|Location||Mackenzie River Oregon|
|Type||Walking, National Forest|
|Lodging||Mixed. Primitive shelter, Luxurious Inn|
|Difficulty||Strenuous. 20 mile days, but with a layover.|
|Highlights||Incredible scenery, and a great rustic inn and the end.|
Editor's Note: This report comes from our new friend John Aebi-Magee, who regularly puts in fifteen to twenty miles a day. It appeared previously at his site, Walking Inn to Inn, and he has kindly given us permission to republish it. A multiple award-winning environmental entrepreneur, John is the moving force behind the Sustainability Store, Earth Care Paper, Ultralight Living, and Wool Revolution. Please visit them. --PS
The McKenzie River National Recreation Trail is a 26 mile trail thatruns from the north end of Clear Lake to McKenzie Bridge. The trail follows the McKenzie River and passes two spectacular waterfalls. This walk starts and ends at the stunning Clear Lake. Even though there were two 20 mile days, the walk is easy. There are no steep hills and the trail is very well maintained. I did not see a single hiker on either 20 mile day during the first week of June. There were a few mosquitoes, but not too bad. The trail is fairly monotonous, but if you like old growth, solitude, and the sound of a rushing river, this is a great walk to choose.
Day 1: Drive (3 hours from Portland) to Clear Lake Resort. Walk the Clear Lake Loop Trail, 5 miles. Spend night in primitive cabin (bring sleeping bag and then leave it in the car the next morning). Snack Bar is open Mother's Day to Labor Day and serves burgers, sandwiches and breakfasts.
Day 2: Walk to Belknap Hotsprings Lodge, 20 miles (located at mile 5 on map). Spend 2 nights. Outdoor Snack Bar is open Memorial Day to Labor Day and serves simple breakfast items, burgers and sandwiches (closed Monday and Tuesday). Very simple continental breakfast is also included for guests. $100/night, 2 night minimum on weekends. I stayed in room 17 on 3rd floor which is spectacular.
Day 3: Either walk the trail from Lodge (mile 5) to trail head (mile 0) and back or, do what I did and take a day of rest -- soaking in the natural hot springs pool and taking a nap.
Day 4: Walk back to Clear Lake Resort, 20 miles. Drive home.
Water is available at Trail Bridge Reservoir campground, 9 miles North (3 hours) of Belknap Springs Lodge.
Trail Map and information from Willamette National Forest. Also, you can pick up a much better map from the USFS office near Mckenzie Bridge.
Other places to stay: