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Hike the Head of the Metolius Trail

Head of the Metolius

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Length: 0.5 miles

Elevation Gain: 35 feet.

The Head of the Metolius is one of those magical places where you can see a river being born. Rather than a collection of small streams merging together, forming gradually bigger and bigger creeks, the Metolius River emerges from the base of Black Butte as a full formed river. Over 100 cubic feet per second (cfs) or water emerge from the main spring here, and many others join it quickly downstream, rapidly growing the river’s size.

The hike to view this marvel is little more than a walk, and is easily accessible for most anyone. The trail begins a tthe Head of the Metolius trailhead and follows a nice, paved trail for about a quarter mile through the Ponderosa Pines before ending at a viewpoint overlooking the springs. From there, you can look straight down the river as it steadily gets bigger and bigger into the distance, with Mt Jefferson looming in the background. There are also a few benches along the path and a nice picnic area at the trailhead, backing for a nice relaxing trip if you wish.


On Highway 20, head 9 miles north of Sisters of or, if you are coming from the west, 4 miles south of Suttle Lake. Then head north (towards Black Butte) on the Camp Sherman Road, at the signs directing you to Camp Sherman and the Metolius River. After 2.7 miles, veer right on the Metolius River Road and continue for another 1.6 miles. The trailhead will be on the left.

Things to Know

Passes: No passes are required.

Dogs: Allowed and must be on leash or under voice command at all times.

Usage: Heavy

Open Season: Open and accessable all year, but can be covered in snow during winter months.

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