Wednesday, November 8, 2017

The Metolius River

October is the perfect month to check out Central Oregon's fall colors.  After hiking around a splendidly hued Clear Lake, I had just enough time for a quick trip to another oft-photographed area east of the Cascades.  It had been several years since I'd visited the magical Metolius River.

Rapids and fall colors

The Metolius emerges from a spectacular spring that gushes mightily up from the ground.  It then winds through a steep, narrow canyon lined with stately Ponderosa Pines.  Located east of the Cascades, sparse undergrowth contrasts starkly with the lush green forests just over the pass.

Metolius River ducks under a bridge

Not sure exactly where to catch the best colors, I followed the main Forest Service road to Wizard Falls Fish Hatchery.  I wasn't really interested in seeing any fish - but there was parking and a restroom here.

Bridge to the Wizard Falls Fish Hatchery

After the extravaganza of color at Clear Lake, autumn foliage along the Metolius was kind of a letdown.  I spied a small patch of golden bushes lining the river, but that was about it.

Eerie blue water under the bridge

However, churning blue rapids of the Metolius really stole the show.  The water was an eerie aqua blue color under the fish hatchery bridge.

Wonderful churning rapids

Instead of leaves, I took more photos of moving water.  (But some golden colors managed to get into a few frames)

A very photogenic river

The Metolius is a very photogenic river.  It's rapids twist and writhe, creating interesting current patterns.  And the turbulent water is an enchanting pale blue.

Lone fly fisherman

After spending some time near the fish hatchery, I drove further upriver in search of more fall color.  The river here is lined with a few Forest Service campgrounds.  Although most were already closed for the winter, I was able to park at Lower Bridge Campground, which appeared to still be open.

Downstream calm

What a beautiful place to pitch a tent!  Several sites were located right on the river with marvelous views.  I was surprised to see no one camping here.  I've totally bookmarked this campground for a return trip next summer.

Wildlife sighting

But on this lovely autumn day, the place was deserted, save for a couple of fly fisherman and a friendly lizard.

At Lower Bridge Campground

Walking along the riverbank, I came upon a few more brightly hued bushes.  They contrasted nicely with the Ponderosa pine trunks and cloudless blue sky.

I could stay here all day!

I could've stayed here the rest of the day, soaking in the sunshine and enjoying the peaceful sound of rushing water.  But my parents were due in Bend by dinnertime, and I didn't want to keep them waiting.  So I clicked my shutter one final time in a feeble attempt to capture a wonderful fall afternoon beside this beautiful river.


  1. What a great combinations of colours - we don't really get landscapes like that here.

    Cheers - Stewart M - Melbourne

  2. A totally magnificent place Linda. The colour of the stream is amazing.

  3. Que maravilha de fotografias desta bela montanha com um rio de águas limpas e puras.
    Continuação de uma boa semana.

    Dedais de Francisco e Idalisa
    O prazer dos livros

  4. Fantastic place, though it might be less appealing when all the campsites are full; best to go a bit out-of-season perhaps. I've also noticed this autumn how some areas are still green while just down the track things are yellow and gold.

  5. ...I could stay here all day, too!

  6. Hello, the blue water and river are beautiful. The golden colors are lovely too. Love the cute lizard! Beautiful photos. Enjoy your day!

  7. Your right about one thing the river stole the show with that wonderful blue. All I get to see is a dirty green Thames

  8. The colour of the water is captivating especially with the yellow foliage creeping into the picture.

  9. That area where the lava and the forests merge just west of Sisters is pretty wonderful. We caught the very beginning of fall color at Proxy Falls one year on the other side of the lava flows.

  10. There's always something magical about rivers and that looks a cracker- love the colours. Nice skink or lizard capture.

  11. Gorgeous area! And what a beautiful day, too.

  12. Stunning colours of the water. I guess that the water is as clear and fresh as it gets as it rises from a spring

  13. Beautiful fall captures. Thanks for sharing them with us!

  14. Looks like a great day to take in the fall color. I definitely need to explore Central Oregon more!

  15. That brilliant aqua color is mesmerizing. Love the beautiful rapids and the calm downstream water, too. :-)

  16. Wow that water was an amazing blue color, so pretty. Enjoyed the shots of the Fisherman and the Lizard too.

  17. Wonderful photos! You certainly find some lovely places.


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