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Family Forest Getaway 

For nature-loving adventurers, Wizard Falls has a little bit of everything

Just about an hour northwest of Bend is Camp Sherman. Amongst the beauty there in the Deschutes National Forest, hidden by the thickness of trees and cooled by the riverside, moms can find a hidden gem: the Wizard Falls Fish Hatchery. One little bridge trip over the wildly blue Metolius River and you're there.

A view of the Metolius River just below Wizard Falls Fish Hatchery. - WIKIMEDIA COMMONS
  • Wikimedia Commons
  • A view of the Metolius River just below Wizard Falls Fish Hatchery.

If you're a mom looking for some peace and quiet, you can come out to Wizard Falls Fish Hatchery and use some of the nearby camping available for a little weekend getaway in the forest. This is also the type of place that you may want to bring the whole family along to partake in the fun. The hatchery has plenty of spots to picnic together as a group and a lot of opportunity for learning.

The hatchery raises four different kinds of fish, including rainbow trout, kokanee, spring chinook and summer steelhead. The number of rainbow trout out there is out of this world, and the hatchery uses the broodstock to supply trout to the Deschutes sub-basin and southeast Oregon. When you head back to the gorgeous display pond, you can see the vibrant shades of color just beaming off of the trout. Not to mention the always-enjoyable opportunity of feeding the fish—which you're never too old to do. Twenty-five cents gets you a solid handful of fish food, and you can let the madness ensue. If you feed some of the fish in the incubation beds be prepared for some water to fly. Or, you can take some over to the dock at the pond for the much larger rainbow trout and watch how quickly they move.

Visitors to the Wizard Falls Fish Hatchery can find a plethora of these sleek swimmers lurking beneath the surface. - ISAAC BIEHL
  • Isaac Biehl
  • Visitors to the Wizard Falls Fish Hatchery can find a plethora of these sleek swimmers lurking beneath the surface.

Wizard Falls is also a hub for other wildlife. Visitors can see birds of prey flying above the trees; a coworker even told me while she was visiting she saw an eagle swoop down to snag its lunch! During my trip to Wizard Falls I spotted some Canadian geese (which may or may not have been following my girlfriend around), a gorgeous Steller's jay and a little lizard just chilling out on the trail. It wouldn't be surprising to spot some hooved friends out this way, either.

The other nice thing about the location of Wizard Falls is the access to its nearby trails; you can go for nice, relaxing and beautiful hikes along the Metolius River, which in this section is absolutely stunning. The area around Wizard Falls and Camp Sherman offers a lot of access spots to get down to the water where you can take a seat and just enjoy the sound of the rushing current. Plus, the area is home to a plethora of fishing spots that help make for the complete mom-day or family weekend.

Wizard Falls Fish Hatchery
Open 8am-7pm daily
NFD Road 1400/1600, Camp Sherman
Stay right on Forest Service Road 14 until the hatchery sign

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