Winter 2023 - Phoenix/Talent, from tragedy to revival

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Pack The Bags - Oregon Cliff House

A Glorious Getaway

A magical gathering place on the McKenzie River

Story by Heidi Chackel

Photography by Jerry Clarkson and Mary Catherine Kozusko


My husband should moonlight as a travel agent; at least this is what I told him after last weekend, and I think our family and friends would agree. He truly hit a grand slam on our latest adventure, literally and figuratively. Especially since our recent destination is so easily accessible from Southern Oregon, I simply must share this amazing place with all of you.

In the literal sense, he really did hit a grand slam to win one of the many games of whiffle ball that were played over our 40th birthday celebration. And figuratively, the place he hooked us up with was a grand slam in every sense—location, activities, accessibility, amenities, views and cost.

He and I both turned 40 this year, he in August and myself in September. Our birthday present to each other was a four-day celebration with our family and friends in attendance. We spent a lot of time hashing over location ideas with no success until he came across The Oregon Cliff House while searching the web on a business trip. I immediately received a phone call where he excitedly shared, “I found it; the perfect place for our party!” Thankfully it was still available over Labor Day Weekend, so we were off and running.

The Oregon Cliff House is a vacation rental located along the McKenzie River near Vida, Oregon—a place easily accessible by car from anywhere in Oregon. It sleeps 12 people total, inside. Six in the main house, which contains three bedrooms and two bathrooms and six more in the guest house, which has three more queen beds and another bathroom. In addition, there is also a camping area. Surprisingly, we filled the entire place and even had a handful of day visitors on Sunday. Outdoor sinks and portable toilets accompany the grounds, although most of our guests ventured inside the main house and guest house to share those accommodations.

There is no staff on site—no maids, hostess or caretaker. The place is entirely yours; you can bring everything in you want and haul everything out (except your garbage!). The kitchen is modern and fully equipped. Several barbecues are also available and stocked with propane and brickets. The bathrooms are filled with clean towels and toiletries, there are 2 washers and 2 dryers, and there are ample parking spaces (we even had one family bring their camping trailer). It is completely fenced in, with a locking gate as well. This was important, as we had many children running around.

Now on to the good stuff. The Oregon Cliff House is set right on the McKenzie River with wading and fly-fishing access. We caught fish every day. The views are absolutely stunning from multiple decks high above the river, including the deck boasting a six-person hot tub. There is plenty of patio furniture to enjoy the views as well as a full standup heater for those colder nights. Lights decorate the railings as well as the trees above; all seemed to be controlled by a timer. There are stairs, descending through a gate in the fence that deposits you on the riverbank where there are also two hammocks for those lazy day naps.

We have a very active group and what really stood out about The Oregon Cliff House was the many activities available. First and foremost was a full whiffle ball stadium. Yep, that’s right, a stadium with a home run fence, backstop, dugouts, big league bases, a grass field with base cut outs, a pitcher’s mound and even two impressive 30ft foul posts. It was awesome and was utilized by our group several times each day. In fact, it was the first thing used after arriving, and the last activity before departing. Almost everyone participated, although we did lose two adults along the way with a pulled hamstring and a sore elbow. It is tough getting old! People just couldn’t put that bat down. Even the three-year-old whacked away. Bats and ball are provided.

A badminton net is permanently set up, where we played many small games of badminton and large games of volleyball. Corn hole tournaments were another favorite as well as games in a beautiful horseshoe pit sporting sparkling granite tiles. We also rented a bouncy house for the kids one afternoon, which was a huge hit. The site is huge, with room for all of these activities and more. Most everyone stayed on-site the entire weekend, but a few traveled a quick 30 minutes up the road for a spectacular hike around Sahalie Falls.

The evenings were fantastic, with two fire pits, a dance floor and a stage. We hired entertainment for three of the nights, including a trio guitar band and a trio jazz band. There really is nothing like dancing under the stars with your own private concert. There is also an outdoor, covered bar for you to stock and serve from, located near the dance floor and stage. The fire pits utilize wood, which is all supplied for you in the wood shed, and even though it rained a few times during our stay we had no trouble getting one lit.

Cooking was definitely a chore for that many people, but with everyone’s help no one person was stuck cooking or cleaning for too long. The kitchen is fantastic and the multiple barbecues and warmers available made the process that much easier. While the dining room and kitchen only seat a total of 13 people between both rooms, there is ample seating throughout The Oregon Cliff House. Additional tables and chairs are available if requested prior to arrival.  

The Oregon Cliff House was everything we hoped it would be and more. Everyone had a fantastic time and the group was already planning our next stay there before even leaving the grounds. Whether you are planning your next family reunion, birthday party, or just a large get together, The Oregon Cliff House is the perfect spot. No matter the age, people will truly enjoy their stay.


The Oregon Cliff House


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