"WATERFALLS ALONG AND NEAR THE UPPER MCKENZIE" Belknap Springs by mtncorg
Belknap Springs Travel Guide: 14 reviews and 16 photos
Belknap Hot Springs is a small resort that dates back to the late 19th Century. A 102 F swimming pool is the main attraction here along with the splendid lodge set among huge forests deep in the upper McKenzie River canyon. The pool cost $4.50 per hour. For those of you that have come here via a search engine hoping for more information on the lodge, try these webaddress options: www.ohwy.com/or/b/belknlhs.htm and http://mckenziehotspringscottage.com/index.htm No mountain dogs were allowed so we opted for a nearby camping site - in this upper stretch you have a selection of six spread out at 1-2 miles intervals. Staying in this area gives you quick access to the upper McKenzie - a major tributary of the Willamette River, the confluence downstream near Eugene.
The river begins up high at Clear Lake - about 15 miles upstream from Belknap - where waters were dammed by lava flows 3000 years ago. There is a small resort at the lake - and a campground - where you can rent a boat and look down through the crystal waters at trees preserved in the cold pure waters - trees drowned 3000 years ago. From the lake, the river tumbles over two magnificent waterfalls - Sahalie and Koosah - then the river disappears beneath a 1600 year old lava flow that came down from Belknap Crater up above near McKenzie Pass. A small hydro dam ensures a dry stretch of 3 mies before the river reappears at the Tamolitch Pool.
All of these sites lie but a short distance off OR 126 which runs east from the Eugene-Springfield area going to a major road junction near Santiam Pass, en route to central Oregon. Another highway comes off OR 126 near Belknap Springs, Or 242, the McKenzie Highway. This road is only open for a few months in the summer, but when it is - wow! This is perhaps the most scenic road in Oregon. It runs over McKenzie Pass towards the central Oregon town of Sister, straight - well maybe there are a few curves ;-], this is not a good road to take a trailer over - across vast lava beds on the northwest base of the Three Sisters. Nearby Belknap Crater is but one of several volcanic cones responsible for this vast display of destruction.
On this particular trip, the highway above was closed, so we will bring you a couple of other wonderous waterfalls that lie along the edge of the lava fields. All in all, the upper McKenzie is like several other Oregon mountain streams offering a great variety of outdoor activities and primeval sights.
- Pros:Gorgeous waterfalls and just off the highway
- Cons:Just off the highway can mean crowded on weekends
- In a nutshell:Little on the lodge here, but plenty on what is nearby!
From the top you return through the flowers you came up through - maybe not sweating as much - and return to your car... more travel advice
From Cone Peak you continue west across a flower-bedecked saddle in to forests at the base of Iron Mountain. Going much... more travel advice
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