Cougar Reservoir Area

Area Status: Open
Image of Water Skier on Cougar Reservoir

In the summer months, Cougar Reservoir is a popular place for boating, swimming and fishing. Cougar Reservoir is located outside of Blue River along Aufderheide Drive, part of the West Cascades National Scenic Byway.

Camping is restricted to developed campgrounds in the Cougar Recreation Area. There are three developed campgrounds near the reservoir, Cougar Crossing, Slide Creek, and Sunnyside. The popular Terwilliger Hot Springs is along Rider Creek just west of the reservoir.

In late summer, early fall through spring, the water levels on Cougar Reservoir are frequently drawn down to the point where boat launches are no longer available. Reservoir and river level information is available from the US Army Corps of Engineers here. Watch for obstructions near the shoreline such as submerged stumps, logs and rocks. Small craft should stay out of open waters when it is windy since dangerous waves can build up suddenly.

At a Glance

Usage: Heavy
Restrictions: Camping is restricted to developed campgrounds in the Cougar Recreation Area
Closest Towns: Blue River, OR
McKenzie Bridge, OR
Restroom: Vault Toilets at Campground and Launches
Information Center: McKenzie River Ranger District
57600 McKenzie Hwy
McKenzie Bridge, OR 97413

General Information


From Blue River, OR, travel 4 miles east on Highway 126 to Aufderheide Drive (Forest Service Road 19). Continue south on Aufderheide Drive, taking a right at the Y and climbing to the top of Cougar Reservoir.

General Notes:

Boating Regulations & Boating Safety: Oregon State Marine Board manages boating regulations. Visit their website for boating regulations and safety information. They also have links to information about water levels in the reservoirs.

Fishing Regulations & Information: Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife manages fishing regulations. Visit their website for information on fishing seasons and fishing licenses.

Reservoir and River Level Information: From the US Army Corps of Engineers.


map of Cougar Reservoir Area map legend



Recreation Map

Map showing recreational areas. Map Information


Campground Camping

Recreation areas with activity Campground Camping:

Boating - Motorized

Recreation areas with activity Boating - Motorized:
Water/Flow Level Water levels and boat ramp accessibility information is available from the Oregon State Marine Board website. Look for Cougar Reservoir in the section titled "Willamette Basin Reservoirs."


Recreation areas with activity Swimming:


Recreation areas with activity Waterskiing:

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  Area/Length : 
1280 Acres

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