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Locals' Staycation: Meandering Along the Metolius

About an hour's drive from Bend, the tiny town of Camp Sherman offers a break from the city, with the sounds of the river to lull you to sleep


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Camp Sherman often falls off the radar of many of Bend's road warriors because it's so close to home. But in the spirit of following the Governor's orders, which recommend not traveling more than 50 miles for recreation, this lush oasis by the Metolius River offers plenty of space to distance from other travelers while also providing a few nearby dining options. It also cuts way down on driving time, which means more time by the river and less on the road.

Step back in time by staying in the Lake Creek Lodge, established 1923. Nostalgic photos line the walls of the main lodge, showing generations of families and friends who gathered for months at a time fishing, swimming and exploring the riverbanks on horseback. The lodge sits on a tributary of the Metolius River and has a few dozen rustic cabins for rent ($325-$530) connected by winding pathways and storybook footbridges crossing Lake Creek.

The West Bank Metolius Trail winds past gushing aquamarine waters and grassy banks perfect for a picnic or to just dangle your feet in the refreshing stream. - FLICKR – BONNIE MORELAND
  • Flickr – Bonnie Moreland
  • The West Bank Metolius Trail winds past gushing aquamarine waters and grassy banks perfect for a picnic or to just dangle your feet in the refreshing stream.

If the price tag is out of budget, gather a second family or a group of friends and split the cost; many cabins have three or four rooms and multiple bathrooms. Also, a half dozen campgrounds with riverfront views are just five minutes away, though most are reservation only. Head into "town" and hang a left toward the end of SW Roberts Bridge that crosses the Metolius and onto SW Metolius River Road to find Camp Sherman Campground, Allingham Campground, Smiling River Campgrounds, Pine Rest Campground and Gorge Campgrounds. New reservations are released every month or so through the Deschutes National Forest.

The West Bank Metolius Trail is the best riverside hike in the area and can be reached by crossing back over the bridge and heading north to Lower Canyon Creek Campground. The trail begins at the confluence of Canyon Creek and the Metolius, just a few miles down from the headwaters. Download the directions before you leave Bend or Sisters as cell reception is spotty in this neck of the woods. The trail winds along the river for 7 scenic miles, eventually coming to an end at Candle Creek Campground. The lush vegetation and aquamarine water feels worlds away from the high desert as the trail passes over moss covered logs, inviting meadows by the river's edge and marshy spots that require some stone-hopping. Along the way, hikers can detour over to the Wizard Falls Fish Hatchery (mile 2.5) to check out the breeding of rainbow trout, kokanee, spring chinook and summer steelhead.

The arduous 4-mile roundtrip hike straight up Black Butte is another nearby excursion for those looking for some elevation gain. The reward at the peak is a 360 degree view of Mount Jefferson, Adams and Hood along with Suttle Lake and the Metolius Basin.

Hola! is the most obvious (and sometimes only) choice for food and drink, with pitchers of margaritas, salsa and chips that will disappear as soon as they land on the table.

Lake Creek Lodge
Metolius River Camp Sherman Road
Camp Sherman, OR

Metolius River Campgrounds

About The Author

Laurel Brauns

Laurel has toured the national coffeehouse circuit as a singer-songwriter and spent years buried in psychology books to earn her (in-progress) PhD. She was rescued from both artistic and academic obscurity by The Source Weekly where she loves telling stories about the people who make this community a better place...


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