Metolius River Hiking Trail & Wizard Falls Fish Hatchery
If you are visiting Wizard Falls Fish Hatchery, a wonderful add-on would be a trek on the beautiful Metolius River. Directly across from the fish hatchery parking lot, signs are clearly visible for West Metolius Trail No. 4018. The trail can be accessed from the Canyon Creek Campground, Candle Creek Campground, Lower Bridge Campground, and Wizard Falls Fish Hatchery as well.
Hiking here is an easy affair, the paths are level and clear, and crossing little creeks and waterways is made all the easier by the careful placement of broad boards to hasten your progress. While there is an incline, it meanders gradually and gracefully, making this a less strenuous choice for those not wanting to tackle too much, but wanting to get out and commune with nature and revel in the glorious views that this pristine river affords. The fish hatchery and trail provide a great option for families with children and others not wanting anything too strenuous.
The vistas are outstanding as you watch the voluminous river rushing by, and if you trek in the fall, the colors are an amazing assortments of green, orange, yellow, rust and red and the air is refreshingly crisp. The trail is open in the Spring, Summer and Fall months and there are no trailhead fees. There are 4.2 miles of incredible scenery, including swirling waters, falls and foliage. The average “out and back” hike takes approximately 2-3 hours.
To get there from FivePine Lodge: Take Highway 20 west out of Sisters approximately 10 miles. Turn right at Camp Sherman taking Road 14, turn right and travel approximately 10 miles to the Wizard Falls Fish Hatchery entrance.
The Hatchery is open from 8am to 7pm daily, year round, and is run by the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife. Nestled in the Deschutes National Forest, the park like setting of the hatchery is both peaceful and informative- providing interpretive signs and display ponds. There is a viewing platform at the large settling pond for spotting Kokanee, Trout and Atlantic Salmon swimming in their natural environment, a classroom of sorts. Signs indicate the presence of raptors that regularly swoop in to capture their food. Plenty of picnic tables abound and fish food is readily available for .25 cent handfuls.
The Metolius River is a tributary of the Deschutes River. It flows north from springs near Black Butte and turns sharply east, descending through several gorges before arriving in the western end of Lake Billy Chinook. Camp Sherman lies astride the southern end of the river.
The Metolius River is most famous for its trout fishing (the upper 10 miles is fly-angling only). Every fall, lower sections of the river turn red when thousands of kokanee make their run from Lake Billy Chinook into the river.