Vida, in the state of Oregon, is on the MacKenzie Highway about 40km east of Eugene. It is home to just under 900 inhabitants.
Its claim to fame is Goodpasture bridge, but it is probably the promise of some excellent river fishing and hiking trails, rather than the historical value of the bridge that has led to the development of a small but perfectly formed tourist hub, with bars, restaurants and a couple of B&B’s to keep the visitors happy and the locals in employment.
However the bridge does deserve a mention as it is the second longest covered bridge in the whole state of Oregon and in 1979 was added to the USA’s National Register of Historic places. Historically it was an important crossing of the MacKenzie River but nowdays it is the rural beauty of the area that makes it worth the journey.
The Vida Cafe has a couple of enthusiastic reviews on TripAdvisor – perfect if you are staying at one of the Heaven’s Gate River Cottages built along the river bank.
Eagle Rock Lodge is a small hotel with an excellent reputation for dining and weddings too. It also hosts its own annual wooden boat festival each April when both new and historic McKenzie drift boats are displayed. For the fishermen there are casting demonstrations and fly tying workshops.
The Mackenzie River is world renowned for Trout and Steelhead fishing and guides for fishing excursions can be arranged by Tight Lines Oregon & Idaho Fishing.
Alternatively, if the only fish you want to see are on your plate for your evening meal then you can also take to the river for a more scenic tour. Of course where there are trout there is white water and there are some great white water rafter trips to be enjoyed too.
Away from the river, there are plenty of hiking trails. The Mackenzie River at Vida flows through the Cascade Ranges and nearby National Parks include Willamette National Forest and the Three Sisters Wilderness offer some great wilderness experiences. But trails are on your doorstep in Vida too: close to hand there is the Terwilliger Hot Springs trail which is an easy one mile out and back trail, accessible all year, which ends in some delightful hot springs.
Getting to Vida is easy by bus – it is stop 6 on the 91: Mackenzie River Ranger Station to Eugene route.
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