Camp Sherman offers adventures and activities for everyone in the family.
Camp Sherman was established in the early 1890s by wheat farmers from Sherman County looking to escape the summer heat by lounging by the cool waters of the Metolius River. Since they first tacked up a shoebox sign declaring this area their own summer camp, not much has changed.
The small community off Highway 20, only forty-five minutes by car from Bend, is home to a few lodgings, a tiny school, a fire station, a couple of restaurants, one store and loads of charm. This area is one of the few remaining places where one still cannot get reliable cell reception, which is what soothes and relaxes the tech-addled visitor, once they give into the situation.
Sometimes my family and I overnight in a campground or cabin to the yips of a pack of excitable coyotes howling at the moon. Come dawn, we awake to cool mountain-air mornings, the sweet smells of Ponderosa pine and snowbrush and pink sunrises promising sunny days. But Camp Sherman is an equally terrific day trip.
Begin your exploration at the Camp Sherman store, which is stocked with a huge variety of goods from sun-proof clothing to fine wine to canned soup. Pick up a picnic lunch and eat outside with a view of the Metolius. Stroll down the river trail after lunch and get a glimpse of some of the area’s campgrounds and the pristine river, known for its wild rainbow and elusive bull trout, a two-fer that draws fly-fishing anglers year-round to the fabled waters.
If you’ve never picked up a fly rod in your life, you can still marvel at the Metolius River, which springs literally from underground, or as it appears, from a rocky hillside. Drive to its headwaters a few miles from Camp Sherman to see the river’s perpetual rebirth. The site is accessed by a short quarter-mile trail with a killer view of Mount Jefferson. Expect to encounter a mighty band of yellow pine chipmunks accustomed to dining on visitors’ treats.
Also accustomed to bite-sized morsels delivered by human hands are the fish at the Wizard Falls Fish Hatchery, the birthplace of six varieties of fish. Fish food from a vending machine can be tossed in a long cement pool to trout and kokanee, which ambitiously leap and swipe at the scattered bits.
End your day with dinner under the pines on the deck at Lake Creek Lodge, which feels as peaceful and quaint as it likely did years ago when the first visitors relaxed here. You can just see a glimpse of the sunset on the Three Sisters.