The McKenzie River is one of western Oregon's most beautiful streams, as well as one of the region's most popular whitewater rafting trips.
Flowing through the McKenzie Valley from its headwaters at Clear Lake, high in the cascades, the McKenzie is a swift, spirited stream. Float with the McKenzie's lively current and you may feel as if you're flying over the riverbed — the water is that clear. Thick fir forests, mild yet enjoyable rapids and easy accessibility are a few of the river's other charms. We offer trips on two sections of the upper McKenzie (beginning at either Paradise or Olallie). Boat either and you will see the McKenzie at its best.
The McKenzie River originates at Clear Lake and flows 90 miles west to where it joins the Willamette River just below the town of Coburg. Along the way it flows through layers of volcanic rock. Just above the town of Blue River is Wolf Rock: Rising almost 1,000 feet, it is said to be the largest rock monolith in the state.
The McKenzie region is also known for the hot springs that rise from deep underground. Natural springs, heated by geothermal activity, flow to the surface in several locations. The most well-known are probably the commercial development at Belknap Hot Springs (where a lodge is located) and Terwilliger Hot Springs, an undeveloped site near Cougar Reservoir.
The McKenzie's winters are wet and mild, with only occasional snowfall. Summers are often hot and dry with an occasional rainfall via thunderstorms. This mild climate supports an unusual variety of vegetation, especially evergreen trees.
These waters have been renowned for fishing since the late 1800s. Spring Chinook salmon, winter steelhead, and summer steelhead are the most important anadromous fish runs. The most abundant native species of trout include rainbow, cutthroat, and bull trout.
The wildlife species in the region are many and varied with over 250 species found here. Deer, elk, coyote, mountain lion, bobcat, beaver, black bear and scores of other mammals inhabit the watershed. Also found here are a wide variety of bird life including hawks, owls, osprey, peregrine falcon and bald eagle.