Winter Weekend on the McKenzie River
The McKenzie river is fed by rain, everything is green and lush, the air is crisp, and the tenderhearted are staying home. So what if it rains? You know how to layer up.
Winter waterfalls are an underrated adventure, and if you’re willing to brave cooler temperatures you will definitely be rewarded. Fewer crowds and fuller falls are a winning combination, and Sahalie and Koosah Falls are the perfect examples. Sahalie’s viewing platform is accessible and close to the parking lot while Koosah is a further trek. If you’re looking to get in a hike, there is a rewarding loop trail between the two falls that follows the river. If you’re lucky, a dusting of snow will add extra magic to your views. You will definitely be tempted to get a closer look, but please stay on trail for your safety and to preserve the beauty of a healthy forest.
For more hikes (and more views), check out the McKenzie River Trail, which follows the river starting near the McKenzie River Ranger Station. It connects Koosah and Sahalie to Clear Lake, where a loop trail circles the lake. Hiking Clear Lake is stunning in every season, but the fall color or hints of snow in the winter take it to the next level.
One of the best parts about winter adventures is how good it feels to warm up, and hot springs are the perfect place. Terwilliger (also known as Cougar) Hot Springs is a local favorite, with four tiered pools in the middle of the forest. For more amenities and a family-friendly experience, Belknap Hot Springs offers day-use passes to their pool, where the water is pulled directly from a natural hot spring. Their resort and gardens offer plenty to explore, and you can even stay the night.
The McKenzie River area has plenty of cozy lodges and cabins that make perfect basecamps for your winter adventures. Loloma Lodge is located right on the river, with several cabins and a picturesque main lodge. The Wayfarer Resort has reopened, and their studio cabins are great for a rustic escape while the Octagon House has three bedrooms and stunning views of the McKenzie River. Knollhaven Cabin and its 100-year-old stone fireplace give perfect cabincore vibes, and the cabin even includes a hot tub.
Ready to plan your trip? Learn more here.