Belknap Springs Travel Guide: 14 reviews and 16 photos

Waterfall focus with web alts for Lodge seekers!

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 and Cons
  • 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!
  • Intro Updated Jan 22, 2005
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Reviews (14)

Comments (3)

  • balhannah's Profile Photo
    Nov 9, 2011 at 7:11 PM

    Glad I found this page! My kind of area with all those waterfall's, wildflowers, a lookout and trail's for enjoying walks. Nice photo's too!

  • GuthrieColin's Profile Photo
    Jun 24, 2008 at 8:45 PM

    Mark, You weren't kidding these are excellent! I've seen pictures of all of them and they are on my list. One day, i think they are a little far for this short trip though.

  • Leipzig's Profile Photo
    Jul 24, 2004 at 2:43 AM

    Great photos of the falls!


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