If you are in the Black Butte or Sisters area, this short stroll along the banks of the Metolius River is a perfect detour for everyone in the family, even if you aren't fly fishing. The trailhead starts at Camp Sherman's general store and follows the banks of this mysterious* and scenic river as it passes numerous quaint cabins. The trail begins to feel more natural once the trail passes the Camp Sherman Campground and enters a quintessential old-growth ponderosa pine forest.
* The Metolius River pops out of nowhere... at least apparently. Unlike most glacially fed rivers in the region, the river's headwaters emerge from Metolius Springs near Black Butte's northern base. The Metolius is thus one of the largest spring-fed rivers in the United States. Interestingly, about 4 million years ago the crest of the previous generation of Cascade Mountains sank thousands of feet, forming a giant depression. Since then, constant volcanic activity has given rise to the current generation of peaks such as Mount Washington, Three Fingered Jack and Mount Jefferson. The lava formations from more recent volcantic activity have nearly filled this once giant depression. Green Ridge still stands as the eastern fault line to the depression, and the Metolius River flows down the valley created by this fault line. Black Butte, now a long-extinct volcano, arose right on top of this eastern fault, burying the Metolius River. Although the river appears out of nowhere, the rest of its drainage basin is simply on the other south side of the butte some 300 feet higher in elevation. Black Butte effectively created a sprawling dam, hence the numerous swampy meadows on the butte's south side, such as those around Black Butte Ranch.