Situated in the lush green Willamette National Forest and home to the world-renowned McKenzie River Trail, this area boasts some of the best mountain biking, waterfalls, hot springs trails and scenery in the state. Mountain bikers visit from around the world to ride the McKenzie River Trail, and many have discovered O'Leary and King-Castle trails lately as well. While McKenzie Bridge may at first seem a sleepy hamlet, dig a little deeper to find great lodging and camping, a handful of great places to eat and drink, and a burgeoning community of outdoorsy and down-to-earth locals. A perfect McKenzie Bridge day involves a hike or bike ride, followed with a soak at Cougar Hot Springs.
There's fun to be had year-round, but the area is busiest from late spring to late summer. The best weather and trail conditions are early summer and early fall, when the trails are nice and lush, and visitors can enjoy warm days and cool evenings. Trails are accessible as long as there's no snow, which is most of the year. There's a public bus, LTD 91, that runs from Eugene all the way up to the ranger station every day.
Camping & Lodging
You'll find a great assortment of lodging options, from rustic cabins to camping both at forest service campgrounds and private campgrounds. Horse Creek Lodge
offers one and two bedroom cabins, a lodge that's great for big groups, and a private campground that includes a pump track. Harbick's Country Inn is a nice, clean hotel with standard hotel rooms, and they manage a number of vacation rental cabins in the area. McKenzie Riverside Cottages offers lots of riverside cabins as well.
Food & Drink
McKenzie General Store has great lunch and dinner and a very cool beer garden. Takoda's Restaurant serves breakfast, lunch and dinner and has a full bar with lots of seating. McKenzie Station has great coffee and and serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
Outfitters, Tours, & Shuttles
Horse Creek Lodge & Outfitters provides shuttles for hikers and bikers on the McKenzie River Trail and O'Leary Trail, and they rent and repair bikes. They also provide half-day and full-day guided McKenzie River trips, which are great for paddlers of almost any age and skill level. They also rent stand up paddle boards which are a fantastic way to see the local lakes and reservoirs. Biking the McKenzie River Trail and rafting on the river are definitely bucket-list items! More information can be found on their website
or by calling 541-822-3243.
Cougar and Belknap Hot Springs are both great places to spend a rainy day. Visitors can also take a scenic drive up Highway 242, the Old McKenzie Highway and stop at the lava fields at Dee Wright Observatory. Or maybe grab a beer and watch an Oregon Duck's game at McKenzie General Store or Takoda's.
Maps & Guidebooks
The McKenzie River Ranger Station has a huge variety of maps and guidebooks, some of which are free. That's the best resource whether your hiking, biking, or maybe foraging for mushrooms. Adventure Maps is producing a McKenzie-specific map that will be out by summer of 2017 and that will cover the best of the area's hiking and biking trails.