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Old 09-29-2014, 01:32 AM   #1
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McKenzie River Trail

In between kids' birthday weekends, I spent a couple of days on the McKenzie River Trail with the guys. The MRT is a ~25 mile singletrack that follows the McKenzie River from the dry, lodgepole pines of the Cascade crest down into the old growth fir and hemlock on the west side of the range. The upper half is very technical over some pretty sharp lava rock but passes a couple beautiful waterfalls, and the famous Blue Pool, where the river resurfaces after flowing underground for several miles. The lower half is faster and smoother through old growth forest. The entire trail has sections with occasional exposure and big fall potential.

Our group of nine made it through the trail in about five hours with a long lunch stop at the mid-way point. We had several crashes resulting in some blood and a broken brake lever (poor guy had to ride the last 16 miles with no front brake), but nothing serious, and amazingly no flats.

We camped at Paradise Campground near McKenzie Bridge, nestled in among the big trees and right next to the river. Lots of empty spots after Labor Day, but I got there early to snag the river spots.

First order of business was to put a new drivetrain on the bike, then a test ride Friday evening before the big day on Saturday.


The motley crew:
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Old 09-29-2014, 01:33 AM   #2
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Re: McKenzie River Trail

One of the waterfalls:


Lots of log bridges:


Lunch stop at trail bridge reservoir. It's possible to hike a couple miles up to the Blue Pool (Tamolitch Pool) from here, but you'll have to deal with all the damn mountain bikers.
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Old 09-29-2014, 01:39 AM   #3
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Re: McKenzie River Trail

Another log bridge. With only one handrail, it's possible to ride some of these.


Refueling at camp. We picked up two more on the trail who were in need of a beer and a shuttle back to the top. We obliged.


First one in and last one out. You get an idea of the trees with this shot.
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Old 09-29-2014, 01:45 AM   #4
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Re: McKenzie River Trail

On Sunday, I headed over Oregon 242, the Old McKenzie Pass Highway, to meet an old friend in Sisters. This is a beautiful drive (all paved, though) with tight switchbacks up the west side, and then the barren lava fields between the North Sister and Belknap Crater. Here is a shot of two of the Three Sisters:


At and near the summit, there are various trails. In the past, I've hiked north across the lava to summit Little Belknap Crater, and have also backpacked south to climb the Middle Sister. Today, I took a short walk up the paved trail to the observatory. Here is a shot of Belknap Crater, Little Belknap, Mt. Washington, Mt. Jefferson, Black Butte, and a few other volcanoes.


The summit:
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Old 09-29-2014, 01:49 AM   #5
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Re: McKenzie River Trail

Here is the Dee Wright Observatory at the summit, named after a long-time forest service employee in the area who helped to make it a reality.


It was a quick trip, only two nights out, but got in a couple of great rides, good times with the fellas, and a little scenery. The SMB drove great, and the new house battery work great and kept the beer cold. That's all that matters, isn't it?
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Old 09-29-2014, 07:37 AM   #6
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Re: McKenzie River Trail

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Old 09-29-2014, 08:15 AM   #7
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Re: McKenzie River Trail

That trial is on my check list now. thanks for the pictures.
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Old 09-29-2014, 08:26 AM   #8
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Re: McKenzie River Trail

looks like a really nice trail. thanks for sharing
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Old 09-29-2014, 02:20 PM   #9
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Re: McKenzie River Trail

Awesome. I spent 4 days riding and fishing around Oakridge over Memorial Day - can't wait to get back up to Oregon!
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Old 09-29-2014, 08:53 PM   #10
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Re: McKenzie River Trail

Great trip report!
Thanks for showing us!
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