Hiking lower McKenzie River

After hiking the upper and middle sections of the McKenzie River National Recreation Trail and the weather forecast in the upper 80’s, a perfect time to hike the lower McKenzie River section – completing all the trail but the detour. A huge bonus, my partner agreed to go along!

The Route

We started at the lower McKenzie River trailhead and hiked up-river to Belknap Springs Resort, stopped and took in the scene, turned around and walked back to the car. The trail was in perfect condition. Over the entire track (except at the resort), we met 4 MTBs, 3 hikers and watched 5 rafts float down the river. That first mile from the lower TH along Hwy 126 is not fun; to repeat this hike, we’d park at Belknap and hike up-river to the detour and down-river until the highway edge.

(note on above track – i forgot to stop the recording after getting in the car for a couple of minutes at end)

Much of this trail is either above or along the river snaking through older mixed forests. Some trees seemed quite old, and their size even on the ground was amazing.

If you Mountain Bike (MTB)

This section has two bridges – one a double-railing bridge and one a single railing log (like the several others in the upper section). Both need to be crossed.

On one side of this bridge is an old picnic table that hasn’t seen a lunch in years …

Hanging out at Belknap

Lunch on the patio at Belknap gave us a chance to watch the river sitting in the shade at a real picnic table! Flowers, butterflies and the river – could better company be found?

(click a photo to see higher resolution, full size)

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