Lakes of the North Santiam Hwy.

Detroit Ranger District (US Highway 22)

The Leave No Trace Seven Principles

The Leave No Trace Seven Principles are the bedrock of the Leave No Trace program. They provide guidance to enjoy our natural world in a sustainable way that avoids human-created impacts. The principles have been adapted so they can be applied in your backyard or your backcountry.

Note: click any of the headers below for a much deeper explanation on each principle.

Plan Ahead and Prepare

  • Know the regulations and special concerns for the area you'll visit.
  • Prepare for extreme weather, hazards, and emergencies.
  • Schedule your trip to avoid times of high use.
  • Visit in small groups when possible. Consider splitting larger groups into smaller groups.
  • Repackage food to minimize waste.
  • Use a map and compass to eliminate the use of marking paint, rock cairns or flagging. 

Travel and Camp on Durable Surfaces

  • Durable surfaces include established trails and campsites, rock, gravel, dry grasses or snow.
  • Protect riparian areas by camping at least 200 feet from lakes and streams.
  • Good campsites are found, not made. Altering a site is not necessary.
    • In popular areas:
      • Concentrate use on existing trails and campsites.
      • Walk single file in the middle of the trail, even when wet or muddy.
      • Keep campsites small. Focus activity in areas where vegetation is absent.
      • In pristine areas:
      • Disperse use to prevent the creation of campsites and trails.
      • Avoid places where impacts are just beginning. 

Dispose of Waste Properly

  • Pack it in, pack it out. Inspect your campsite and rest areas for trash or spilled foods. Pack out all trash, leftover food and litter.
  • Deposit solid human waste in catholes dug 6 to 8 inches deep, at least 200 feet from water, camp and trails. Cover and disguise the cathole when finished.
  • Pack out toilet paper and hygiene products.
  • To wash yourself or your dishes, carry water 200 feet away from streams or lakes and use small amounts of biodegradable soap. Scatter strained dishwater. 

Leave What You Find

  • Preserve the past: examine, but do not touch cultural or historic structures and artifacts.
  • Leave rocks, plants and other natural objects as you find them.
  • Avoid introducing or transporting non-native species.
  • Do not build structures, furniture, or dig trenches. 

Minimize Campfire Impacts

  • Campfires can cause lasting impacts to the environment. Use a lightweight stove for cooking and enjoy a candle lantern for light.
  • Where fires are permitted, use established fire rings, fire pans, or mound fires.
  • Keep fires small. Only use sticks from the ground that can be broken by hand.
  • Burn all wood and coals to ash, put out campfires completely, then scatter cool ashes. 

Respect Wildlife

  • Observe wildlife from a distance. Do not follow or approach them.
  • Never feed animals. Feeding wildlife damages their health, alters natural behaviors, and exposes them to predators and other dangers.
  • Protect wildlife and your food by storing rations and trash securely.
  • Control pets at all times, or leave them at home.
  • Avoid wildlife during sensitive times: mating, nesting, raising young, or winter. 

Be Considerate of Other Visitors

  • Respect other visitors and protect the quality of their experience.
  • Be courteous. Yield to other users on the trail.
  • Step to the downhill side of the trail when encountering pack stock.
  • Take breaks and camp away from trails and other visitors.
  • Let nature's sounds prevail. Avoid loud voices and noises. 

Visit our Homepage to learn more about Leave No Trace program.

The Mt. Hood National Forest and the Willamette National Forest offer a stunning choice of year round recreation for day-trippers and vacationers alike from scenic drives, hiking, camping, fishing or skiing to picnicking or rafting along one of our scenic rivers. Seven major volcanic peaks rise within the Forest's Wilderness areas: Mt. Jefferson, Three Fingered Jack, Mt. Washington, the Three Sisters, and Diamond Peak.

In other words, the Willamette National Forest is filled with special places! We've used this page to feature places and areas that offer a special type of experience but there are many more. Visit our recreation page to discover your very own special place on the forest! You can also use the interactive visitor map to help on Interactive Boat Oregon Map and select boating area of interest.

Detroit Ranger District is located in the northern part of the Willamette National Forest, bordering Mt. Hood National Forest and the Warm Springs Indian Reservation.

This area is accessible from the west on Highway 22 from Salem, from the east on Highway 22 via Highway 20/126 from the Santiam Pass area, or from the north on Forest Road 46 from the Mt. Hood National Forest.

Boating

Jefferson Ramp is a no use fee boat ramp managed by the City of Jefferson 
Contact: 541-327-2768 on the North Santiam River at Jefferson Location: 44.716211, -123.013198w Directions: Exit I-5 at Exit 238, Albany, OR 97321 onto Jeffersion Hwy OR164. Travel east for 2.2 miles. Cross the bridge over the North Santaim River and turn noth onto Mill St. Turn left immediately into the boat launch facility adjacent to the railroad bridge.

Green Bridge is a no use fee boat ramp managed by Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife. Contact: 800-720-6339 located on the North Santiam River
Comments: Key required to open gate. Contact ODFW at 541-757-4186 to make arrangements. Location: 44.7078, -122.97204 Directions: Exit I-5 at Exit 238, Albany, OR 97321 onto Jeffersion Hwy OR164. Travel east for 2.2 miles. Cross the bridge over the North Santaim River and turn south onto S. Main St. Travel 0.6 miles where S. Main St. changes to Jefferson Scio DR. SE. Follow Jefferson Scio DR. SE for 1.8 miles the Bridge over the North Santiam River. Drive another 100 feet and turn right into the boat launch facility. Turn right and follow the frontage gravel road to the launch area.

Buell Miller is Managed by: Linn County is a no use fee boat ramp managed by Linn County. Contact: 541-967-3917 located on North Santiam River Location: Location: 44.757783, -122.864633 Directions: Exit I-5 at Exit 238, Albany, OR 97321 onto Jeffersion Hwy OR-164. Travel east for 2.2 miles. Cross the bridge over the North Santaim River and turn south onto S. Main St. Travel 0.6 miles where S. Main St. changes to Jefferson Scio DR. SE. Follow Jefferson Scio DR. SE for 1.8 miles the Bridge over the North Santiam River. Road name changes to Jefferson Scio Dr. Travel 3.3 miles to Shelburn Dr. Turn left onto Shelburn Dr. and travel 2.9 miles to Hess Rd. Travel 1.2 miles to the end of Hess Rd. Drive another 300 feet into the boat launch facility.

Stayton Bridge a no use fee boat launch is managed by: Linn County. Contact: 541-967-3917 located on the North Santiam River. Comments: Closed due to flood damage. 1/4/16. Location: 44.79115 , -122.794783 Directions: Exit the Cascade Hwy 22 at exit 13. Travel south for nearlly 2.0 miles to the boat launch located on the downstream of the bridge over the North Fork of the Santiam River.

Bennett Dams: Upper and Lower Bennett Dams are located southeast of the town of Stayton on the North Santiam River. Upper Bennett Dam is on the south side of Stayton Island and Lower Bennett Dam is on the north side.

Fish passage structures and video cameras are installed at each dam. Review of the video feed allows an ODFW employee to count the number and species of fish making their way upstream.

Lyons-Mehama is a no use fee boat launch managed by: Linn County Contact: 541-967-3917 Location: 44.78837 , -122.61767 Directions: To access the Lyons-Mehama boat launch exit the Cascade Hwy 22 at onto Or. 226 also referred to as 5th St. in the community of Mehama. Travel south the short distance and cross the bridge over the Norhe fork of the Santiam River and turn right to access the boat launch located on the upstream of the bridge over the North Fork of the Santiam River. The access road to the boat ramp goes under the bridge.

John Neal Memorial Park is a no use fee boat launch managed by: Linn County Contact: 541-967-3917 located on the North Santiam River. Location: 44.78357, -122.60794 Directions: to the boat launch at the John Neal Memorial Park exit OR-22 & turn south onto OR-226, Memaha/Lyons, OR for 1.3 miles. Keep straight onto Main St for 0.3 miles. Turn left onto N 13th St. At 0.4 miles the road name changes to Neal Park Rd. Gated road does not sound inviting. Drive to the boat ramp area.

North Santiam State Recreation Area is a no use fee boat launch managed by Oregon Parks and Recreation Department. Contact: 1-800-551-6949. The North Santiam Recreaton Area is located on the North Santiam River. Location: 44.772886, -122.567305 Bureau of Land Management, State of Oregon GEO, State of Oregon, Esri, HERE, Garmin, INCREMENT P, NGA, USGS, U.S. Forest Service. Directions: the North Santiam State Recreation Area boat launch area is located at the end of Santiam Park Rd SE off of Hwy 22 east of Mahama.

Fishermen's Bend Recreation Site on the North Fork of the Santiam River is a no use fee boat launch managed by the Bureau of Land Management.  Contact: 503-897-2406 Location: 44.7534 , -122.51415 Directions Fishermen's Ben Recreation Site on the North Fork of the Santiam River is located by turning right into the first draveway after the intersection of NW River Road and Hwy 22 just before entering Mill City.

7th Street boat launch is a no use fee boat launch on the North Fork of the Santiam River. The boat launch is managed by the City of Mill City. Contact: 503-897-2302 Location: 44.75445, -122.4681

Packsaddle Park is a no use fee boat launch on the North Fork of the Santiam River managed by: Marion County Contact: 503-588-5304 Location: 44.75735 , -122.3652

The North Santiam Chamber of Commerce was instrumental in Marion County negotiating a lease with the U.S. Corps of Army Engineers by indicating they would donate $500 to assist in improvement of the entrance road. The Chamber was sponsoring the "White Water Challenge" at the time, and wanted to use the park as a point of assembly and raft launching. The park is contiguous to land leased by the State Fish Commission for a salmon egg collection station. The Park and Recreation Commission named the park "Packsaddle" because Packsaddle Creek flows through the area. The park is primarily used by drift boaters, fishermen, and sightseers.

Camping at Detroit Lake

Here you will find popular campgrounds in the Detroit Lake Area, as well as Breitenbush Campground and Shady Cove Campground that serve as the base for adventures such as hiking, horseback riding, OHV riding, swimming, and more.

Hiking

Incredible vistas await while backpacking in the Mt. Jefferson - Jefferson Park Trail Area and the Opal Creek Scenic Recreation Area.

Many day hiking opportunities can be found throughout the district such as the Detroit Reservoir Trail Area and Coffin Mountain Trail Area.

Other Recreation

Big Cliff Reservoir is located imediately down stream from Detroit Lake. Access is walk in only, and is Managed by: U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Contact by 541-942-5631 Use Fee: None.Comments: The boat ramp is closed until further notice, per the Army Corps of Engineers. Walk-in portage of boats is still allowed.

Birding: Big Cliff Dam is located three miles downstream from Detroit Dam, and is a designated stop along the Mt. Jefferson section of the Oregon Cascades Birding Trail.  This trail is a self-guided auto tour of nearly 200 prime birding destinations in the Oregon Cascades.  Large trees and snags along the shoreline provide roosts for osprey, while hardwood forests around the reservoir provide for neotropical migrant songbirds.

Detroit Lake. From the Army Corps of Engineers: Detroit Dam is located at river mile 49 on the North Santiam River, about 45 miles southeast of Salem, Ore. Detroit is a concrete dam with gated spillways. It was completed in 1953 with Big Cliff Dam, located just downstream, at a cost of $62.7 million. Detroit Dam has two hydropower generating units which were put into service in 1953, capable of producing 50 megawatts each.

Detroit Dam works together with Big Cliff Dam to provide flood risk management. Detroit’s other authorized primary purposes also include hydropower, water quality improvement, irrigation, fish and wildlife habitat and recreation.

Detroit recreation

Birding: The lake is a designated stop along the Mt. Jefferson section of the Oregon Cascades Birding Trail.  This Trail is a self-guided auto tour of nearly 200 prime birding destinations in the Oregon Cascades. This area provides songbird habitat in its hardwood stands, while osprey use lakeshore snags and trees as roosts and nesting sites and waterfowl including common mergansers nest at the lake.

Camping: Four recreation sites at Detroit are operated by the U.S. Forest Service. Call the Detroit Ranger Station at 503-854-3366 or click one of the links for more information: Cove Creek Campground; Hoover Campground; Piety Island Campground; or Southshore Campground.

Two recreation sites at Detroit are operated by Oregon Parks and Recreation. Call either the park office at 503-854-3406, the State Parks Information Center at 800-551-6949 or click one of the links for more information: Detroit Lake State Park; or Mongold day-use area. Mongold day-use area also has a life jacket loaner station available.

Boat Launching Facilities: Mongold State Park boat launch is a fee use facility managed by: Oregon Parks and Recreation Department. The entrance to the Mongold State Park boat launch is located 3.9 miles from our point of reference from the Detroit Lake Reservoir Dam. Contact: 800-551-6949 Location: 44.712217 , -122.192917.

Detroit Lake State Recreation Area: the entrance to the Detroit Lake State Recreation Area is located 5.4 miles from our reference point from the Detroit Reservoir Dam. The Detroit Lake State Recreation Area has horseshoe pits, a basketball court, a volleyball area, and a playground. There are two courtesy boat ramps, two reservable boat moorages, and a fishing dock.

Detroit Lake State Park - D Ramp

Managed by: Oregon Parks and Recreation Department 
Contact: 800-551-6949 
Waterbody: Detroit Lake
Use Fee: Yes
Comments: None
Location: 44.728217 , -122.175883

Detroit Lake State Park - F Dock

Managed by: Oregon Parks and Recreation Department 
Contact: 800-551-6949 
Waterbody: Detroit Lake
Use Fee: None
Comments: None
Location: 44.728967 , -122.172917

Detroit Lake State Park - G Ramp

Managed by: Oregon Parks and Recreation Department 
Contact: 800-551-6949 
Waterbody: Detroit Lake
Use Fee: Yes
Comments: None
Location: 44.730667 , -122.170167

Detroit Lake State Park -H Marina

Managed by: Oregon Parks and Recreation Department 
Contact: 800-551-6949 
Waterbody: Detroit Lake
Use Fee: Yes
Comments: None
Location: 44.73207 , -122.16691

Detroit Lake Marina is a private marina. Cantact 503-854-3423 for additional information. Location: 44.738617 , -122.15195 Detroit Lake Marina is located 7.3 miles from our reference point from the Detroit Reservoir Dam to Brietenbush Rd. Turn north on Brietenbush Rd and left into the enterence of the Detroit Lake Marina.

Kane's Marina a private boat facility. Contact: 503-854-3362 for additional information. Location: 44.7353 , -122.157083 - Kane's Marina is located 7.4 miles from our reference point from Detroit Reservoir Dam. Turn right onto Detroit Ave N, and then immediately turn right onto D St W. Turn right onto Detroit Ave N, and then immediately turn right onto D St. Turn left onto Patton Rd N. Turn left onto Patton Rd. Turn right onto Clester Rd W. Turn right onto Clester Rd W. Turn right onto Erin St. W and you have arrived.

Hoover Campground a no use fee boat ramp is managed by: U.S. Forest Service at Contact: 503-854-3366 Location: 44.715 , -122.123333 (4.2 mi) from 44.737812, -122.152001 to Hoover Boat Ramp FS Rd, Gates, OR 97346 . Depart OR-22 / N Santiam Hwy toward Detroit Ave N 3.0 mi. Turn right onto Blowout Rd.for 0.2 mi. Road name changes to Blowout-Idanha Rd an Unpaved Road for 0.7 mi. Turn right onto Hoover Campground Loop FS Rd to boat launch.

Cove Creek Campground a no use fee boat ramp is managed by: U.S. Forest Service at Contact: 503-854-3366 Location: Location: 44.714033 , -122.157633 Depart OR-22 / N Santiam Hwy toward Detroit Ave N for 3.0 mi. Turn right onto Blowout Rd an Unpaved Road for 0.2 mi. Road name changes to Blowout-Idanha Rd. An Unpaved Road for 4.1 miles Cove Creek Rd. Turn right toward Cove Creek Boat Ramp FS Rd. Cove Creek Campground is located approximately 5 miles east of Detroit on Hwy 22 and Forest Road 10. Forest Road 10 is also known as Blowout Road. They offer 67 camping sites for tents or RV’s. There is an improved boat ramp, showers, toilets and water available. Reservations are required and fees are applicable.

South Shore a use fee boat ramp at Detroit Lake managed by by the U.S. Forest Service. Contact: 503-854-3366 for additional infomation. Location: 44.70761 , -122.17378 South Shore Campground is located off Hwy 22 on Forest Road 10 also known as Blowout Road. They offer 23 camping sites for tents or RV’s. There is an unimproved boat ramp, toilets, shower and water available. Reservations are required and fees are applicable.

From Oregon Atlas of Lakes: Detroit Lake. From Wikipedia: Detroit Lake is a reservoir impounded by the Detroit Dam on the North Santiam River 46 miles (74 km) southeast of Salem, Oregon, United States.[1][2] The lake is adjacent to Oregon Route 22 near the city of Detroit. This mesotrophic lake stores water for use by the city of Salem and other nearby communities.

Many areas offer great boating and swimming such as the Detroit Lake Area: Directions: Detroit Lake is located 50 miles East of Salem, Oregon. To reach the lake, take Hwy 22 East exit from I-5 at Salem. The town of Detroit is located on the East end of the lake.

Nearby:

Detroit Ranger Station is located 5.5 miles from our reference point from the Detroit Reservoir Dam.

Oregon State Parks

Three Pools Day Use Area. Three Pools Day Use Area on the North Fork of the Santiam River is an extremely popular destination, attracting over 15,000 visitors each year. Accessible via a short walk from parking area (fee or recreation pass required), spectacular emerald pools and several picnic sites make this one of the most visited swimming locations in Oregon. Expect to see some large crowds here on a sunny day. Directions From Salem, Oregon, travel east on State Highway 22 to Mehama. At milepost 23, turn left (north) onto Little North Fork Road (next to the Oregon Department of Forestry building) and proceed for 15.3 miles to the Forest Boundary. Continue of gravel, FS Road 2209 for 1.3 miles to the intersection of FS Road 2207. Turn right and continue another 0.8 miles to Three Pools Day Use Area on the right

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Breitenbush Campground: Directions to GPS Info. (Latitude, Longitude): 44.7814, -121.99149 44°46'53"N, 121°59'29"W. From Detroit, Oregon, at the intersection of State Route 22 and Forest Service Road 46, take Road 46 north and continue 9.3 miles to the campground on the right.

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Detroit Lake area description

In the summer months, this 3,500-acre, 9-mile long lake in the Cascades below Mt. Jefferson is a popular recreation area for fishing, boating, water skiing, swimming, camping, and picnicking. The U.S. Forest Service and Oregon Department of Parks and Recreation and operate numerous boat ramps, campgrounds and day-use areas around the lake. Two privately owned marinas are located near the town of Detroit.

Both Detroit and Big Cliff lakes are located 43 miles southeast of Salem on the North Fork of the Santiam River. They are operated by the Corps of Engineers as part of a system of thirteen multi-purpose dams and reservoirs that make up the Willamette Valley Project. These dams and reservoirs work together for the purposes of flood damage reduction, hydropower generation, irrigation, recreation, fish and wildlife enhancement, and downstream water quality improvement within the Willamette River drainage system.. To learn more about the lake and construction of the dam visit the Army Corps of Engineers website at http://www.nwp.usace.army.mil/

In late summer, early fall through spring, the water levels on Detroit and Big Cliff lakes are frequently drawn down to the point where boat launches are no longer available. Reservoir and river level information is available from the US Army Corps of Engineers here. Watch for obstructions near the shoreline such as submerged stumps, logs and rocks. Small craft should stay out of open waters when it is windy since dangerous waves can build up suddenly.

Fish Your National Forests: This site can be accessed by Passenger Car; Fish available include: Trout, Native Trout; Types of fishing available include: Shore, Motorized boat, Float tube, Fly, Spin, Bait; ADA Accessible fishing access with fishing pier, boat launch, and fish cleaning station

View more Popular Lakes & Rivers

Cove Creek Campground with 63 sites and a 70 person group campground, Cove Creek Campground is the largest national forest Campground on Detroit Lake. Cove Creek Campground rests on the shores of Detroit Lake at an elevation of 1,600 feet. A mix of wooded and open sites are provided at the campground. Its location is near enough to the Detroit Reservoir to hear passing boats, but a little too far for unobstructed views of the lake. The reservoir covers 3,500 acres and is surrounded by groves of Douglas fir. The campground offers single and double-family campsites, as well as an accessible group site for up to 70 people. Accessible flush toilets, drinking water and coin-operated showers are available at Cove Creek.

In the day use area, there is about 1,000 ft. of shoreline. There is a dock for launching, loading and unloading only. There is no mooring allowed. Detroit Lake is a popular destination for boating, jet skiing, swimming and fishing. Rainbow trout, Kokanee salmon and catfish are found in the lake. A boat ramp and dock are located next to the campground. 

The Stahlman Point Trail is a quarter-mile from the campground entrance road. The trail meanders through younger Douglas fir forests and offers some memorable views of Detroit Lake. Additional hiking trails can be found across the lake, including those that lead to Dome Rock and Needle Rock.

Hoover Campground and the the adjacent Hoover Group Site sit among Douglas fir and maple trees and large ferns at an elevation of 1,600 feet on the shores of the sparkling Detroit Lake. An interpretive trail and a viewing and fishing platform are part of the campground. Each site has a campfire ring and picnic table. Flush toilets are available at the campground and the group campground has a vault toilet. Access roads are made from compacted rock and dirt. Firewood can be purchased on-site.

In the day use area, there is about 1,000 ft. of shoreline. There is a dock for launching, loading and unloading only. There is no mooring allowed.

Sailing, boating, water skiing and fishing are all excellent options for enjoying Detroit Lake. Catfish, rainbow trout and Kokanee salmon are among the most common species found in the lake. A convenient boat ramp lies adjacent to the campground.

Several hiking trails dot the area, including Stahlman Point Trail, which offers beautiful vistas of Detroit Lake and the surrounding area. The Hoover Nature Trail is an accessible, short footpath that delights many campers.

Piety Island Campground Parking can be a challenge. The parkind and/or day use fees do not apply towards your camping fee at Piety Island. Travel directions: Piety Island is located in the middle of the North portion of Detroit Lake. Travel by boat from Mongold State Park, Detroit Lake State Park, Detroit Marina, Kanes Marina, Detroit Flats, Hoover CampgroundCove Creek Campground, or Southshore Campground

Santiam Flats Campground: parking is limited within the campground. If visiting for the day, please be aware that overnight campers have priority in the campsite parking. Directions: the Santaim Flats Campgroung is 2.6 miles east of Detroit, From Detroit, follow Highway 22 east for 2.6 miles to Blowout Road #10 on the right. Santiam Flats Campground is on the right.

Southshore Campground Directions: GPS Info. (Latitude, Longitude): 44.7054, -122.17619 44°42'19"N, 122°10'34"W. From Detroit, Oregon, travel east on State Highway 22 for 2.7 miles to Blowout Road (FSR10). From Idanha, Oregon, travel west on State Highway 22 for 0.7 miles to Blowout Road (FSR10). Proceed on Blowout Road 4.7 miles to Southshore Campground on the right.

Elk Lake is located in Deschutes County. Motorized boats are not allowed on Elk Lake.

Elk Lake Campground is located 12.1 miles north of Detroit. From Highway 22 at Detroit, Oregon, turn onto Breitenbush Road (FSR 46). Proceed 4.4 miles, turn left onto FS Road 4696. Proceed 0.8 miles, turn left on FS Road 4697. Follow FS Road 4697 for 4.5 miles and turn left at an unmarked junction (still FS Road 4697), continue 2.1 miles to a small spur road located at west end of Elk Lake (FS Road 390). The camping area is about 0.3 miles ahead. CAUTION: FS Road 4697 is not maintained for the last 4 miles into Elk Lake. Access by low-clearance vehicles and trailers not recommended as the road is rough and rocky.

Humbug Campground is located 4.6 miles northeast of Detroit, Oregon. From State Highway 22 at Detroit, Oregon, turn onto Breitenbush Road (FSR 46) and continue for 4.6 miles to Humbug Campground on the right.

Humbug Campground is close to:

Riverside at Detroit Campground Directions:

GPS Info. (Latitude, Longitude):

44.64242, -121.94533
44°38'33"N, 121°56'43"W

From Detroit, OR, take Route 22 toward Sisters. Go 14.2 miles to the campground on right side of the road.

From Sisters, OR, head toward Detroit, OR on Route 22. Go 43 miles to the campground on the left.

Marion Forks Campground is 16.1 miles southeast of Detroit, Oregon. From Detroit, Oregon, travel southeast on State Highway 22 for 16 miles to Marion Forks. Turn left at the Marion Forks Fish Hatchery sign.  Day Use Area is adjacent to the Fish Hatchery and Marion Creek. Campground is behind the Fish Hatchery.

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Marion Lake Trail #3436 Marion Lake (Linn) Area: 352.4 acres | Shoreline: 4.4 mi |(From Atlas of Oregon Lakes, Johnson et al. 1985). Marion Lake is located near the western edge of the spectacular Mt. Jefferson Wilderness, and it is the largest lake in Oregon not accessible by automobile. Indeed, with the exception of massive Waldo Lake it is the largest natural lake in the Willamette National Forest on the west slope of the Central Cascades

Marion Forks Campground and Day Use Area is 16.1 miles southeast of Detroit, Oregon. From Detroit, Oregon, travel southeast on State Highway 22 for 16 miles to Marion Forks. Turn left at the Marion Forks Fish Hatchery sign.  Day Use Area is adjacent to the ODFW Fish Hatchery and Marion Creek. Campground is behind the Fish Hatchery. Marion Forks Campground and Day Use Area is close to:

Riverside at Detroit Campground is located at GPS Info. (Latitude, Longitude): 44.64242, -121.94533 44°38'33"N, 121°56'43"W From Detroit, OR, take Route 22 toward Sisters. Go 14.2 miles to the campground on right side of the road. From Sisters, OR, head toward Detroit, OR on Route 22. Go 43 miles to the campground on the left. Riverside at Detroit Campground is close to:

Shady Cove Campground is located 18.5 miles northeast of Mehama, Oregon. From Salem, Oregon, travel east on State Highway 22 to Mehama. At milepost 23, turn left (north) onto Little North Fork Road (next to the Oregon Department of Forestry building) and proceed for 15.3 miles to the Forest Boundary. Continue of gravel, FS Road 2209 for 1.3 miles to the intersection of FS Road 2207. Turn right and continue another 1.9 miles to Shady Cove Campground on the right. Shady Cove Campground is clost to:

Clear Lake Area Clear Lake has a long history of being a popular recreation spot in the high Cascades. It was discovered in 1859 by a party of men who were searching for a route over the Cascade Mountains. They had followed an Indian trail down Hackleman Creek and after con­siderable scouting found Fish Lake and then Clear Lake.

Clear Lake is about 142 acres in size and lies at an elevation of 3,012 feet, with a maximum depth of 175 feet. It is one of the clearest and coldest lakes in the Cascades. It lies just off Highway 126 about 21 miles east of McKenzie Bridge. Clear Lake is excellent for canoeing and other non-motorized boats. Fishing is good at Clear Lake. Brook trout and cutthroat trout re­produce naturally in the lake. Rainbow trout are stocked annually.

Cold Water Cove Campground has 34 campsites and each site is equipped with a picnic table and campfire ring. Adjacent to the campground is the Clear Lake Resort at which cabins are rented and there is a grocery and tackle shop with a restaurant that sells meals during the recreation season, from about late May through the fall.

How did geological processes shape what you see at Clear Lake? Why is the water so clear and blue? What other diverse features exist because of a volcanic eruption 3,000 years ago? Take a walk along the Clear Lake Loop Trail to discover the answers as you walk through groves of ancient firs and across stark fields of lava to the source of the McKenzie River.

Visiting the Clear Lake area, you’ll discover a diverse landscape.

This landscape, though, is very different from what it was 3,000 years ago. At that time, there was no lake here, only a densely forested drainage dissected by a rumbling white-water river. About 1,000 B.C., Sand Mountain erupted. Lava flowed out toward the McKenzie River and burned the forest as it moved. When the lava reached the river and struck the cold water, it stopped. The McKenzie quickly backed up behind the wall of lava, and Clear Lake was formed. The forest that had lined the river banks was submerged under 120 feet of water. Remnants of these trees still stand today, incredibly preserved in the depths of the near-freezing lake. New ecosystems were created by the eruption, which provided habitat for new wildlife species. Fish species that had lived in the river adapted to life in the new lake. Different kinds of vegetation took root along the lake shore and in the cooled lava fields.

Directions to Cold Water Cove Campground. From McKenzie Bridge,OR, travel east on Highway 126 for 18 miles to the Clear Lake Area. Before reaching Clear Lake, turn right on Forest Road 770, heading northeast 1 mile to Coldwater Cove Campground.

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View more Popular Lakes & Rivers

Delta Campground: is known for its access to rafting and drift boat fishing on the McKenzie River. This scenic 38 site (33 single, 5 multiple) campground is located in a grove of old growth trees. Some of these ancient sentinels, predominantly Douglas fir and western red cedar, are centuries old and make for an enchanting setting. Access to the river, Cougar Reservoir and Terwilliger Hot Springs make this campground a great spot for camping and exploring the area.

Several hiking trails are in the surrounding wilderness, guarded by large Douglas fir and western red cedar trees. Visitors can also enjoy a short botanical walk on the Delta Old Growth Nature Trail. A day use area and amphitheater are also available at the campground. 

Ice Cap Creek Campground area description

This scenic campground is located in a stand of Douglas fir, cedar and hemlock on a bluff above the McKenzie River and Carmen Reservoir. Ice Cap Creek runs along the eastern edge of the campground. Ice Cap offers 22 campsites with 9 walk-in tent sites. Each site has a fire ring and picnic table. There are vault toilets, firewood for sale, and a host onsite. There is no drinking water.

The location provides easy access to the McKenzie River Trail and to Koosah and Sahalie Falls. The McKenzie River is well known for boating and fishing as are Carmen Reservoir, Fish Lake and Clear Lake.

Sahalie Falls and Koosah Falls are located along the McKenzie Pass-Santiam Pass and West Cascades National Scenic Byways off Highway 126.

The Waterfalls Loop Trail, part of the McKenzie River National Recreation Trail, connects the two waterfalls and offers up close views of the wild McKenzie River.

These falls mark the terminus of two thick flows of basaltic andesite lava that dammed Clear Lake and moved into the McKenzie River 3,000 years ago. The results are two breathtaking waterfalls with foaming white water cascades in between.

Sahalie (or "Heaven") and Koosah (or "Sky") are Chinook Jargon words - part of a rudimentary trade language that allowed people to exchange news and goods in the area. The Kalapuya, Molalla, Sahaptain and Chinook peoples traveled and traded here, perhaps on their way to obtain obsidian in the high Cascades or to gather huckleberries.

Both sites feature parking area, interpretive panels that tell the story of area geology, restrooms and observation points.Directions: From Hwy 126 (McKenize Bridge): Travel east on Highway 126 to Carmen Reservoir. Just north of the turnoff to Carmen Reservoir, turn left at the Ice Cap Campground/Koosah Falls sign to access Koosah Falls.

To access Sahalie Falls, proceed another 1/2 mile north of the Koosah Falls turnoff on Highway 126. The parking area is located on the left.

Limberlost Campground Directions to Limberlost Campground From McKenzie Bridge, OR,  travel east on Highway 126 to Highway 242. Follow Highway 242 east for approximately 1 mile to Limberlost Campground.

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Lost Lake Campground Directoins to Lost Lake Campground from McKenzie Bridge, OR, follow Highway 126 east  28 miles to Lost Lake Campground. Campground turnoff is on the north side of the highway just past Potato Hill Sno-park at Forest Road 890.

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McKenzie Bridge Campground This 13-site campground rests in the shade of a towering grove of Douglas-fir and western red cedar along the banks of the McKenzie River and provides an ideal atmosphere for relaxation, fishing, and bird watching. Enjoy the sights and sounds of the McKenzie River as you watch boaters and rafters float by. Campsites are nicely spaced and all have riverfront access. Vault toilets and drinking water are provided. Parking areas are gravel surfaced.

At the campground, the river provides catch-and-release fishing for trout and steelhead. Kayaking and canoeing are also popular activities. A boat ramp is located on-site. Directions: from McKenzie Bridge, OR, travel west on Highway 126 less than 1 mile to McKenzie Bridge Campground.

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The McKenzie River National Recreation Trail begins nearby, offering fun-filled hiking and biking opportunities. The 26.5-mile trail boasts wonderful scenery along the river and is an easy hike for all ages. Directions to accedss the McKenzie River National Reaction Trail from:

Alder Springs Campground Directions from McKenzie Bridge, OR, travel east on Highway 126 for 3 miles to Highway 242. Follow Highway 242 east for 9 miles to Alder Springs Campground.

Alder Springs Campground is close to:

  • Three Sisters Wilderness (area is unavailable)
  • McKenzie Pass Trail Area (area is unavailable)
  • Scott Lake Campground (area is unavailable)
  • Limberlost Campground (area is unavailable)

Scott Lake Campground Directions to Scott Lake Campground from McKenzie Bridge, OR, travel east on Highway 126 for 3 miles to Highway 242. Follow Highway 242 east for 14 miles to Forest Road 260. Take a left of Forest Road 260 west Scott Lake Campground and nearby Benson/Tenas Trailhead (fee site).

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McKenzie River Area

McKenzie River Scenic Byway

Olallie Campground Nestled on the banks of the McKenzie River and Olallie Creek, Olallie Campground provides 16 sites with a superb setting for a getaway into nature. The lower loop offers mesmerizing views of both the river and the creek while the upper loop is set further in the trees with many sites facing the creek. No electric hookups are available at the campground. Picnic tables, vault toilets and drinking water are among the amenities available. A camp host is on-site, and firewood is available for purchase.

Fishing, rafting and swimming are three top activities in the river. Picnicking is also a lot of fun at the campground. Nearby is the McKenzie Pass Trail Area with incredible hikes around lakes, overlooking cliffs, and trailing along craters and valleys.

Know Before You Go: This campground is in central Oregon near McKenzie Bridge on the Willamette National Forest. There is another "Olallie" near Mt. Hood, Oregon.

Directions from McKenzie Bridge, OR,  travel east on Highway 126 for 11 miles to Olallie Campground.

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Paradise Campground area description

Paradise Campground is indeed a campers paradise. Originally built by the Civilian Conservation Corps in the 1930s, it offers a rare opportunity to camp in the middle of a lush, old growth grove of Douglas fir and western red cedar while viewing the McKenzie River's famous white water.

A number of the 61 sites face the river, while many others are tucked into the scenic forest. Flush toilets are dispersed throughout the campground and parking spurs are paved. Educational programs are provided at the amphitheater.

Directions from McKenzie Bridge, OR, travel 4 miles east on Highway126 to Paradise Campground.

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Smith Reservoir Area The reservoir when full, spans 170 acres. In late summer, early fall through mid-March, the water levels on Smith Reservoir are frequently drawn down to the point where the boat launch is no longer available. Reservoir and river level information is available from the US Army Corps of Engineers here. Watch for obstructions near the shoreline such as submerged stumps, logs and rocks. Small craft should stay out of open waters when it is windy since dangerous waves can build up suddenly.

Directions to Smith Reservoir from McKenzie Bridge, OR, travel east on Highway 126 for 12 miles to Forest Road 732 at Trailbridge Reservoir. Follow Forest Road 732 across the bridge, then south along Trailbridge Reservoir to Forest Road 730. Take Forest Road 730 north 1.5 miles to Smith Reservoir

Stocked annually with trout, Smith Reservoir makes a good fishing spot. Boats can be launched from a site near the dam (a 10 mile per hour speed limit for boats is enforced). Lakes End Campground is the one campground located on the reservoir and is accessible only by boat. Beautiful Sahalie and Koosah Falls are nearby on the McKenzie River National Recreation Trail.

Waterfalls, Lava Flows and a Turquoise Pool Await Upper McKenzie Hikers

Hiking a popular 7-mile stretch of the McKenzie River National Recreation Trail offers large waterfalls, a stunning turquoise pool, lava fields and hundreds-year-old Douglas firs along a stretch of untamed whitewater. Vine maples add a splash of fall color. View a slideshow of some of the scenery.

McKenzie Rive Adventures

Join the River Guides for a series of river adventures, and discover remote and remarkable journeys along the McKenzie River.

Beginning at the Upper McKenzie River Trailhead, McKenzie River National Recreation Trail #3507 starts in an old lava flow, originating from Mt. Washington, and crosses a bridge over the McKenzie River.

The trail maintains a gradual downhill track through old growth conifer trees as it winds along the edge of the McKenzie River and crosses the river on a footbridge just before Clear Lake. The trail continues winding through the forest and old lava flows in view of Clear Lake and passes the Great Spring, which is a primary source of the McKenzie River.

After passing the southern end of Clear Lake, the trail winds through forest and crosses Highway 126, continuing along the McKenzie River. The trail then crosses the river to its western side on a footbridge, winding down past scenic viewpoints overlooking Sahalie and Koosah Falls. The trail winds around Carmen Reservoir where the river disappears underground for most of the year.

The trail then follows a dry creekbed in old growth forest with several bridges to cross as the trail and creekbed meander in the valley bottom. After about 2 miles, the trail reaches a viewpoint of Tamolich Blue Pool, where the river bubbles up from the ground in a crystal clear, blue colored pool.  

From here, the trail heads down stream as the river begins to grow from the spring at blue pool eventually ending again at Trailbridge Reservoir. From Trailbridge Reservoir, the trail continues south through an old growth conifer forest and breaks out onto Forest Road 610, joining the road and heading south past a gate before breaking off the road east and south back along the now continuing river.

The trail crosses several more streams and follows forest roads connecting trail segments, breaking west and leveling out near Belknap Hot Springs Resort. The trail continues over undulating terrain west past Paradise Campground, then past the McKenzie River Ranger Station before reaching its end the at Lower McKenzie River Trailhead.

See it before you hike it! Use Travel Lane County’s Google-Trekked Trails to see Google's "trail view" of this trail. Click on the "trail details" for more information on the trail itself. McKenzie River Trailtrail details

View more Popular Lakes and Rivers

Lakes End Campground

Trail Bridge Reservoir Area area description

In the summer months, Trail Bridge Reservoir is a popular place for camping, hiking, fishing, boating, and swimming. Access to the McKenzie River National Recreation Trail is close by.

The reservoir when full, spans 120 acres. In the winter months, the reservoir is primarily used as storage for floodwaters in winter.

In late summer, early fall through mid-March, the water levels on Trail Bridge Reservoir are frequently drawn down to the point where boat launches are no longer available. Reservoir and river level information is available from the US Army Corps of Engineers here. Watch for obstructions near the shoreline such as submerged stumps, logs and rocks. Small craft should stay out of open waters when it is windy since dangerous waves can build up suddenly.

View more Popular Lakes and Rivers.

Poison Butte Campground - 0.57 mi / 0.92 km
Devils Post Pile Campground - 1.13 mi / 1.82 km
Cobble Rock Campground - 1.37 mi / 2.21 km
Lower Crooked River - BLM - 1.89 mi / 3.04 km
Palisades - Crooked River - BLM - 2.00 mi / 3.22 km
Chimney Rock Campground - 2.04 mi / 3.29 km
Lone Pine Crooked River Campground - 2.48 mi / 4.00 km

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