Oregon’s Willamette National Forest stretches across 110 miles along the western slopes of the Cascade Mountains, encompassing more than a million acres of cedar and fir trees, alpine streams, and waterfalls. The town of Blue River lies on the western outskirts of the forest, just 40 miles east of Eugene. Here, on 6 rustic acres, is McKenzie River Mountain Resort—an ideal base from which to explore Oregon.
The homey waterside cabins are equipped with full kitchens, overstuffed sofas, and deep soaking tubs. Head to the game room for ping-pong and air hockey, or venture outside to play horseshoes or volleyball. For quality fishing, the Blue River—so named because the rocks in the riverbed seem to tint the water—is the place to go to catch rainbow trout and steelhead salmon.
The waterfall-tour option allows guests to go on a self-guided excursion to three area waterfalls. The mountain-biking package includes bike rentals and scheduled shuttle service that will ferry you to two bike trails. One, the McKenzie River Trail, offers views of waterfalls and pristine lakes amid an 300-year-old growth forest. The trail also includes handmade log bridges, streams, and a lava flow. With the scrapbooking option, guests can hunker down in the conference room with snacks and crafts to make their own scrapbooks.
Blue River, Oregon: Forested Mountain Town near Skiing and Hot Springs
Just 40 miles east of Eugene, the small town of Blue River lies in the western range of the Cascade Mountains near the border of Willamette National Forest. The surrounding McKenzie River Valley is a haven for lovers of the outdoors. Come winter, the Hoodoo ski area in nearby Sisters is a hive of activity, with 32 ski and snowboard runs and a tubing park. You can go for an après-ski soak at Terwilliger Hot Springs, where clothing is optional. When the weather warms up, popular pursuits include whitewater rafting, horseback riding, fishing, and golfing at the Tokatee Golf Club, which boasts views of the Three Sisters Mountains from the greens.