A great spot to cool off on a hot summer day, the Blowout Creek arm of Detroit Lake Reservoir in the Willamette National Forest is popular among boaters, rope swingers, and bridge-cliff divers. According to Oregon Historical Society, Blowout Creek was named because of a “great landslide nearby resembling a blowout of the mountainside”.
If you travel by car, a quarter mile hike from the parking area is required. A beaten path runs down through the beautiful coniferous forest to a suspension footbridge, rising about 50 feet above the water surface (depends on the water level). The first version of this bridge was built in the 1950’s during the Detroit Dam Construction.
The wooden-steel 170-foot bridge stretches across the narrow deep canyon of the Blowout Creek – the south inlet of the Detroit Lake. The trail to the Blowout Bridge is a remnant of the old Volcano Trail that earlier connected the Little North Fork Santiam River and the Quartzville Creek. Throughout the time, new roads construction and logging work destroyed once developed trail system including the Volcano Trail. This trail runs just over the bridge on the right-hand side and soon disappears. For this reason, the Blowout Footbridge is called the Bridge to Nowhere.
On the left of the bridge, there is the steep and slippery path down to the white scree slopes - cliff jumping and rope swinging spot. This place can be challenging and not recommended for kids. More convenient swimming may take place on the right side of the bridge.
Narrow and deep gorge below the bridge is a favorite place for the bridge divers. The depth under the bridge in August 2018 was 30 feet (may vary). Check out before jumping. The clear emerald-green water is typically warm in the peak of the summer season.
Cautions: Cliff jumping and slippery rocks are associated with risks, please use caution and make safe decisions.
No garbage service is available on the site. Please pack it out.
Access allowed: All year from dawn until dusk
Walking distance: 0.25 miles
Day-use fees: None
Dogs: Must be on a leash
Usage: Light to Moderate
Southshore Campground - 3 miles
Cove Creek Campground - 4 miles
Location: Willamette National Forest
Managed: US Forest Service, US Army Corps of Engineers
Blowout Creek Recreation Area is located:
- 62 miles east of Salem
- 84 miles west of Bend
- 107 miles southeast of Portland
- 111 miles northeast of Eugene.
Elevation: 1,600 ft (488 m)
Water body: River, reservoir
Water quality: Transparent
Blue-green algae can be present
Depth: Deep and shallow
Beach: Scree and rocks
Water T° (summer): Cool to warm
No overnight camping
- Head east on Highway 22
- Just before milepost 53, turn right on Blowout Road and drive down 6.6 miles to a fork Blowout Road and Forest Road 060
- Bear right and continue 0.8 miles on FR 060 to the parking area.
It takes about 10 minutes (0.25 miles) to hike from the parking to Blowout suspension bridge and swimming area.