Metolius River Preserve

Why You Should Visit

This cool, moist stretch of meadow and forest along the Metolius River supports a low-elevation fen, dry meadows and mixed conifer river bottom old-growth forest.


Near Camp Sherman, north of Sisters in Central Oregon


30 acres

What the Conservancy Has Done/Is Doing

The condition and status of rare species on the preserve are monitored by ecologists. Teams of volunteers assist periodically throughout the year with trail maintenance and removal of invasive, non-native species.

What to See: Plants

Conifer species found on the preserve include ponderosa pine, grand fir, Douglas-fir, western white pine and Englemann spruce. The meadow hosts a large population of the rare Peck's penstemon and other wildflowers endemic to Central Oregon. The preserve also includes two river islands.

What to See: Animals

Along the river, bobcat, flying squirrel, northern watershrew, and bat species little brown myotis and long-eared myotis make their home.

The best time to visit is June through September, with peak flowering in mid-June. Please note that the trail passes through other private lands as well as through the preserve.

Please observe the following guidelines while hiking:

  • Stay on the trail. Don't collect plants, insects or other species or disturb soil, rocks, artifacts or scientific research markers.
  • No dogs. Preserves harbor ground-nesting birds and other wildlife that are extremely sensitive to disturbance.
  • No bicycles or motorized vehicles. Native plants and research sites are easily trampled.
  • No hunting, camping or campfires.
  • For groups of 10 or more, please contact us before visiting a preserve (a volunteer naturalist guide may be available).
  • Please bring a bag and carry out any trash you find.
  • Please report to us any problems you observe (e.g., camping, plant removal, hunting, off-road vehicle damage, etc).
  • From Hwy 20/126, northwest of Sisters, take the Metolius River-Camp Sherman Exit (Forest Service Road 14).
  • Head north on 14, staying to your right (towards the “Headwaters of the Metolius”).
  • Cross over the Metolius River at Lower Bridge Campground, and continue west (on 14) as it turns to cinder/gravel.
  • Take your first left on Forest Service Road 1298, which is closed to cars by a gate about a half-mile ahead.
  • At the gate, turn around and park (on the east side of the road, where you will not block emergency  vehicles), and continue down Forest Service Road 1298 on foot for approximately 1/4-mile.
  • An old logging road, marked by a small Nature Conservancy sign on a tree, heads downhill (east/left) towards the river.
  • Continue walking 1/4-mile to the preserve boundary. An undeveloped trail leads south along the west side of the river.



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Add Your Comments

Time for you to join the discussion. Tell us about your experience at this preserve. What plants and animals did you see? When did you go? You can help others plan their visit when you share your thoughts. And thank you for visiting one of our nature preserves!

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