This is hibernation time — when cold weather promotes relaxing indoors. Indulge in your favorite warm drinks, cuddling up by the fireplace and taking an afternoon nap. Grab your comfortable flannels, wool socks and a parka and head into the Cascade Mountains for a cozy getaway.


How to Relax in McKenzie River:

1. Book Cozy Lodging

Scattered along the McKenzie River there are bed and breakfasts, lodges and cabins — some with communal meals and socializing, others with privacy and independence. Join in the convivial atmosphere of a lodge great room, find a cabin with its own kitchen and wood-burning fireplace, or stay in a bed and breakfast with home-cooked meals. Many places are stocked with books and board games, firewood, sleds or snow gear.

In summer, places to stay in the McKenzie River region book up quickly, and that can also happen during the peak of winter when snow sports are popular (and, due to seasonal factors, some places don't offer lodging during this time). Your best bet for booking your relaxing vacation is in late fall/early winter and early spring, as the weather is shifting. These "shoulder season" times can mean more availability, better rates and unique recreational opportunities.

Loloma Lodge Cozy Lodging

2. Curl Up Indoors

Enjoy being indoors with your family or friends and reconnecting over a meal, playing cards, working on a puzzle or crafting together. As the rain beats against the window, or the snowflakes drift down, savor the "downtime" with those you care about.

Here is how:

  • Plan meals together. Stay in a cabin with a kitchen, bring your groceries and recipes, then cook and eat together! Check out Caddisfly Resort for cabins with fully equipped kitchens. Or stay in a bed and breakfast like McKenzie Orchards and sign up for one of their gourmet cooking classes. Cook your meals with your host!
  • Bring books, board games, puzzles, cards and handcrafts to enjoy. Some cabins may have them already stocked, so you can enjoy learning a new game. Read books by local authors or about the region.
  • Watch for wildlife or birds from inside. Spend time at the window, seeing what nature offers. Bring binoculars and a birding or wildlife guide book.
  • Soak in an indoor spa tub or outdoor hot tub if available. Depending on where you stay, enjoy a good soak — or maybe even a sauna!
Loloma Lodge Cozy Lodging

3. Tune Into Nature

Unplug the television and the phone (you might not get reception up here anyway), and slip into the natural world. Spend time outdoors, breathing fresh mountain air, listening to the stillness full of nature sounds and getting a little exercise.

Here is how:

  • Soak in hot springs. There are several nearby — Belknap Hot Springs is the easiest, as it is a resort pool fed by the hot springs, and there is a day fee; and Terwilliger Hot Springs is natural, with multiple pools cascading into one another, but may not be accessible due to snow.
  • Hike or snowshoe along hiking trails. The McKenzie River National Recreation Trail stretches along the river with multiple trailheads so it can be customized to the length that works best for you.
  • Visit waterfalls. Sahalie and Koosah Falls are dramatic in the winter with a short walk from parking. 
  • Go skiing, snowboarding or tubing. Just beyond the McKenzie River is Hoodoo Ski Area.
  • Fish along streams, creeks or lakes. Cast out a line to bring home dinner, or for a meditative catch and release experience.

The McKenzie River is an ideal destination for unwinding. Leave stress behind and discover a simple rhythm in the mountains, based around the season. After a relaxing break, head home fully recharged.