Metolius Preserve

A 1,240 acre forested Preserve near Camp Sherman, Oregon.
  • Open during daylight hours, year round.
  • 10+ miles of hiking and biking trails.
  • Pine, larch, fir forest and several miles of Lake Creek.
  • White-headed woodpeckers, fall colors of maple and larch.

The Land Trust acquired and protected the 1,240 acre Metolius Preserve in 2003. This primarily forested property located near Camp Sherman, OR (see map below) supports mature ponderosa pine, Douglas fir, and western larch, as well as a rich diversity of other plant species. Three miles of Lake Creek, an important tributary to the Metolius River, flow through the property, contributing to the rich habitat found on the Preserve.


  • What to See
    • A columbine at the Metolius Preserve. Photo: Joan Amero.
      A columbine at the Metolius Preserve. Photo: Joan Amero.
      Watch for wildlife: Numerous birds inhabit the Preserve (more than 80 species have been identified) including the white-headed woodpecker, a sensitive species. Large mammals such as elk, deer, black bears, cougars, bobcats, badgers, beavers, and otters also make their home here as do smaller mammals such as the northern flying squirrel, voles, and shrews. See the Preserve's Bird List or help with bird surveys.
    • Discover the story of native fish: Lake Creek, which runs through the Preserve, provides habitat for native redband trout, spring Chinook salmon and serves as a migratory route to Suttle Lake for sockeye salmon.
    • Explore native plants: The Metolius Preserve protects a diverse array of plants including the rare Peck’s penstemon. Join a Land Trust plant tour to learn the names of the various native plants that flourish on the Preserve such as snowberry, ocean spray, nutka rose, incense cedar, and the seasonally colorful western larch and vine maple.


  • Conservation Values

    The South Fork of Lake Creek. Photo: Jay Mather.
    The South Fork of Lake Creek. Photo: Jay Mather.
    The Metolius Preserve protects important fish and wildlife habitat while protecting and promoting old-growth ponderosa pine forest conditions.

    Lake Creek currently provides spawning habitat for native redband trout and nesting habitat for a wide range of neotropical songbirds. Lake Creek is also an important part of current efforts to reintroduce spring chinook and sockeye salmon to the upper Deschutes Basin. Historically, a significant proportion of Metolius River spring chinook spawned in Lake Creek, and one of Oregon’s two native sockeye salmon runs migrated through Lake Creek to Suttle Lake. By protecting the Metolius Preserve, the Land Trust is helping to ensure a successful reintroduction of salmon in the upper Deschutes Basin.


  • Restoration Activities

    Forest restoration at the Metolius Preserve. Photo: Jay Mather.
    Forest restoration at the Metolius Preserve. Photo: Jay Mather.
    The Land Trust manages the Metolius Preserve to protect and, where necessary, restore fish and wildlife habitat. Since acquiring the Preserve in 2003, the Land Trust has completed a variety of restoration projects including:

    • Forest Restoration. The Land Trust's forestry efforts have been focused on promoting old-growth ponderosa pine forest conditions which provide important habitat for white-headed woodpeckers and other wildlife. Restoration activities include forest thinning, decommissiong old logging roads, and re-vegetation of closed areas. Learn more.
    • Stream restoration. In 2008, the Land Trust worked with the Upper Deschutes Watershed Council to remove a large culvert on Lake Creek to improve fish passage and habitat.
    • Managing weeds. Noxious weeds are a reality at all Land Trust protected lands. If they are not actively managed they compromise healthy native plant communities.


  • Know Before You Go

    The Metolius Preserve can be accessed via two main trailheads: the North Trailhead and the South Trailhead. Both entrances to the Preserve are open to the public during daylight hours year-round. See our suggested routes for the Preserve.

    The Metolius Preserve offers the following amenities:

    • 2 informational kiosks (North and South trailheads)
    • 2 parking areas (North and South trailheads)
    • 10+ miles of hiking and mountain biking trails
    • The Becky Johnson Interpretive Area
    • Benches
    • Seasonal toilets

    There is no drinking water and no trash removal services. Snow may block access to the Preserve in the winter.

    Preserve guidelines

    Use of the Metolius Preserve is conditional upon following these and any other posted rules:

    • Pedestrian and bike travel allowed on all trails.
    • Horse travel ONLY on Lake Creek Trail.
    • Stay on roads and trails and respect restrictions as posted.
    • Removal or disturbance of plants, wildlife, and historical artifacts is prohibited.
    • Dogs must be kept on leash. Please clean up after your pet.
    • Follow state laws when fishing on the Preserve.
    • No hunting, motorized vehicles, camping, campfires, smoking, or unmanned aircraft use.
    • Commercial use and private events are prohibited.

    Please note: the Metolius Preserve is private property owned by Deschutes Land Trust. Your use of the property is conditional upon these and any other posted rules. Preserve users failing to observe posted rules are trespassing and subject to applicable laws and penalties. Visitors to the Preserve may encounter risks associated with terrain, wildlife, and weather. Please exercise appropriate caution: the Deschutes Land Trust is not liable for injuries to Preserve visitors.

  • Driving Directions + Maps

    The Metolius Preserve is located west of Camp Sherman, Oregon. The Metolius Preserve has two main trailheads: The South Trailhead and the North Trailhead. Detailed driving directions, including downloadable PDFs, can be found below.

    Trail maps: View a trail map and route options for the Metolius Preserve (in English or en Español), or the Lake Creek Trail. You can also download a georeferenced map (in English or en Español) for use in mapping apps.

    The map below shows the location of the Metolius Preserve along with other Land Trust conserved lands in the Camp Sherman area.

    Metolius Preserve Driving Directions

    South Trailhead
    South Trailhead Coordinates (UTM NAD83): 603743, 4920718
    Download the driving directions in English and en Español.

    South Trailhead from Sisters:
    Drive 10.6 miles west of Sisters on Hwy 20/126. Turn right onto unmarked Forest Service Road 2064. This is the first right turn 0.7 miles after the Camp Sherman/Metolius River turnoff. (You’ll know you’ve gone too far if the highway starts to head uphill and turns into 3 lanes.) Travel 2.6 miles on Road 2064 (red cinder road with turnoffs). You will see one large Metolius Preserve sign at ~1.75 miles: DO NOT TURN HERE. Continue straight on Road 2064, following the straight arrow on the sign. At the second Metolius Preserve sign (at 2.6 miles), turn right, following the arrow into the Preserve. Drive approximately 0.5 miles to the parking area.

    North Trailhead

    North Trailhead Coordinates (UTM NAD83): 604984, 4922115
    Download the driving directions in English and en Español.

    North Trailhead from Sisters:
    Drive 9.8 miles west of Sisters on Hwy 20/126. Take a right on Road 14 (Camp Sherman/Metolius River turnoff). Drive 2.6 miles on Road 14 until you come to a “Y.” Stay left (straight) at the “Y.” Continue on Road 1419 for another 2.2 miles until you reach a stop sign. Turn left at the stop sign onto Road 1216. Drive 1.4 miles and then take a left onto Road 600 at the large Metolius Preserve welcome sign. Drive approximately 0.25 miles to the parking area.