West Metolius River

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West Metolius River

Distance: 5.4mi
Elevation: 256ft
Time: 1.5-2.5h

Difficulty Rating:

It’s a postcard-perfect river walk: simple as that. The Metolius River is unbelievably beautiful and the easy hike along its flank is worth the relatively long drive from Bend. The water is clear and flecked with stunning whitewater rapids. This truly is a trek worth taking.

Getting there

From Bend drive north along US-97 and then turn onto US-20 west towards Sisters for 51.5km.  After Black Butte Ranch turn right onto Camp Sherman Road and follow it for just under 4.8km.  Veer left to stay on Camp Sherman Road, which turns into NF-1419.  After 8.9km, turn right onto NF-1420 towards the Lower Canyon Creek Campground.


When to do

Year Round

Backcountry Campsites



At trailhead

Family friendly


Route Signage


Crowd Levels


Route Type

Out and back


Detailed Description

The trailhead is beside the small campground, where you’ll also find pit toilets. From the trailhead, descend down to the slow moving Metolius River. You will be shocked at how clear the river is! You will be able to see right down to the rocky bottom in the very center of the river. Begin hiking along the riverside, along the well-kept, flat trail.

You will pass a small tributary waterfall, called Gushing Springs. This wide, short, gentle waterfall cascades slowly down to the river, creating a beautiful scene.

Continue hiking as the river veers left. You will pass by several sections of whitewater sets as you continue following the flow of the river. Approximately two-thirds of the way through, the trail will begin to ascend and you will traverse through a sparse forest. Soon you will arrive at the Wizard Fall Fish Hatchery, where you can feed the fish and is an interesting stop. Here there is a bridge and a parking area. This is also the turnaround point of the hike.

Return following your path you came out on.

Insider Hints

  • You can also start the hike at the Wizard Falls Fish Hatchery, reached by going along NF-14 from Camp Sherman.

  • An option to extend the hike is to continue past the hatchery. You can go another 5.1km to Pioneer Ford and the Lower Bridge.

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