Throwback Thursday is dedicated this week to one of the best wildlife hikes we’ve taken. On July 29th, 2012 on the way to Central Oregon we stopped at the Lower Canyon Creek Campground along the Metolius River. We parked at the West Metolius Trailhead at the far end of the campground.
An interesting thing here was the presence of a parking attendant.
The trail begins along the banks of the Metolius River and stick close to it for the first 1.25 miles.
Just over a quarter mile from the trailhead a series of springs gushed from the far bank of the river.
Wildflowers grew along the bank and sometimes out in the river.
Near the 1.25 mile mark the trail climbed away from the river just a bit as it wound through a steep canyon.
Soon we were back down along the riverbank though.
At the 2.7 mile mark we arrived at the Wizard Falls Fish Hatchery. Driving here is an option and can be a fun place for kids to watch and even feed the fish.
The hatchery apparently has other fans as well.
For a shorter 5.7 mile hike we could have turned around here and headed back but a 6.4 mile loop could be completed by continuing on from the fish hatchery to a bridge at the Lower Bridge Campground so after looking at all the fish we continued on. In the 3.2 miles to the bridge we spotted a variety of wildlife.
Yellow rumped warbler
Western fence lizard
Mylitta crescent? butterfly
Another western fence lizard
We crossed the Metolius on the bridge and headed back along the eastern bank.
The 3.2 miles back to the bridge at the Wizard Falls Fish Hatchery also had its share of wildlife.
Golden-mantled ground squirrel
Another ground squirrel
The bridge to the hatchery offers a great view of Wizard Falls. Not exactly a waterfall, Wizard Falls is created by ledges in the lava rock below the river creating a colorful water feature.
After crossing the bridge we returned to the trailhead and headed to Sisters. This was a great hike for not a lot of effort. There was very little elevation gain making the 11.8 miles very manageable. Another nice aspect to this trail is that it is open most of the year (other than during winter storms). Happy Trails!
Flickr: Metolius River