A day exploring the Bull Run Watershed

My sister and I went along on one of the Bull Run Watershed tours offered through the Portland Water Bureau. It was really interesting and beautiful. We learned all about the watershed and how it works and got to see an area of the Mt. Hood National Forest that few people get to see. We entered the watershed at the upper end, from Lolo Pass Road, working our day down Road 10 all the way to the other end below the two reservoirs.

Our first stop was Bull Run Lake, which is almost directly south of Lost Lake and has a similarly astounding view. If this lake was open to the public, I’m sure it would be as popular as nearby Lost Lake.

Ah, how lovely

Further down, we stopped at Reservoir 1, one of two reservoirs from which Portland’s drinking water is extracted.

Like Hoover Dam

We also got to walk down several hundred stairs along the downstream side of the dam. Fortunately we didn’t have to climb back up; our tour bus met us at the bottom.

Going down

Speaking of the tour bus, the Water Bureau has a pretty snazzy rig for taking people around the watershed. Comfy seats, AC, and a toilet. And it has recently been decorated with the artwork of a Portland elementary school student.

Our tour bus

See the rest of my pictures here.

If you’ve never been on one of these tours, I highly recommend it. It’s a pretty long day (we left Portland at 8:30 am and returned at 5 pm), but it’s interesting information and if you’re curious what this closed-to-the-public area is like, this is your chance to see it. Well, part of it anyways. I just know there are hidden – maybe undiscovered – waterfalls tucked away in those hills. We actually saw one waterfall from the road, along Falls Creek, I think. But as long as the area remains a protected watershed, they shall have to remain hidden away.