We took the weekend of May 19 – 21 to camp at McKenzie Bridge and camped at McKenzie Bridge Campground. We made reservations but the weekend we went there were at least 2 other campsites right near us that were open.
We arrived Friday night after work (around 8pm) and made dinner, a fire, and went to bed. The next morning was our big day of plans.
DAY 1 05.20.17
We had several things planned as listed below. One thing that I really wanted to do that we missed out on was hike to Proxy Falls. At the time we went the road to get to the trailhead was closed. It is still accessible by parking at the gate and hiking about 2 miles to the trailhead and then continuing on from there, however, with our busy day, we elected not to.
Day 1 Map
Hike to Tamolitch Blue Pool
Cougar Hot Springs
Three Creeks Brewing [Sisters, OR]
Tamolitch Blue Pool: After breakfast at the campsite, the first thing on the list was to head to the Blue Pool. We were very glad we started with this. We got there early (about 8am) and we were the 4th car in the lot. By the time we got back, there were countless cars looking for parking. The hike is 3.7 RT out and back from where we started, however, the trail system is excellent and you can make it much longer if you wanted to. It’s a nice scenic and somewhat woodsy hike and the Blue Pool is a thing of beauty. The view from the top is amazing. There is a fairly easy way to get to the bottom, which I did. You can just continue around the top past where the water is flowing into the pool and the trail does continue down to the bottom. From what I’ve read, you’re allowed to swim in it. Nobody was brave enough when we were there.
Tamolitch Blue Pool
Koosah & Sahalie Falls was next on the list. There’s a parking area to access Koosah and Sahalie Falls. I believe you could actually park at either waterfall and there’s a trail that will take you to both. There is an easy 2.6 mile loop that will enable you to access views to both waterfalls. We ended up starting at the Sahalie Falls parking area and walked down to Sahalie Falls and then Koosah Falls and back which was definitely shorter than doing the entire loop.
Whitehorse Falls: This was one of the longest hikes ever. Just kidding. It’s about a 50 foot walk to the lookout. An easy stop for a small but fun waterfall right along the way.
Cougar Hot Springs was one of the most unique and uncommercialized hot springs we’ve been to. We’ve now been to quite a few Hot Springs (I will make a post about hot springs) and this has to be my second favorite. If you don’t get a flat tire on the road that gets you to the parking lot, there’s a little parking area on the left hand side at the end of the road. Make sure you have cash because there’s a little pay station before you enter the path to get there. It costs $6 for a day pass or you can get an annual pass for $60. After you pay, make sure you keep your tag because they check it on the way out. The path is about a .25 mi hike and once you get there, there are a few little pools in the middle of the woods. Nature at its finest. Leave your little ones at home; you may see some nudity! There was even a spot to tie your dog to the fence just before you enter the hot spring area.
Cougar Hot Springs
Three Creeks Brewing
Three Creeks Brewing: I thoroughly enjoyed this place. The town of Sisters was awesome. The brewery had a great vibe. Nice decor; a little rustic-like. The menu was exactly what I was in the mood for after a day of hiking (lots of burgers) and they were nice enough to let us sample a few beers before making a choice. I can’t remember exactly what I got but you won’t be disappointing by this place. My only helpful hint is that the right turn to enter the parking lot is before the brewery!
After That we just walked around the little town of Sisters and got the best damn milkshake in the world at the Sno Cap Drive-In. Seriously, it was amazing. Chocolate PB.
Sno Cap Drive-In
And then we headed back to the campground for some campfire food, a campfire, and another night of sleeping on the ground. The campground is right on the McKenzie River so you can’t hear a thing other than that river flow.