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Wizard Falls Loop Hike

From Oregon Hikers Field Guide

The trail follows along the river most of the way (Jerry Adams)
Expect to see fly fishermen(Jerry Adams)

The Metolius River appears out of the ground at the Head of the Metolius River. The water is from the Cascades to the West, which soaks into porous volcanic soil and comes to the surface because of the fault that created the Green Ridge, to the East. The river is best known for fly fishing. The water is very cold and clean.

Expect to see easy rapids, Fly Fisherman, birds, possibly fish, and possibly other wildlife.

In the summer there can be quite a few people.

The Wizard Falls Loop Hike provides a good view of the river. The trail generally follows along the edge of the river with nice views of it. At several places the trail detours away from the river to avoid private property.

This is no wilderness hike, you're never more than about 1/2 mile from a road.

This hike somewhat arbitrarily starts at Lower Bridge (also known as bridge 99). You could just as easily start at Wizard Falls Fish Hatchery, Allen Springs Campground, or Pioneer Ford Campground.

Make sure and walk through the fish hatchery. There is a water treatment pond that contains escaped fish, and is frequented by wildlife looking for a meal. I saw a Bald Eagle a number of years ago.

Stay overnight at one of the campgrounds and you can then do the hike. During the summer they fill up, but you can make reservations at recreation.gov. During the winter, all the campgrounds are closed, but Alder Springs and Lower Bridge are ungated with no drinking water, garbage pick-up, toilet paper, and fees.

This hike can be done year-round, but at times there's snow which would make this difficult if not impossible. Sisters Oregon is at the same elevation and 20 miles to the South, so if there's no snow there, then this is probably open.



This hike is arbitrarily defined as counter-clockwise, but you could just as easily do it the opposite direction.

This hike arbitrarily starts at Lower Bridge. You could just as easily start at Wizard Falls Fish Hatchery, Alder Springs Campground, or Pioneer Ford Campground. All have day use parking areas.

Start the hike at the Lower Bridge Trailhead. Cross over to the West side of the bridge. There are a couple trails right at the beginning, a day use parking area, and a couple picnic tables. Shortly, there is only one trail.

The trail stays very close to the river. You can see Pioneer Ford Campground across the river. There are some minor rapids.

After about a mile, the trail goes inland to bypass a private area. There is some barbed wire and no tresspassing signs. The trail goes through somewhat sparse forest of pine trees and fir trees.

After another mile, the trail is back on the river. You can see some cabins across the river.

Three miles from the beginning is Wizard Falls Fish Hatchery. Go through and check it out. There are a few areas signed to stay out of. Check out the settling pond for wildlife seeking a meal.

Cross the river on the bridge. The return trail is obvious on the other side, next to the river.

After about a half mile is Alder Springs Campground. You have to walk through the campground on the paved road. There is drinking water(in the summer) and outhouses.

After about another half mile, the trail bypasses some private residences. Barbed wire fences and no tresspassing signs keep you on the trail.

After another mile the trail is back on the river.

2 1/2 miles from Wizard Falls is Pioneer Ford Campground, drinking water (in the summer), and outhouses.

Walk through the campground and find the trail on the other end. Follow the trail next to the river to where you started.


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Oregon Hikers Field Guide is built as a collaborative effort by its user community. While we make every effort to fact-check, information found here should be considered anecdotal. You should cross-check against other references before planning a hike. Trail routing and conditions are subject to change. Please contact us if you notice errors on this page.

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