Day 1 Spring Vacation – Metolius River Trail Hike

Hike Distance: 7. miles        Yearly Hike Distance: 518.7 miles

Elevation Gain: 474 feet      Yearly Elevation Gain: 69159 feet

My wife has a week of spring break from her job and we originially had a five day vacation planned for Mt. Vernon, just north of Seattle Washington.  At the last moment, we decided to change these plans to a Central Oregon Cascades vacation, mostly due to the anticipated warmer and drier weather.

I wasn’t sure of the weather we would experience so decided to take the Santiam Hwy past the Willamette Pass ski resort.  Our lodging was at the Best Western in Redmond, Oregon.  It was warm enough for most of the drive but as we travelled east on the highway, and ascended in elevation, it got continuously colder.  What started as rain turned to a blizzard, as we approached the pass.  Thankfully, the snow wasn’t sticking on the road, and there was quite a bit of traffic to keep the surface warm.

I didn’t think we’d be able to hike on the Metolius Trail as it isn’t far past the ski resort, but it’s amazing how about 10 miles can make such a difference.  There was absolutely no snow on or off the roads leading to the Metolius Trail.  In fact, the rain had stopped but the sky still looked forboding when we started.

The main road leading to the Metolius River is nice but the side road leading to the trail was a bit bumpy, but passable.  There were quite a few cars and people at the trailhead, which surprised us a bit.

At the beginning of the trail there was a wide and huge spring just coming out of the hillside where it poured into the Metolius River.  I was amazed at how much water was spewing from the ground!  The first mile of the trail followed along the river and gave spectacular views of its opal colored water.  It was so clear that you could easily see the bottom.  So much to photograph on this beautiful trail.

After the first mile the trail ascended higher above the river but still had spectacular views of the river below.  There were also nice views of the surrounding hills.  I couldn’t get enough of this trail!

At about 2.5 miles out we reached the Wizard Falls Hatchery.  I had expected this to be about 3.5 miles out, from the online hike info I obtained, but this wasn’t true.  We used the washroom there but didn’t go to the fish hatchery.  We continued hiking past the falls area, on the Metolius Trail, for a while but turned around after about 3.7 miles so we could make it to the hotel before dark.

When we got back to the trailhead there were no cars or people there.  We only saw one woman, and her dog, on the entire trail back to the car.

While driving toward out hotel we decided to stop off in Sisters, Or for dinner, as it was getting late.  The only desirable, and open, place to eat was an Italian restaurant called Rspot.  It was rated 4.9 stars on google and we hoped it lived up to the rating.  When we went in they had intended on closing a bit early but invited us to stay.  To summarize our experience, it was the best lasagna we had ever tasted, hands down!!!  And, the cheese bread that came with it was on par with the lasagna!  The amazing part is that the meals are so big that the owner recommended we split the meal in half for us.  Carol had a meat sauce and I a marinara.  We weren’t hungry until lunch the next day.  A spoiler:  w went back later in the trip, and it didn’t disappoint. 🙂

The trail was in excellent shape and a pleasure to hike.  An amazing start to what turned out to be a great vacation, and more to come about that in the coming trip reports! 🙂