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McKenzie River Trail

Bend Trails » McKenzie River Trail Map

Trail Snapshot

Report (Date)
Length
24.2 miles
Elevation
3705'
Rating
Forecast
Trail is riding well right now and there are no reports of mud, deadfall, or snow.

Trail Reports

  • Tudor Thomas October 16, 2017 at 7:54 amRode it yesterday and came across the area you were talking about. There was a 6-7 person trail crew working on it. They put in a temporary crossing made out of planks in the downstream area and were in the process of putting in a permanent bridge. They said the permanent solution should be finished by Wednesday Oct 18.
  • Josh L October 11, 2017 at 11:28 amRode MRT yesterday, and found the deep water section can be avoided by bushwhacking to the right (when headed South). There's evidence of several folks making their way around the water -- just follow the improvised path. Wouldn't hurt for a machete owner to bring theirs and cut some underbrush. :-)
  • Erik Santner September 26, 2017 at 7:42 amRode yesterday. Conditions/weather was excellent! Experienced one section of deep water near Carmen Reservoir, luckily i had just caught a couple that were ahead of me. They both fell in trying to ride across. I removed my shoes and socks and forded across. Hip deep water! There were maybe a dozen down trees on the journey down from there.
  • Ryan Pedersen June 29, 2017 at 10:26 amHi Jeff. How did you add a link to your comment?
  • Ryan Pedersen June 29, 2017 at 10:24 amRode MRT yesterday and I can confirm that the flooding is still there. Kind of surprised that there is no warnings posted about it to be honest. My friend and I came upon 2 hikers equally caught off guard. I looked for a walk around but didn't seem like there was going to be anything close so we decided to hike up our shorts and ford it. The thigh deep water at the start gets deeper in the middle (at 5'7 my shammy did get wet so depending on your inseam you might be able to get through unscathed). We came upon the hikers again and they reported a dry clearing but only after a pretty significant detour. Both options are not great at this point so pick your poison. Still had an epic day despite my damp shammy.
  • Greta Elston June 27, 2017 at 6:43 pmThere has been a water release from Carmen Resevoir. On Sunday, there was significant flooding til almost the Blue Pool. Waded through literally hip deep water for at least 50 foot distance
  • Jeff Gully June 10, 2017 at 2:01 pmThe Lost Creek Bridge on the McKenzie River National Recreation Trail (MRT), east of Paradise Campground and west of Belknap Hot Springs is undergoing repairs beginning June 7 and continuing through early July. There will be no access across Lost Creek during this time. The McKenzie River Trail will remain open on both sides of the construction zone. Limited parking and access to the trail heading east is available at the Lost Creek access point. The nearest access heading west is at Paradise Day Use Area. Click for More Info »
 

Trail Description

The McKenzie River Trail is probably one of the most famous mountain bike trails in North America. Nearly 25 miles in length and slightly downhill (when ridden as a shuttle), the trail’s stats are a bit misleading. Most riders will take at least 4 or 5 hours to complete the ride partly because of the technical upper trail and partly because of the number of amazing photo opportunities to stop and regroup.

The trail is heavily used by hikers especially around the area of Tamolitch Pool (often referred to simply as “Blue Pool”), so expect to dismount and yield to walkers.

The first 10 or so miles are a “black-diamond” technical trail, with lots of “exfoliating” pumice and lava (knee pads and platform pedals are a good idea on the MRT). After that, the trail becomes an intermediate route with lot of flowy twists and turns to the bottom. Riders who want to experience this epic ride but are not comfortable with rock gardens can start the ride at any number of mid-way points — the Trail Bridge Reservoir at Tamolitch Pool trailhead being the most popular.

Another option for those that are not into the rocky terrain is to stay on the West side of Clear Lake. This is all singetrack along Clear Lake Trail is fairly smooth and just as scenic.

Check out the Blazin Saddles Bike Shop in Sisters for information about shuttle service on the McKenzie or other trails in the area.

Trail Photos

Before heading out, please take a minute to look at the Rules of the Trail.
More pix @bendtrails and #bendtrails.

Trail Reports » McKenzie River

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  1. Josh L says:

    Rode MRT yesterday, and found the deep water section can be avoided by bushwhacking to the right (when headed South). There’s evidence of several folks making their way around the water — just follow the improvised path. Wouldn’t hurt for a machete owner to bring theirs and cut some underbrush. :-)

    1. Tudor Thomas says:

      Rode it yesterday and came across the area you were talking about. There was a 6-7 person trail crew working on it. They put in a temporary crossing made out of planks in the downstream area and were in the process of putting in a permanent bridge. They said the permanent solution should be finished by Wednesday Oct 18.

  2. Erik Santner says:

    Rode yesterday. Conditions/weather was excellent! Experienced one section of deep water near Carmen Reservoir, luckily i had just caught a couple that were ahead of me. They both fell in trying to ride across. I removed my shoes and socks and forded across. Hip deep water! There were maybe a dozen down trees on the journey down from there.

  3. Greta Elston says:

    There has been a water release from Carmen Resevoir. On Sunday, there was significant flooding til almost the Blue Pool. Waded through literally hip deep water for at least 50 foot distance

    1. Ryan Pedersen says:

      Rode MRT yesterday and I can confirm that the flooding is still there. Kind of surprised that there is no warnings posted about it to be honest. My friend and I came upon 2 hikers equally caught off guard. I looked for a walk around but didn’t seem like there was going to be anything close so we decided to hike up our shorts and ford it. The thigh deep water at the start gets deeper in the middle (at 5’7 my shammy did get wet so depending on your inseam you might be able to get through unscathed). We came upon the hikers again and they reported a dry clearing but only after a pretty significant detour. Both options are not great at this point so pick your poison. Still had an epic day despite my damp shammy.

  4. Jeff Gully says:

    The Lost Creek Bridge on the McKenzie River National Recreation Trail (MRT), east of Paradise Campground and west of Belknap Hot Springs is undergoing repairs beginning June 7 and continuing through early July. There will be no access across Lost Creek during this time.

    The McKenzie River Trail will remain open on both sides of the construction zone. Limited parking and access to the trail heading east is available at the Lost Creek access point. The nearest access heading west is at Paradise Day Use Area.

    Click for More Info »

    1. Ryan Pedersen says:

      Hi Jeff. How did you add a link to your comment?

  5. Heidi H-P says:

    Rode this trail on Memorial Day. Parts of it were dry and some parts damp. We also encountered hoards of people on the Blue Pool trail, despite recent road closures. Major holidays are bad days on which to ride McKenzie river trail. Too many people!

  6. Natalie Herse says:

    Up and back from Paradise CG to Trail Bridge today – one downed tree and spots of mud (mostly along the usual spring fed cliffs). Ran into people coming down who had started from the top. They said they pretty much walked the first two miles due to 4′ snow piles but then the snow pretty much stops where the waterfalls start – and no downed trees (?)…Almost ready!

  7. Mike Johnson says:

    You can get in a nice 16-mile out and back ride if you start at Deer Creek and head upstream. The trail was in pretty good shape on Saturday 2/29. Snow patches and down trees became pretty prevalent about 2 miles above the blue pool. My wife ran out and back going the other direction from Deer Creek and said the trail was a little wet, but in good shape.

  8. Greta Elston says:

    April 23rd. Deep snow at trail head. Snow continues through Sahalie Falls area. Hike Tam Pool…. very muddy with deep puddles

  9. Mike Johnson says:

    Started at Deer Creek (milepost 14.5) and was able to get about 1/2 mile beyond the Blue Pool before the snow patches became too numerous. The trail is in very good shape. Almost no puddles and pretty darn firm. Can’t speak to anything downhill from where the trail crosses Deer Creek road, but it would surprise me if it wasn’t in great shape too.

    1. Mike Johnson says:

      I should have mentioned the date. I rode it Saturday, 4/15/17.

  10. Heidi H-P says:

    McKenzie river trail from the ranger station to the tamolitch pool TH is riding well overall, especially with the solitude and wonderful weather. Best riding hours, in my humble opinion, are between 10 and 2, soon to be 9 and 1 starting next week :(. My bike stayed pretty clean, sans rear fender. However, I counted 5 trees down, a few muddy spots, and many soft spots. Beware of slick roots, leaves and bridges! Vigilance and finesse required!

    1. Peter Sussmann says:

      Fish Lake to Deer Ck is stellar…

  11. Joe Myers says:

    MRT has a few down trees here and there but still riding well as of today.

  12. Heidi H-P says:

    Stellar trail conditions on MRT as of May 29. Don’t bother riding MRT memorial day weekend or likely any other popular holiday weekend! Hundreds of people decided to visit blue pool. What a hairy ride from blue pool to trail bridge reservoir because of all the people.

  13. Joe Myers says:

    Upper MRT and Clear lake trails are free of snow and mud.

  14. Dustin Balderach says:

    A few spots of snow before Clear Lake. Then several spots of snow (hike a bike) from bottom of Clear Lake to first crossing of 126. After that not much snow. Some puddles and mud but not too bad. Maybe 3-5 blow downs still on the entire length. Fun day.

  15. Mark DeJohn says:

    I was on the McKenzie today. Its riding very well and only has a few wet spots. We started counting the hikers in the 2 mile stretch from the Blue Pool to Trail Bridge with a grand total of 102. To think they would complain about a couple bikes is so funny. All was good and no bad experiences. Remember to talk to the hikers or they get spooked like horses do.

  16. Kyle Hartley says:

    Rode Sunday 4/4 from Sahalie Falls down. Couple snow patches at first but excellent riding. Lots of hikers at Blue Pool. Rippen good times.

    1. Kyle Hartley says:

      4/3 that it is.

  17. Zach Starr says:

    The trail is in great condition from Sahalie Falls on down. Rode through a couple of small patches of snow, but all were pretty easy to make it through.

    Fish lake to Sahalie is currently pretty buried in snow and probably unrideable.

    Low down on the trail – Belknap or so – there were about four deadfall that required carrying the bike over, but all of them were pretty easy and you can see that the folks who maintain the trail have been working pretty hard and doing an excellent job. I would guess that those remaining deadfall will be taken care of within a week or two.

  18. Tim Brislin says:

    Riding well from f.s. station up to Deer Creek road, some wet spots but completely worth it for this time of year. Down trees every 5-10 minutes.

  19. Brad Hackbart says:

    The lower part is great. From the ranger station up to the reservoir. There are some trees down though.

  20. I make a point of riding the MRT at least once a year — and when visitors come to town, it’s a must-ride destination. The upper rock gardens alone are well worth the drive.

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