Today on the Land Use Trail: The Metolius

Throughout the summer, we'll be featuring stops on our new Land Use Trail. Today, September 26: The Metolius River. The Metolius' cool water, remarkable headwaters, and majestic scenery have drawn people to its banks for over a hundred years.

About:  From its stunning source bursting from the volcanic rock below Black Butte, to its convergence with the Deschutes and Crooked Rivers at Lake Billy Chinook, the Metolius is among Oregonians' most treasured waterways. In 1988, the River was designated a National Wild and Scenic River. It is a popular destination for fishing, rafting, and camping. In 2009, 1000 Friends and other groups successfully protected its celebrated shores from resort development.

Key Fact: The Metolius is of the largest spring-fed rivers in the United States, with 50,000 gallons a minute forming its source near Camp Sherman. Scientists believe the springs that feed the river were created one and a half million years ago.

Another Cool Fact: Camp Sherman was established by Sherman County wheat farmers who came to the cool Metolius banks to escape the hot eastern Oregon sun every August, beginning in the early 1900s.

Quote: "I know I am not the only Oregonian who believes this is a special place… a place that represents the diversity of our natural beauty and a place that we have a responsibility to preserve." --Governor Ted Kulongoski after signing legislation to protect the Metolius as an Area of Critical State Concern in 2009.

Visit: The heart of the Metolius headwaters area is the historic Camp Sherman store, while nearby Sisters is home to a number of restaurants, breweries, and an attractive downtown area.

Learn More:

Going to the Metolius? Share your photos with us! We'll pass them on.

See the whole Land Use Trail, featuring exceptional Oregon natural places, communities, and working lands from every corner of our state.

Help us protect Oregon's iconic landscapes at

Text by Nathen Lamb, Communications Intern. Photo of the Metolius River by Roy Scribner, via Flickr. Creative Commons.