to Belknap Hotsprings gets progressively more difficult. Initially you'll find trees down every few hundred yards or so, with a few tough and slippery scrambles. As you get close to the bridge to Belknap there are two massive trees that have collapsed into the river. It's an amazing sight, they took the trail with them, but the are blocking the river creating a natural dam, it's quite a sight. Here you can choose to traverse the muddy root wells, but it is slick and steep and you'll need to be very careful, otherwise back track and walk the ridge. The trail continues to get more dense and littered with downed trees. There is still deep patches of snow that are crunchy and collapse easily, you could break a trekking pole or worse. We left a day earlier than planned, we were exhausted and a little bruised from climbing and stumbling over trail debris and washouts. I'm looking forward to hitting this trail again when it's clean and cleared.

trail running
9 months ago

One of the most beautiful trails I have ever run. First few miles are fairly flat (maybe more but I turned around).

mountain biking
10 months ago

kicked my butt on a hardtail but awesome!

hiking
Wednesday, July 05, 2017

Great trail! Best if you can hike it end to end. Unfortunately, the regional utility is doing needed improvements and has FLOODED a section of the trail below Carmen Diversion reservoir. The water is about 3 feet deep-for the next couple years

backpacking
Friday, March 24, 2017

Did the whole thing (Clear Lake to South Trailhead) which should be 26 miles unless you get lost a lot like me, in which case it turns into 28. Nice campground about halfway (Trail Bridge Reservoir), amazing views on the way. I did it in two days with late starts, but I would suggest taking three days to do it if you haven't seen the scenery. You'll want to stop and take pictures. There is a bus service that will take you to the trailhead and you can leave your car at the end. $30 from what I can remember. Edit: I've done this trail each year now, and the best itinerary thus far was getting the early morning bus and going from Clear Lake to Blue Pool (8.8 miles), Blue Pool to Buck's Bridge (10.2 miles), and Bucks Bridge to Trailhead (6.9 miles). It's a three day, two night hike and allows you to really stop and see the sights. You also hike only about half the day each day with mid-early starts, which is great for beginner backpackers. I take non-experienced backpacking friends and they love it.

Monday, September 19, 2016

I hiked the McKenzie River trail from the northern end to Tamolitch pool and back. Great backpacking trip, for sure! Hikers and bikers should keep an eye out for each other, especially on narrow parts of the trail and on slopes. Sahalie and Koosah Falls are both gorgeous and there are trails on the opposite side of the river that are family friendly and easily accessed from the highway.

hiking
Monday, August 22, 2016

A perfect little hike--take the kids, take your parents who don't like hiking--they will after this one! Beautiful forest follows river then goes up above river on lave rock to the gorgeous Tamolitch Pool. Something special to see for sure.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

bathrooms we're disgusting

Saturday, June 04, 2011

This was one of the hardest trips I've ever done, mostly because I'm not a biker. Did the entire 26 miles in 9 hours, and took two headers over the handle bars. The hardest section is from Tamolitch/Blue Pool for about a mile. It's all technical lava rock. For beginners start at Carmen Reservoir, it's a nice 14 mile ride that isn't too technical at all. Still glad to check the entire 26 miles off my list of Oregon adventures.

camping
Friday, October 29, 2010

I absolutely love camping up in this area! The McKenzie River is simply amazing and provides a lot of great outdoor activities. The fishing along it are some of the best in the nation. Some of my favorite camping areas are Blue River Reservoir and a little further up river. Both camping areas have restrooms, and boat ramps available. Also hiking trailheads are near by. Blue River Reservoir is more for those that simply want to set up their tent or camper right along the shore. Paradise Campground is more established, with set campsites, and a restrooms throughout the campgrounds. Great places to camp with the whole family. Be sure to reserve a spot for Paradise, because the campground is quite popular and fills up quickly during the summer.

hiking
29 days ago

1 month ago

hiking
2 months ago

hiking
5 months ago

hiking
5 months ago

hiking
9 months ago

paddle sports
Sunday, July 01, 2018

hiking
Thursday, April 26, 2018

Saturday, March 24, 2018

hiking
Sunday, March 11, 2018

hiking
Saturday, July 01, 2017

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