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McKenzie River at Paradise Campground - map

Nearest town is Blue River, OR

The McKenzie River runs from its headwaters at Clear Lake in the Cascade Mountains to the Willamette River.

The excellent quality of its fish habitat supports a variety of fish species, including three native wild trout—rainbow, bull and cutthroat trout—as well as wild spring Chinook. 

Recent vulcanism, including three distinctive lava flows, has shaped the river into pools, dramatic waterfalls and cascading whitewater. These features provide for exceptional whitewater boating, hiking and fishing.

Help keep this river clean and healthy by adopting today! You can make a difference for this watershed and all who depend upon it.

About this State Scenic Waterway

The McKenzie River is a designated State Scenic Waterway for three segments from Clear Lake to Paradise National Forest Service Campground (14 miles). The South Fork between Three Sisters wilderness boundary and main stem, excluding Cougar Reservoir (21 miles) is also designated a State Scenic Waterway.

Oregon's diversity of river systems contributes richly to our quality of life. Oregonians decided to protect special waterways in 1970 when they voted two-to-one to establish the Oregon Scenic Waterways Program. The program seeks to balance protection and use through cooperation between federal, state, and local agencies as well as individual property owners and those who recreate along a waterway.  The program goals include:

  • Protect the free-flowing character of designated rivers;
  • Protect and enhance scenic and natural values, recreation, and fish and wildlife
  • Protect private property rights; 
  • Encourage other agencies to act consistently with the goals of scenic waterways


This river stretch was nominated by Laurel Hillmann, State Scenic Waterways Program, 503-986-0700


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