McKenzie River Trail

October 25, 1987

Sunday, October 25th, was a beautiful, sunny, warm day for our hike. Although we were supposed to do the Ridgeline Trail in south Eugene, only a few days before the trip the Ridgeline Trail was closed because of the extreme fire danger due to a very dry October.

We left town shortly after 8 a.m. on the first day of Pacific Standard Time. It was somewhat foggy as we traveled east, but very soon the sun was burning it off as we enjoyed the colorful fall leaves as we toured up the McKenzie. When we reached Carmen Smith reservoir we left one car there and all piled into the station wagon for the remaining few miles to the exit road from Clear Lake. Both entrance and exit roads to the lodge were closed, so at 10 a.m. we started hiking down the road to the Clear Lake Trail, then followed that trail south to the McKenzie River Trail just west of the Coldwater Cove Campground. As we followed the lake we had magnificent views of green conifers and autumn colored vine maple reflected in the emerald green lake. One lone fishermen wearing a bright red shirt and rowing a boat added to the scene.

We followed the National Recreation Trail in a southerly direction wandering through magnificent forest with ground cover of small shrubs, lichen and mosses. After crossing the campground road and the McKenzie Highway we plunged onward to a bridge crossing the fast flowing McKenzie River. The view up and down the waterway was breathtaking, but not nearly so as the view of Sahalie Falls, which we reached in a short time. Viewing the Falls from this trail is somewhat different than from the roadside view, and especially this year as the water flow is much reduced and only the wider side is producing the high plunge. We stopped for lunch here; a perfect spot to enjoy the glory of the McKenzie.

We continued onward high above the river and its many cascades until we came to Koosah Falls, enjoying its beauty almost as much as Sahalie. Not far below Koosah we found a steep, short trail down to Carmen Smith Reservoir, arriving there at 12:30 p.m. After the car shuttle we proceeded on to Eugene, some stopping for pie and coffee at the Village Cafe, and arrived in Eugene before 3 p.m.

This short, but very delightful substitute hike, was enjoyed by Clair Cooley, Elizabeth McMullin, Gladys Grancorvitz, Robin and Ethel Steussy, Marian Fincher and leader, Lois Schreiner.


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