McKenzie River Trail – Upper TH to Sahalie Falls

As part of the contingency plan after bailing out of the Old Summit trail hike from Round Lake (post), the upper McKenzie River trail was right on the way home … I stopped around 10:00 on Saturday, June 17. At the upper trailhead (US FS), there were only 2 empty parking spots – I took 1.

I had no idea what to expect and had not hiked this trail in over 35 years. I had a blast! It is truly a mixed use trail – backpackers, day hikers, mountain bikers and families with babies in backpacks. I loved it and everybody but 1 mtb rider was fab!

The upper section of the river – up-stream from McKenzie Bridge is still wild – but busy w/ other people. The trail wanders though old growth forests, right along the river, along lava flows on the side of Clearlake and then to Sahalie Falls. The trail is in great condition, easy and fast. I was able to cover 10 miles in 4 hours while taking photos, watching as much as I could (track). This is a trail to keep in the back pocket for a great summer day hike in cool, river-side forests.

Clearlake is really clear – not just a name – and families were everywhere around the lake.

The McKenzie River is not to be taken lightly … its a raging wilderness mountain river

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