Share:

Metolius River Spring

Mt. Jefferson + Metolius River Area, Oregon

Start Exploring
Metolius River Spring

Share:

Advertisement
  • Picnic area at the Metolius River Spring parking area.- Metolius River Spring
  • Short paved path toward the spring viewpoint.- Metolius River Spring
  • Metolius River Spring.- Metolius River Spring
  • Metolius River Spring.- Metolius River Spring
  • View north from the Metolius River Spring toward Mount Jefferson (10,495').- Metolius River Spring
  • Mount Jefferson (10,495') from the Metolius River Spring.- Metolius River Spring
Overview + Weather
Pros: 
Unique river 'headwaters.' Mount Jefferson views.
Cons: 
Understated spring.
Advertisement
Region:
Mt. Jefferson + Metolius River Area, OR
Congestion: 
High
Pets allowed: 
Yes
Parking Pass: 
Not Required
Preferable Season(s):
Winter, Spring, Summer, Fall
Current Local Weather:
Advertisement
Adventure Description

Adventure Description

Team

Beyond being one of the most wild and scenic rivers in Oregon, the Metolius is one of the largest spring-fed rivers in the United States, with a unique geological story.

Unlike most of the rivers of the Pacific Northwest, which originate high on mountain tops and are sustained by snow and glacial melting, the Metolius River begins at a calm and subtle spring far from the towering peaks of the Cascade Range. Emerging as a humble trickle, the spring is tucked away at the base of Black Butte's northern slope.  While this is where the river begins, its ultimate source isn't actually all that different than most nearby rivers, which is where the story gets interesting.

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 volcanic 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.

So, although the river appears out of nowhere, the rest of its drainage basin is simply on the other south side of the butte, making its true source high in the Cascades. 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.

Updates, Tips + Comments

Updates, Tips + Comments

Field Guide + Map

Field Guide + Map

Download
Advertisement
Location + Directions

Location + Directions

Nearby Camping + Lodging

(50 within a 30 mile radius)

Nearby Adventures

(133 within a 30 mile radius)

Advertisement
Related Content

Related Content

Adventure Community

Adventure Community

Who Wants To Do It
14 Members
Who's Done It
45 Members
Submission by
Team
1275 Adventures Explored
1273 Adventures Published

Newsletter Signup

Join the Outdoor Project Community

Get access to essential planning materials and information for your next adventure. Take a few seconds to join the community. It’s FREE!

Free Field Guides + Maps

Post Updates, Tips + Comments

Organize + Track Your Adventures

Insider Detailed Info, News + Benefits

Custom Driving Directions

Recommended Campsites, Photos + Reservation Info