With our new mountain bikes we decided to explore McKenzie River without the kids. We were itching to test them off pavement for a real mountain bike experience. The 26 mile McKenzie River Trial was voted America’s #1 bike trail in 2008 by Bike Magazine. With such an amazing trail and it being my first time mountain biking to say I was nervous would have be an understatement. As I researched the area I realized there was so much more to do. First stop was kayaking at Clear Lake. Don and I each got a kayak for an hour which was more than enough time for us to explore the gorgeous blue lake. You can rent kayaks or rowboats from the boat house or pay a $5 launch fee for your own boat (non motorized). For rental rates click here. After kayaking we drove to Sahalie & Koosah Falls. You can drive a few minutes to both of these falls or hike the short 0.4 mile trail between the falls. Finally it was time to test out our bikes. We parked by Belknap Hot Springs and jumped on the Mckenzie Trail heading upstream. We biked a lower section of McKenzie River Trail, which is much easier to navigate then the upper section as it is less technical and not congested with hikers. As we started out I was terrified as there were a lot of tree roots and rocks to navigate over and around. The more we road the more comfortable I became. On the way back down I whizzed by the places that at the beginning made me nervous. We ended up biking 9 miles total. This trail is so beautiful! The forest is so thick and green and it is spectacular to bike along the river. The bridges they have along this trail are very cool! You can't not feel awesome as you cross them. We joked it was only a matter of time until I would fall off my bike. Miraculously I never did but Don's shoe lace got caught in his gear and he toppled to the ground. I quickly took a picture to have evidence and was no help as I couldn't stop laughing. Then the great debate - did we head to the hot springs and pass on the hike?! NEVER. I convinced Don we had enough time for both. We got to the trailhead for Tamolitch (Blue) Pool and asked someone just coming off the trail how long it took them. She said about an hour both ways so off we went. As we were reaching 45 minutes we were thinking where is this place and man my fitbit is so off. We continued. At an hour we didn't want to turn around with the thought it could be just around the corner. We finally ran into another group of hikers and they told us the pool was 2 miles behind us! We were hiking so fast we walked right by it. We finally found the Tamolitch (Blue) Pool. It was breath taking. Our quick 4 mile hike turned into an unintentional 8 mile hike. We were tired and hungry by the time we got back to the car. We decided to pass on the hot springs so we will have to hit it up on a future visit.
We loved our day trip to McKenzie River. Having no kids allowed us to do things a lot quicker than normal. It is a trip we would do again with the kids camping and spreading the activities over 2 days. It is all family friendly (minus the biking if you have young kids). I can’t wait to go back!