Metolius River

Area Status: Open
This area is Open

Metolius RiverThis roadside route begins where glass-clear water surges from the dry ground at Metolius Spring, and continues north to Bridge 99. Special places along the way include the Camp Sherman Fish Viewing Platform, Metolius Research Natural Area, and Wizard Falls Fish Hatchery (phone 541-595-6611). A coalition of government agencies, private utilities, and conservation organizations are working to restore anadromous Chinook salmon and sockeye salmon to the river.

Caution: Stay alert for pedestrians, equestrians, and automobiles that share the narrow single-lane road.

General Information


From Sisters Ranger Station in Sisters: Travel northwest on Hwy 20 for 9.6 miles to Forest Road 14, turn north onto Forest Road 14 for 4.3 miles to signed entrance to Metolius Spring.

Total Distance: 14 miles.  Estimated Time: 20 minutes



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Nature Viewing

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Viewing Wildlife

At the Camp Sherman Fish Viewing Platform, look for bull trout, redband trout, kokanee salmon, brook trout, brown trout, rainbow trout, and mountain whitefish. At the Metolius Research Natural Area, it's possible to see white-headed woodpecker, northern goshawk, flammulated owl, and Vaux's swift. Visit the Metolius Fish Hatchery display ponds to observe and feed kokanee salmon, Atlantic salmon, and other fish. Anywhere along the river, you might glimpse Barrow's goldeneye, hooded merganser, common merganser, osprey, bald eagle, spotted sandpiper, ruffed grouse, and Hammond's flycatcher. Some butterflies you might see include species of admiral, swallowtail, hairstreak, arctic, copper, and tortoiseshell.

Other Attractions: The Metolius Research Natural Area was established in 1931 to protect and exemplify old-growth ponderosa pine and shrub communities. The La Grande Forestry and Range Sciences Laboratory is studying the effects of reintroducing fire to achieve natural frequencies and to maintain old-growth structural characteristics that are important to wildlife. In autumn, small areas are carefully burned at repeated intervals of 5 to 20 years to resemble the natural fire cycle.

Featured Wildlife Groups:

  • Birds of Prey
  • Shore/Wading Birds
  • Songbirds
  • Upland Birds
  • Waterfowl
  • Hoofed Mammals
  • Bear
  • Raccoon
  • Weasels/Skunks
  • Bats
  • Fish
  • Butterflies
  • Wildflowers


  • Forest - Mixed Conifer
  • Forest - Ponderosa Pine
  • Wetland - Stream

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