Experience Bend Like a LOCAL
Experience Bend like a LOCAL.
You probably know Bend, Oregon is an outdoors town. Chances are you are visiting Bend to experience some of the best mountain biking around or the best rock climbing routes at Smith Rock State Park, or to experience world-class fly fishing opportunities. Maybe you are looking to buy a house here…or maybe you have heard so much about Bend that you just had to come experience it yourself.
Sure, you can go mountain biking, white water rafting, rock climbing, walking along the river trails, skiing at Mt. Bachelor, fly fishing on the Metolius River…all the usual “outdoors town” things to do – and love every minute of it. These are all things us locals like to do, too. But there is so much more to Bend than you probably know. There are fun outdoor areas to explore, unique activities to try, and interesting food to experience.
There are little “pockets” of areas in and around Bend that are fun to explore and are off the tourist beaten path. Here’s a little sampling…
Sawyer Park –
This park is located just off OB Riley Road across from the Bend River Promenade. You would not even know it is there. Park in the paved lot and walk down to the big steel footbridge. Cross the bridge and walk north along the river path. One of my favorite spots is to sit on one of the smooth lava rocks in the river. Due to heavy chipmunk/ground squirrel activity (please DON’T FEED the animals!), I scramble across the rocks towards the middle of the river – just out of reach from the pesky little furballs so that I can enjoy my lunch in peace. This part of the river is never crowded. It’s peaceful and beautiful.
Deschutes River Trail at Farewell Bend Park –
Ok, you probably already know about this trail as it is very popular and accessible from the Old Mill District. However, there are little pockets along the river trail that are worth exploring. If you’ve walked the 3-mile loop, crossing the footbridge at the south end of the trail, have you noticed some of the trails leading off the main path towards the river? Check them out. Each one offers a unique little pocket area that is fun to explore or have a moment in peace without a lot of traffic.
Skyliner Sno-Park –
Take Skyliner Road just west of downtown (Galveston Avenue turns into Skyliner Road) and go about 10 miles. After passing Skyliner Sno-Park on your left, keep going and drive over the bridge. Park here and find a nice little gravel beach on the right side. This is Tumalo Creek flowing down from the beautiful Tumalo Falls – just up the dirt road to your left about 2 miles. You can also find more little pockets along the river as you head towards the falls. Skyliner Sno-Park has mountain biking trails and hiking trails that tie into Phil’s Trail Mountain Bike Complex. The trail up beyond the falls (North Fork Trail) is spectacular with waterfall after waterfall. Mostly uphill, but well worth it.
Deschutes River Trail behind the Entrada Lodge off of Century Drive –
There are many sections of the Deschutes River Trail and hopefully someday they will all connect. This well-known local’s trail heads out behind the Entrada Lodge and leads down to the Deschutes River where you can actually follow it all the way to Sunriver (about 12 miles). Again, not a very crowded trail – mostly locals – and gorgeous scenery.
If you are looking to find some relaxation next to a flowing river without a lot of people, these are the spots. Bring a picnic, water, sunscreen, and something to sit on. Please keep these areas free of trash, respect our beautiful parks, and please DON’T FEED the ducks, geese, squirrels, deer, mountain lions, or bear. (Ok, the last two are rare sightings). ALSO, DOGS MUST BE ON LEASH AT ALL TIMES. Thanks!
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