Find Local Holiday Gifts in the Eugene, Cascades & Coast Region

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Get ready for the holidays this year with local shopping and unique gifts! Find some of our favorite ways in the post below. Visit our holiday page for more events going on this season and our shopping page for a bigger list of spots to shop this year.

It’s that time of the year again; shoppers are ready to hit the stores and fill their carts with the hottest deals of the season. However, if rushing through those crowded stores isn’t your scene, then you’re a perfect candidate for Springfield’s Small Business Saturday deals.

On November 28th you’ll find the Springfield Chamber of Commerce’s Small Business Passport and a Shop Small tote bag at several participating locations.

Just grab aSBS Facebook Header - Blue (2) passport and find deals on unique items while supporting small businesses this year. Get it stamped and returned to the Chamber by December 14 for a chance at a prize basket!

Need help prioritizing your holiday errands? Here are a few other places to start:

Travel Lane County’s Adventure Center

The Adventure Center, located on Gateway Street in Springfield, is a true hub for local information and crafts. Start your excursion here with our Adventure specialists who can help tailor your shopping day and don’t miss the Adventure Center’s selection of retail items reflecting some of our favorite crafts of the region.ADVENTURE CENTER IN SPRINGFIELD BY EUGEN

Browse through a variety of local craft beers and wines, which will pair well with Euphoria Chocolates. Showcase your Oregonian pride with Crippen Design’s new PNW t-shirts or a Eugene Ale Trail v-neck.

You’ll find surprises like alpaca fleece toe stuffers from Aragon Alpacas too. Stuff these natural liners into the front of your boots with alpaca fleece and say goodbye to cold toes for the winter as they contour to your foot! Bring in three cans of food through the rest of 2015 and get 20% off any item. Find more deals like these at the Adventure Center Deals page.

Saturday Market’s Holiday Market

Open weekends at the Lane Event Center, this market features a variety of local artisans. Many that you will recognize from the outdoor Saturday Market, alongside artists who are specially featured for the holiday season.

On top of a selection of amazing vendors, the Holiday Market also provides a selection of delicious foods to enjoy while listening to some live music. Enjoy a vibrant atmosphere that will lift your spirits for the season.

Fifth Street Market

With a fantastic selection of fine boutiques and locally made artisan products, this is a perfect time to visit the Fifth Street Market for your holiday shopping. Fifth Street Market features shops that focus on jewelry and accessories, home goods, food, and apparel.Let-it-SNOW

If you are looking to spice up your Holiday Shopping this year, the market will be hosting a variety of holiday events to check out while you shop. Swing by the market in the evening on November 28th for Night of a Thousand Stars and see the market light up with twinkling lights.

And what is the holiday season without snow? Attend the weekly Let it Snow event and
experience a magical snow fall over the market. Bring the kids to see Santa, he will make a special visit to the market every Saturday through December 19th!

Downtown Eugene Shops

While you’re downtown Eugene, pick up a warm drink at local coffee shops like Full City Roasters and explore the various small shops that Eugene has to offer.Barn Light

From local favorites at gilt + gossamer and Footwise to specialty items at Harlequin Beads and Heritage Dry Goods, shopping here always rewards with unique items and select the most personal gifts.

After spending a Saturday supporting some of Lane County’s small shops and vendors, why not take a retreat. Whether that’s a weekend in South Willamette Wine Country, or a holiday weekend at the Oregon Coast or the Cascades Mountain Range, treat yourself this year!

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Tour Oregon’s South Willamette Wine Country on Thanksgiving Weekend

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Sweet Cheeks Gazing Cyclist by Molly Blancett

A cyclist taking in the gorgeous view at Sweet Cheeks Winery

Thanksgiving weekend is one of the best times to visit Oregon wineries. Many have just finished fall harvest and are eager to release new wines for the season.

No plans for the holiday? Check out a few of the Thanksgiving dining experiences planned by a few of our restaurants.

And don’t forget about all of the holiday events going on around town that week!
With a little planning, an affordable wine country vacation is an easy and quick getaway to make. Live music, great food, art vendors – there’s sure to be something for everyone!

Here are a few of our favorite South Willamette Winery Thanksgiving weekend celebrations:

Benton-Lane Winery

Thanksgiving Weekend Open House
Friday- Sunday, noon – 5 p.m.

Taste wine in the Romantic Holiday Barrel Rooms while enjoying Christmas music and artisan cheese and meat plates. Gourmet pizzas will be available Saturday and Sunday.

Brigadoon Wine Company

Thanksgiving Weekend Open House
Friday – Sunday, noon – 5 p.m.

On Saturday the winery will be featuring live music and Sunday is all about chocolate! Visitors will have the opportunity to sample chocolate with their wine and purchase chocolates from Northern Italy.

Domaine Meriwether Winery

Open Regular Hours
Friday – Sunday, 11 a.m.- 5 p.m.

Iris Vineyards

Chestnut Roasting Party
Saturday, noon – 6 p.m.

Stay warm with fire roasted chestnuts and rich bodied wines with Iris Vineyard’s chestnut roasting party at the Estate Tasting Room.

J. Scott Cellars

Friday & Saturday, 1 – 9 p.m.; Sunday, 1 – 5 p.m.

Scott Cellars is kicking off the season with live music on Friday and Saturday, food trucks, a special wine release, the chance to jump start holiday gift giving with wine packages and gift certificates plus guest winery, Poco Collina  (Saturday)!

King Estate Winery

Open Regular Hours
Friday – Sunday, 11 a.m. – 8 p.m. 

LaVelle Vineyards

Open Regular Hours
Friday – Sunday, noon – 5 p.m.

Noble Estate Vineyard & Winery

Noble Estate Vineyards 
Friday – Sunday, noon – 5 p.m.

This weekend Noble Estate Vineyards will have customized wine flights, artisan Chocolate Tasting by Brutto ma Buono, jewelry trunk show by Stella & Dot and holiday wine specials.
Noble Estate Urban

Noble Estate Tasting Room

Friday – Sunday, 4 – 10 p.m.

After enjoying holiday festivities at the vineyard tasting room, check out Noble Estate’s urban location featuring live music, locally made chocolate, cheese plates and wine specials.

Oregon Wine LAB

Friday, noon -10 p.m.; Saturday, noon – 8 p.m.; Sunday, noon – 6 p.m.

Make sure to swing by Oregon Wine LAB on Friday to see their featured artist of Eugene’s Last Friday Art Walk and enjoy live music. There will also be live music at 4 p.m. on Sunday to listen to while sipping on your wine.

Pfeiffer Vineyards

Pfeiffer Vineyards
Friday – Sunday , 11 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Head over to Pfeiffer Vineyards this Thanksgiving weekend and enjoy live music, great food, marshmallow roasting and, of course, great wine.

Saginaw Vineyard

Friday, 11 a.m. – 5 p.m. &  Live music and dinner 6 – 9 p.m.; Saturday – Sunday, 11 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Friday night is going to be a special event at Saginaw Vineyards with live music and dinner available for guests. On top of that, all weekend visitors can enjoy complimentary wine tastings and hors d’oeuvres, as well as, new cheese plate options available for purchase

Sarver Winery

Friday, noon – 9 p.m.; Saturday – Sunday, 12 – 6 p.m.

Enjoy live music into the night on Friday and during the afternoon on Saturday/Sunday. To mark the beginning of winter season, hot soup will be served to accompany the wine and warm guests up.

Silvan Ridge Winery

Thanksgiving Weekend Celebration
Friday – Sunday, Noon – 5 p.m.

Welcome to the annual celebration of family, wine and friends including new wine releases, live music and more.

Sweet Cheeks Winery

10th Anniversary and Thanksgiving Celebration
Friday, noon – 9 p.m.; Saturday – Sunday, noon – 6 p.m.

Celebrate Sweet Cheeks’ 10th Anniversary this Thanksgiving weekend, with live music and food carts alternating every day.

Territorial Vineyards & Wine Company

Friday, 5 -10 p.m.; Saturday, 1 – 9 p.m.; Sunday 1 – 6 p.m.

Open with extended hours for Thanksgiving weekend Territorial Vineyards will be having 2 for 1 tastings all weekend long. Listen to live music on Friday night and Saturday afternoon and make sure to checkout the weekend’s wine bottle deals!

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Show Your Ticket for a Great Night Downtown

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Fall is here and entertainment’s in full gear! In this post, learn how to get special deals by showing a qualifying Hult Center ticket at a participating restaurant. Find out more about the new “Show Your Ticket & Save” program and the list of qualifying shows here.

There’s nothing quite like a fun night on the town. As the cool and crisp Autumn air rolls in, we look forward to the fabulous shows, concerts and events Eugene’s resident companies put on at the Hult Center. This year, we’re celebrating the season with the Show Your Ticket & Save program.

It all starts with a ticket to a show from one of the resident companies: Ballet Fantastique, Eugene Ballet Company, the Eugene Symphony, and/or the Eugene Concert Choir. No
matter what your scene might be, the Hult Center’s variety is sure to please!

Barn Light Outdoors

Explore some of Eugene’s newest eateries, breweries and bars

Take your qualifying ticket to any of the supporting locations four days before and/or after the ticket date and find a range of deals around the show!

We were so excited to roll out this program, we had to put it to the test on a recent outing around the Eugene Symphony’s 50th Anniversary Season opening concert, An American in Paris.


Grab a Bite Before the Act

There are a handful of great local eateries, breweries and wine bars that participate in the Show Your Ticket & Save program. With plenty of options within walking distance from the Hult Center, keep in mind that parking is free after 6 PM, and in great supply.

Sandwich Menu Inside Barnlight

Show your resident company ticket to your server at The Barn Light for 10% off your tab that night

Our pick for dinner and a drink that night was the The Barn Light. Now with two locations to choose from (on Willamette St. in downtown Eugene, or on East 8th Ave.), the two offer a nice mix of atmospheres.

The downtown location offers a great beer menu, fun food options, and cool games like shuffleboard and Foosball – making it a great spot to kick-off or wrap-up the night.

Settle in for a Fantastic Show

We showed up early to the Hult Center to grab a glass of wine before settling in for a fantastic opening concert.

Eug Symphony

The Hult Center watches and listens in awe of the Eugene Symphony’s performance

The show offered both timeless and timely American Works. Grammy-nominated composer Mason Bates’ piece was inspired by childhood memories listening to jazz, big band and swing records in his father’s man-cave.

The Eugene Symphony’s performance of the piece was actually a world premiere. Quite the incredible moment to be a part of!

Following the premiere was Benjamin Beilman’s Eugene debut – what an incredible, young violinist! Notes would rise and fall with ease from his fingertips while the audience fell awestruck and silent. It was truly a night to remember at the Hult Center.

Explore Breakfast Options


Check out local cafe hotspots like Theo’s Coffee House in the morning

Since the Show Your Ticket & Save program extends to four days before and after a show, hang onto those tickets! From coffee shops to fine eats – there’s something for nearly every early-morning palate downtown.

For our breakfast the next day we decided to visit a local coffee favorite, Theo’s, where we received a $1 off each delicious cup.

Ready to hit the town?

Here’s a full list of the participating shows this season. Time to grab a ticket, and have a blast!

  • September 24 – An American in Paris from Eugene Symphony 
  • October 9, 10, 11 – Cirque de la Lune from Ballet Fantastique
  • October 15 – Miguel Conducts Ginastera from Eugene Symphony
  • October 24, 25 – Sleeping Beauty from Eugene Ballet Company
  • November 12 – From the New World from Eugene Symphony
  • December 3 – American Spectacular from Eugene Symphony
  • December 6 – A Dickens of a Christmas from Eugene Concert Choir
  • December 11 – Yo-Yo Ma Eugene Symphony
  • December 11, 12, 13 – An American Christmas Carol from Ballet Fantastique
  • December 18, 19, 20 – The Nutcracker from Eugene Ballet Company


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Harvest at Noble Estate

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It’s finally fall this week, and Noble Estate Vineyard and Winery has been busy at harvest! Hear about their process from Noble Estate’s Marketing Manager, Amy Shadell in this post. To learn more about the South Willamette Wineries, visit our Wine Country page.  

pinot harvest 6

Time for the Pinot harvest!

As the air cools and the leaves turn red and gold, we’re reminded that fall will be here soon. In the wineries and vineyards of the South Willamette Valley, this means harvest time. Owner and winemaker Mark Jurasevich, of Noble Estate Vineyard and Winery, explains “that despite record heat this summer our vines are looking great. We anticipate starting harvest in mid to late September.”
Leading up to harvest, vineyards begin to undergo a process called veraison. What many people may not realize is most grapes start out green.  The beginning of the ripening process, also called veraison, is when these green grapes change color.

Grapes that are used to make red wine, like Pinot Noir for instance, turn deep purple while some white wine grapes turn a rich golden hue.  Veraison is a visual cue that harvest season is approaching. But what about taste?

bucket of pinot noir

A bucket of Pinot noir

Before grapes can be harvested, they are tested for sugar levels (or brix) and to see how the flavors are developing. Ripe wine grapes are often sweet, with tannins coming from the seeds and skins. About four weeks after veraison, grapes will start being tested daily.

A common question in the Noble Estate tasting room is: are all grapes picked at the same time?  The answer is usually no.  At Noble Estate the Muscat will be ready first, while the Riesling will most likely be last.

Once they reach the ideal brix, grapes are ready to be picked. Brix can change quickly, so the picking crew must be ready to get started with only a few days’ notice.

muscat 2013 grapes

2013 Muscat grapes during harvest

This is when the fun starts. Harvest means long (and sticky) days starting when the sun rises. Imagine watching the fog roll through the vineyards in the early morning.

There’s a nip in the air as you carefully hand pick each cluster of estate grown grapes. Starting on one row you slowly work your way to the end, untying bird netting and emptying your bucket periodically in large grape bins.

These bins are taken to the winery, where later in the day the grapes will be sorted and pressed. Harvest days can be close to 20 hours long. Depending on the size of the winery harvest season can last a couple of weeks or a month.

Want to witness harvest in person? Visit the wineries and vineyards of the South Willamette Valley this fall and you may glimpse people picking or even get to taste the grapes! At Noble Estate’s vineyard tasting room on Gimpl Hill, guests can see and sample Pinot Noir vines on the patio. During the 2014 harvest, Muscat clusters were brought to the tasting room where guests could taste the fresh grapes next to the finished product. Visit the Noble Estate tasting room this fall to get a taste of harvest. Open daily 12- 5 pm.

Also check out the list of Oregon wineries to hit this fall in Oregon Fall Foliage’s recent wine post

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Eugene Adventure Giveaway starts right now on Facebook!

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Check out this fantastic vacation up for grabs on our Eugene, Cascades & Coast Facebook page!

On September 15, 2015, we’ll be working with Vacasa Vacation Rentals, Pacific Pub Cycle and Scenic Jet Boat Tours to offer a fun package giveaway in Eugene!

A vacation rental that fits up to 8 visitors is up for grabs along with a fun pub cycle ride AND a jet boat tour along the Willamette river.  These gift certificates will be for a range of dates, so the winner can pick a time that works best for them. Don’t miss this fun giveaway – just head over and like our Facebook page, then share the Eugene Adventure Giveaway post for a chance to win!

For rules, conditions and more, see below:

This contest excludes Travel Lane County employees and employee family members. Winners must be 21 or older.

To enter in the Eugene Adventure Giveaway, follow these steps:

  1. Like our Facebook Page
  2. Share the Eugene Adventure Giveaway post for an entry to win

NOTE: This contest is only on our Facebook page, no other social media channels will be used in this giveaway.


The winner will be selected among entrants with a randomizer.


  • Participants hereby grant Travel Lane County a non-exclusive, perpetual, worldwide license to broadcast, publish, store, reproduce, distribute, syndicate, and otherwise use and exhibit the submission in media now known and later come into being for purposes of trade or advertising without further compensation.
  • Winners will be required to execute and return a Certificate of Eligibility, Consent and General Release form within 14 days of notification.

By participating in this contest, you acknowledge that this contest is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with Facebook, and release Facebook from any and all liability arising from or related to this contest.

Travel Lane County is not responsible for late, lost or misdirected email or for any computer, online, telephone or technical malfunctions that may occur.  If for any reason, the contest is not capable of running as planned, including infection by computer virus, bugs, tampering, unauthorized intervention or technical failures of any sort, Travel Lane County may cancel, terminate, modify or suspend the contest.  Entrants further agree to release Travel Lane County from any liability resulting from, or related to participation in the contest.

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A story from the saddle: Horseback riding along the Oregon Coast

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Find out what a tour of the Central Oregon Coast on horseback feels like from Turell Group‘s Kelli Warner. For more coastal adventures and trip ideas, head to our Oregon Coast page.

As a child, I begged for a pony. I never got one, unfortunately. In fact, I can count on one hand how many times I’ve actually ridden a horse.

As novice as that may sound, my husband and 17-year-old son have never ridden and my 13-year-old daughter’s only experience was a 30-minute ride at summer camp last year.

That might explain why we’d driven past C&M Stables on Highway 101 numerous times on our family excursions to the Florence area, but we never stopped.

All I can say now is—why in the world did we wait so long?

I’ll be honest, there was a subtle, unspoken 2Warner-0088nervousness circling us as we stepped inside the office to check in for our ride—as if our inexperience would set off some alarm and somehow disqualify us.

My nerves eased as soon as we met the warm, welcoming staff.


It turns out we’re not the anomaly we imagined ourselves to be. In fact, about 85 percent of the people who come to C&M Stables are beginners—just like us.

1Warner-1119After reading the instructions and guidelines and filling out the appropriate paperwork, we donned our helmets and headed out to the corral. We were about to be introduced to our guide, Tyler, and the horses that would turn our family’s picture-perfect afternoon on the coast into an unforgettable adventure: Cowboy, C.J., Styles and Sandman.

Standing there, ready to saddle up, I felt like
a kid again—a kid who was finally getting that pony. I could not have been more excited.

Instead of the horses rolling their eyes at our inexperience, it was my teenagers who offered their best eye-rolls as I snapped pictures of them on their horses like we were at Disneyland. (They couldn’t fool me—they were excited, too!)

Tyler explained the fundamentals of
how to hold the reins, how to get the horses to go, to turn right or left, and to stop (most important in my book) and within minutes, we set out on an easy ride over nearby nature trails, then headed for the dunes and the beach.

We’re native Oregonians, and we’ve visited the coast many times.

It’s one of our favorite places, but seeing the dunes and the beach on horseback was like seeing it for the first time. Looking up at the massive dunes, it was hard to imagine climbing them, until the horses were actually doing it. I was in total awe of their strength and power navigating through sand.

5Warner-0117As we descended the dunes, we met another group of riders on their way back to the ranch. They told us how much fun they’d had on the beach, and we quickly realized why. Except for the seagulls and the crashing waves, we had the area all to ourselves. It was incredibly peaceful.

We were allowed to break from single-file trail formation and ride independently and spread out, even riding along the surf
(like they do in the movies!). We were also given the opportunity to trot our horses if we chose. Tyler offered to take pictures of the family with our camera, and I appreciated that—these memories were keepers.

On the return ride back to the stables, I became acutely aware that the entire family had gone quiet, which anyone with kids can tell you doesn’t happen very often. All of us, my husband included, were enthralled by the sights and relaxed by the tranquility, to the point of lapsing into silence. It was truly one of those moments where together as a family, in the midst of Oregon’s beauty, I thought to myself, “This is a great day.”

6Warner-0153The mild nervousness we felt at the beginning of the ride turned into a twinge of disappointment when it came to an end.

After we climbed down from our horses, the silence was broken as we talked over one another, sharing our favorite parts of the ride—a conversation that lasted well into the car and our lunch in Old Town Florence.

My son told me he was glad we went, and my daughter was proud of the confidence she’d gained.

The Warner family has checked another great Oregon adventure off its bucket list. We’re now adding it to our to-do again list (maybe a sunset ride next time?), because as Tyler’s grandfather used to say, “There’s nothing better than the view between a horse’s ears.”

I wholeheartedly agree.

For more horseback trails from the Coast to the Cascades, check out our trails page here.

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Attention Oregon Fans: The #RealOregon Photo Contest Starts on August 1, 2015!

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What do you love about the Eugene, Cascades and Coast region?

Hobbit Beach w Ocean Wide

One fun scene to check out is just north of Florence at Hobbit Beach.

On August 1, 2015, we’ll kick off the #RealOregon Photo Contest, where we’re looking forshots of what you like about the Eugene, Cascades & Coast.

From the crests of the Cascades to the misty Oregon Coast and the cultural scenes in Eugene, we want to see what you love about Lane County. And we’ve got some great prizes up for grabs:

  • First place $100 prize, feature in the newsletter
  • Second place $50 prize
  • Community chosen $50 prize
Wider Upper McK

From the Cascades to the Coast, snap a shot of something you love!

So get ready to hop on Twitter, Instagram or Facebook and share your favorite shots with the #RealOregon tag. We can’t wait to see what you great photographers have in store!

For rules, conditions and more, see below:



Photos will be accepted through August 31, 2015. Travel Lane County representatives will select the first and second place winners, while whittling third place submissions down to the top few. On September 4, 2015, we’ll announce the few contenders for Community Favorite, and then put them up for a head to head competition on social media.

This contest excludes Travel Lane County employees and employee family members.

To enter in the #RealOregon Photo Contest, follow these steps:

  1. Upload your photo to Instagram or Twitter
  2. Tag it #RealOregon, #PhotoContest
  3. Tell us where you took it

NOTE: All photos need to be taken in the Eugene, Cascades & Coast region. If you share your photo on Facebook, please share it to our page.


Third and second-place winners will be selected by Travel Lane County. The first-place winner will be voted on.


  1. Best photo
  2. Second Place
  3. Community Chosen


  • Participants hereby grant Travel Lane County a non-exclusive, perpetual, worldwide license to broadcast, publish, store, reproduce, distribute, syndicate, and otherwise use and exhibit the submission in media now known and later come into being for purposes of trade or advertising without further compensation.
  • Travel Lane County is under no obligation to use any submission or return submissions to participants.
  • Winners will be required to execute and return a Certificate of Eligibility, Consent and General Release form within 14 days of notification.

By participating in this contest, you acknowledge that this contest is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with, Twitter, Instagram or Facebook, and release Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook from any and all liability arising from or related to this contest.

Travel Lane County is not responsible for late, lost or misdirected email or for any computer, online, telephone or technical malfunctions that may occur.  If for any reason, the contest is not capable of running as planned, including infection by computer virus, bugs, tampering, unauthorized intervention or technical failures of any sort, Travel Lane County may cancel, terminate, modify or suspend the contest.  Entrants further agree to release Travel Lane County from any liability resulting from, or related to participation in the contest.

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Cool off on the McKenzie River This Summer

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Recent trips on the water confirmed it – rafting season is alive and well on the McKenzie River. Find out more about these and other water adventures on the Eugene Cascades & Coast water activities page.

Rocks in the River

The McKenzie River, ready and waiting to play host to your summer retreat.

What’s the beauty of a river that’s both spring-fed AND aquifer-based? There’s water to go around. As local hydrologist and Oregon State University researcher Gordon Grant put it, “Contrary to popular belief, most summer flow out of the high cascades is not due to snow melt. Instead, the high Cascades form a vast hydrologic sponge that stores water.”

All that to say if you’re feeling a bit too hot this summer, the McKenzie River has you covered. Boating, fishing, swimming (safely). There are many ways to experience this historic Oregon landmark. Here are a few of our recent favorites:

Rafting the Middle/Lower McKenzie with A Helfrich Outfitters


Ready to hop into the McKenzie!

On a trip with A Helfrich Outfitters, we explored one of the middle/lower parts of the McKenzie, their Hamlin to Helfrich stretch.

As our van pulled up to the Hamlin boat ramp, we all caught the fever from inviting white caps on the river. This fun and exciting section of the river sprinkles in wild waves with stretches of calm and scenic sections to take in the Cascades.


Eagle Rest Rock towering over this serene section of the river.

Our guide explained early on that the well-known Marten rapids was waiting near the end of this section. We had the whole trip to contemplate how to tackle it.

After a couple of initial paddle-tests, and hitting a few big rapids, our group pulled off the river for a bite to eat. On their full-day trip rafters are offered a nice lunch, including Jonnie Helfrich’s tasty homemade pasta salad, right next to Eagle Rock.

We noted an Osprey’s nest and spotted a few just before heading back on the river, rejuvenated and ready to paddle on through the second half of this five hour journey.

Getting ready for the bigger rapids (the McKenzie has class II & III) is almost as exciting as running through them. Each challenge builds on the last while raft guides expertly prepare rafters before each one hits with instructions on how to paddle through. Then we hit the big one: Marten rapid.


Rafters getting ready to hit a few big rapids.

Bucking the raft through swirling currents, rafters hang on and paddle through this fantastic ride near the end of the full-day journey.

West Coast Action Photos captures the entire journey through Marten (see photos of our raft slugging through the rapid here), from the moment you’re sucked into the rapid to the last pop out of the water.


As we docked our raft in the Helfrich boat landing, we all reflected on the scenic views, wild rides and fun rides we just experienced.

Our first thought as a wave of 40 degree water crashed over the boat: “what a way to get out of the heat!”

Tackling the Upper McKenzie with High Country Expeditions

High Country Bus

High Country Expedition’s Bus pulling in for a group of eager rafters!

Fog at Belknap

Belknap Hot Springs is well-known for its extreme water temperatures coming right out of the ground.

After that, we joined High Country Expeditions on a trip through the upper McKenzie.

A stay at Belknap Hot Springs, High Country’s base of operations, is perhaps the best way to experience this trip. Visitors are invited to soak in pools fed by the 185-195 degree water straight out of the natural springs and then hop on a bus to head for the put-in, just a few miles north.

It’s evident just how picturesque the upper McKenzie is right as your vessel hits the water. Looking over the raft might allow a sight of a salmon or two. After all, they’re known for spawning just off the river in one of the several creeks flowing in from the surrounding Cascade lakes.

Our guide reminded us of this throughout our journey. At one point, he spotted a particular species of lichen hanging off a nearby tree and explained the fresh green color notes the exceptionally clean air we were breathing.

On the Raft

One adventurer responding to the “Paddle forward!” command.

Along with the crisp, refreshing nature of the upper McKenzie River, another signature aspect is its quick pace.

Rapids often hit just as swiftly as they end. During our trip, we rafted 14 miles in just an hour and a half. Some of our rafters even took the chance to “ride the bull,” as they sat on the nose of the boat, grabbed the ropes along the raft, and flew up and back down with our boat through flurries of rapids.

The vast amount of the upper McKenzie is designated as “wild and scenic,” naming the wide variety of fish and wildlife rafters might see along the river.

Upper McK Water

A peek into the crystal clear water that awaits visitors in the McKenzie River.

By the time our boat came upon the last leg, we already found ourselves missing the beautiful creeks and rivers that feed into the upper McKenzie’s flow.

What a way to experience this gorgeous river!

Check out a full list of our river guides and water adventure specialists here.

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Plan a Weekend Getaway Up the McKenzie River

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Check out a few highlights from Kim Cooper Findling on places to hit this summer up the McKenzie River. Click here to read the original post on Travel Oregon’s website.

Bed Down at the Delta House at Horse Creek Lodge and OutfittersHorsecreek

With spacious rooms and a well-equipped kitchen, this is a fantastic home base for your weekend adventures. Their outfitter also offers guided rafting trips through the McKenzie’s class II and class III rapids as well. Splashy and quick-paced trips on the water will get the family laughing in no time!

Play a Few Rounds at Tokatee Golf Club

TokateeThere’s a reason Tokatee’s ranked among Golf Digest’s Top 100 Courses in Oregon. Set with the Sisters and mighty Willamette National Forest as a backdrop, it’s hard not to relax during a round.

Want a closer look? Check out this recent flyby of the course.

Take a Dip at Belknap Hot SpringsBelknap from the bridge

Belknap Hot Springs is most famous for its pools and its prime location on the Upper McKenzie River.

Relaxing, rejuvenating, or simply getting away from it all – these hot springs offer it all.

Hike the Dee Wright Observatory

This might be the best place to catch a Dee Wrightglimpse of the Cascades lava fields. The half mile paved trail to the top is wheel chair accessible and the view is truly something to behold.

Between the lava flows and snow-capped mountain peaks, this is one hike you won’t want to miss out on.

Ready for more? Check out the full story on Travel Oregon’s blog, and find McKenzie River travel deals on the Eugene, Cascades & Coast deals page.

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Everyone, Meet Our New Mobile Visitor Center, MIKE the Bike

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Mike the Bike on his first outing: touring the covered bridges of Cottage Grove!

Hey guys, I’m MIKE the Bike.  A few months ago I  joined the Travel Lane County team as their Mobile Information Kiosk Explorer (get it, M.I.K.E.?) In short, it is my job to conveniently provide you with travel information while you are out exploring all the Eugene, Cascades, and Coast areas have to offer.

Never seen a bike that doubles as a visitor center? Well I’m a rare breed.

MtB at His Birthplace

Mike the Bike with his parents, Bike Friday.


If you visit me while I’m out on the town I can get you maps and brochures, or answer any questions you have about Lane County. And not to toot my own horn too much (or should I say bell) but I also embrace the Oregonian lifestyle by being environmentally friendly. That’s right, no gasoline needed to pump these pedals.

One of my favorite things about summer is visiting local events.
I love the wide open road under my tires and the wind in my spokes as I cruise around in the sunshine. On one of my recent quests I had the opportunity to meet The Duck (from University of Oregon).

Duck Riding down 13th

The Duck takes a spin on Mike the Bike.

Although I was a little star-struck at first I’d say we hit it off pretty well. On top of that, a few weeks ago I got to visit 16 Tons Cafe to launch Travel Lane County’s first anniversary of the Eugene Ale Trail.

What speaks better to an adventurer’s heart than a cold brew and a challenge to visit local breweries? I’m in.

Talking with Mike and the Duck

Where are you headed this summer?

Be on the lookout, because I’m traveling through the Eugene, Cascades and Coast region. The next event I’ll be cruising through is the McKenzie River Lavender Festival. Come say hi and enjoy a day filled with exquisite scents and the magnificence of local lavender farms. I’ll even help steer you towards your next adventure!

Find more information about MIKE the Bike on his listing.

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