Backpacking in the Deschutes National Forest

Backpacking / Hiking in Central Oregon

Central Oregon has an endless number of hiking and backpacking trails in the Deschutes National Forest. The Pacific Crest Trail cuts through near South Sister and Mt. Bachelor. You can backpack into pristine lakes, lush meadows, and forested terrain. Search Deschutes National Forest for a comprehensive list of trails for day hiking or multi-day backpacking. A NW Forest Pass is required to park at the trailheads.

Passes are available at a number of outdoor stores in Bend.


green lakes

Backpacking into Green Lakes area below South Sister.



south sister summit


backpacking Deschutes National Forest

Backpacking in the Deschutes National Forest

Camping and backpacking in Central Oregon

Kids love camping in the forest!


backpacking rei

R.E.I. (Bend)

At REI, we love to get outside and play, and we know first-hand the importance of quality outdoor gear. We stand behind all our products with a 100% satisfaction guarantee, and we design our own line of award-winning REI brand gear and clothing. Whether you’re new to outdoor adventure or a seasoned pro, we gladly share our enthusiasm for our products—and the trails, slopes and waterways where we play.

 rock climbing mtn supply

Mountain Supply

Since opening our doors in 1980, Mountain Supply has been Bend’s local independent outdoor retailer.  Our mission has remained the same since we opened the store, and that is to serve the outdoor community by providing the best outdoor gear in the industry and knowledge to use it.  We offer a wide variety of outdoor equipment and apparel, from climbing and mountaineering to backpacking and backcountry skiing.

Our staff here at Mountain Supply are incredibly knowledgeable about the equipment we offer, and equally knowledgeable of our beautiful backyard here in Central Oregon.  We encourage you to bring us your questions whether they are gear or trail related, so that we may point you in the right direction.  If you find yourself out at Smith Rock and in need of a rest day, please come use our Wi-Fi and feel free to just hang out as long as you like.

backpacking gear fix

Gear Fix

Here at Gear Fix we sell quality used outdoor gear on consignment & pride ourselves on being your one stop fix it shop for all things outdoor.

Just because the gear is used, this ain’t no thrift store.  Our staff are experts in this gear and actually use it, so we can guide you or give you advice on anything we carry.  From bikes to skis to backpacks to hiking boots.  This is what we do.

We are also a full service repair shop for all your outdoor gear needs.  Climbing shoe resoles, mountaineering boots, backpacks, sleeping bags, zipper repairs, bike service, ski tunes.  This is where we like to “hang our hat” so to speak.

Patagonia of Bend

Welcome to Patagonia by Pandora’s Backpack, one of only a handful of locally owned Patagonia stores nationwide.


backpacking gear pedd

Gear Peddler

Since 2006 we have been shaped to accommodate the unique lifestyle that Bend has to offer. Within a community centered around the vast outdoor activities available, we supply gear to fit the occasion. We offer a complete line of outdoor gear at competitive prices. We are Oregon’s value driven outdoor store. Here you will find a mixture of items used and new, and the ability to order parts and accessories for your hobby-of-choice; snow, trail, river, or rock. Welcome to the Gear Peddler.



hiking and backpacking

Don’t know where to backpack while you’re here?  Check out these trails:

  • Green Lakes Trail –

    • Trailhead parking lot located just west of Mt. Bachelor on the Cascade Lakes Highway. About eight miles round trip to beautiful, sparkling lakes! This area is very popular, so go early to get a camp spot.

  • Doris Lake –

    • At Six Lakes Trailhead, off Cascade Lakes Hwy and across from Elk Lake Resort. Nice family hike to a beautiful lake. 2  1/2 miles in from highway.

  • Mirror Lakes –

    • Mirror Lakes Trailhead off of Cascade Lakes Hwy.

  • Lucky Lake –

    • A short 1  1/2 mile hike in from Cascade Lakes Hwy. Great for your little hiker.

  • Cliff Lake –
    • Seven miles in to a gorgeous, deep lake with a steep cliff on one side. Campsites down below as well as on top of the cliff. Six Lakes Trailhead located across the highway from Elk Lake Resort on Cascade Lakes Highway.

  • South Sister –
    • 12 1/2 miles round trip. Leave early for a day hike up. Only those in good condition should attempt this hike. Can camp at Moraine Lake on the way up… 1  3/4 miles in.

    • Trail can be accessed at either the Green Lakes Trailhead or Devil’s Lake Trailhead off of Cascade Lakes Hwy.

Devll's lake backpacking

Devil’s Lake on the Cascade Lakes Hwy.

backpacking at mirror lakes

Backpacking on the Mirror Lakes Trail near Mt. Bachelor.

The 10 Essentials for Survival in the wilderness:

When It Comes To Outdoor Recreation In Central Oregon, Your Life Is In Your Hands.

Taking A Few Simple Precautions‚ could save your LIFE!

DID YOU KNOW…  Each year, more than 400 recreational outdoor enthusiasts are reported missing or injured in the State of Oregon? The worst thing you can do is assume that it won’t happen to you.

Proper planning before a trip and a healthy respect for nature can save your life! Whether it’s an overnighter in the wilderness or an afternoon just ‘off the beaten path’, the outdoors can be very unforgiving. What was fun can quickly become a life-threatening situation.

The 10 Essentials for Survival

There is no way you can pack for every contingency, but it is better to be over-prepared than under-prepared. Your 10 Essentials Survival Kit should reflect the season and conditions which you might encounter. Always carry these basics:

  1. NAVIGATION: A USGS or equal topo map, a properly declinated (16 degrees locally) base plate compass, along with the knowledge of how to use them together. A simple GPS can also be quite useful as long as you’re familiar with how to use it and the batteries aren’t dead. A watch and cell phone should also be carried.
  2. SUN PROTECTION: Sunglasses, sunscreen, hat (for hot OR cold, summer or winter weather)
  3. INSULATION: The MOST important consideration: NO cotton clothing! Carry synthetic or wool layers, waterproof/windproof rain jacket/ pants; extra gloves/hat, and extra socks as required. Wear layers of clothing to adjust insulation to activity level and current weather. Stay dry to decrease the risk of hypothermia (which can be life-threatening).
  4. ILLUMINATION: Headlamp or flashlight, with extra batteries.
  5. FIRST-AID SUPPLIES: Basic supplies such as Band-aids, gauze pads, triangular and compression bandages, etc. Include any medications you may currently be taking and a bee sting kit if you are allergic.
  6. FIRE: Waterproof matches, butane lighter or candle stubs, plus fire-starting materials (paste, etc.). Do NOT depend on making a fire in bad weather!
  7. REPAIR KIT/TOOLS: Multi-tool (Gerber®, Leatherman®, Swiss Army knife, etc.), Duct tape. Don’t carry what you don’t need.
  8. NUTRITION: High energy, no-cook foods, such as high-carb energy bars. Carry at least 200 calories for every hour you will be out.
  9. HYDRATION: Extra water; take at least (1) liter for short outings and at least 2.5 liters for all-day excursions. Remember that extra water will be needed for hot or cold weather, drink continuously during your outing. Don’t wait until you are dehydrated!
  10. EMERGENCY SHELTER: A Space blanket or bright plastic tarp (9’ x 12’) and a few large plastic trash bags. Bring something to insulate you from the ground, regardless of the time of year. You cannot dig a snow cave without a shovel, and you should not sit/sleep on snow without an insulating pad. (Compiled based on info from The Mountaineers,

Additional Recommended Items

The Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office Search and Rescue Team also recommends carrying the following items, in addition to The Ten Essential Systems:

  • A whistle and/or mirror (for signaling, etc.)
  • A small length of lashing cord (shelter building)
  • A metal container w/lid (boiling water)

Info provided from Deschutes County Search and Rescue. Go to for more info.