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The Metolius River is a tributary of Lake Billy Chinookmarker in Central Oregonmarker, United Statesmarker, near the city of Sistersmarker. The river flows north from springs near Black Buttemarker, then turns sharply east, descending through a series of gorges before ending in the western end of the lake. The unincorporated community of Camp Shermanmarker lies astride the southern end of the river.

The river's drainage basin is in area and, according to at least one estimate, contains of perennial streams, of intermittent streams, 42 lakes, and 121 ponds.


The headwaters of the river are at Metolius Springsmarker, where the river emerges from two clusters of springs, about apart. The springs are at the base of Black Butte. Water flows to these springs from the drainage basin around Black Butte Ranchmarker, several miles to the south. The elevation of the drainage basin is above that of the springs, forming a natural standpipe that tends stabilize the river's rate of flow.

As a consequence, the water level in the Metolius River is relatively constant. The rate of flow at the headwaters is approximately 190 m³/min (6,700 ft³/min or 50,000 gallons per minute), although it grows by an additional 2,300 m³/min (80,000 ft³/min or 600,000 gallons per minute) by the time the river reaches Lake Billy Chinook. Similarly, the water temperature is also stable; at the river source, the water temperature is a consistent .


The Metolius River flows from Metolius Springs through the Deschutes National Forestmarker, emptying into Lake Billy Chinook and ultimately the Deschutes River. The upper of the river is a popular destination for catch-and-release fishing, whitewater rafting, picnicking, and camping. The lower is on the boundary of the Warm Springs Indian Reservation, and is "a primitive area where motorized vehicles are not allowed."

The Metolius River was officially designated a National Wild and Scenic River in 1988.

Many of the summer homes along the Metolius River are constructed on United States Forest Service land, under provisions of a 1915 act of Congress, and are generally required to be set back from the river at least , allowing public access to the river.


Sport fishing on the Metolius River is catch-and-release, fly-fishing only (barbless hook), on the accessible, upper portion of the river, and includes rainbow trout, whitefish, bull trout and kokanee salmon. A number of small resorts and shops cater to fishermen and other visitors, principally in the community of Camp Sherman.

Hiking and horseback riding are popular activities in the area, particularly on the upper, southern portion of the river , with trails extending up and down the river and into the forests on both sides. There are also a number of developed campgrounds on the banks of the river. Fishing, rafting, hunting and cross-country skiing are all popular seasonal activities.

The Wizard Falls Fish Hatchery is also located approximately north of the headwaters. This hatchery raises rainbow trout, kokanee, and Atlantic salmon. The hatchery is open to visitors, with various species of trout and other fish on display in ponds.


Coordinates from GNIS list one point per 7.5 minute map. The source and mouth are not repeated here.
seq num location usgs map
2 Fly Creek
3 Metolius Bench
4 Shitike Butte
5 Prairie Farm Spring
6 Candle Creek

See also


  1. Deschutes Subbasin Plan, Northwest Power and Conservation Council
  2. "Metolius River, Oregon", Public Land Information Center, Public Lands Interpretive Association, Albuquerque, New Mexico, 2008.
  3. “Metolius, Oregon”, Wild and Scenic Rivers Act, Public Law 90-542 (as amended), 16 United State Code 1271-1287, 8 August 2002.
  4. "Camp Sherman", Metolius Recreation Association, Online, Camp Sherman, Oregon, 24 August 2008.

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