Saturday, September 7, 2013

There's Lots to Enjoy on the Deschutes River Trail System

Bend, OR is a recreation lovers dream city. Both within city limits and for many miles around there are miles and miles of trails for walking, running, hiking, biking, plus loads of places to get onto rivers and lakes. In this post we take a look at two aspects of the Deschutes River Trail System.

Urban River Trails

Population has exploded in Bend in the last 20 - 30 years and as you head out from the center of town you can easily see all the new development that has taken place. Though it seems the city is having a hard time keeping up with the concurrent explosion in traffic, they have done an excellent job of incorporating walking/biking trails throughout the new (and existing) metropolitan areas.

Here are some photos from our three mile walk along the river near the Old Mill District. If you walk in this area you can include stops for food and drink, shopping, movies, concerts and more.

This sculpture was made out of all sorts of metal scrap.

The smoke stacks are the remains of one of the mills that fueled the growth of Bend in the early 1900's.
It is now an anchor building for a shopping/dining/entertainment complex right on the river.

Art on the back of the outdoor concert venue.
There were lots of Canada Geese on the river...these three were putting on a synchronized swimming show!

Natural Trails along the Wild and Scenic River

Next we rode our mountain bikes on the gorgeous seven mile stretch of river from Lava Island Falls to Benham Falls and back. The trail is hard packed dirt single track and would be suitable for hybrid bikes. There's just a little up and down and I only had to hike-a-bike a couple of times for a very short distance. This trail is shared by hikers, bikers and dogs on leash and can be crowded on the weekends due to close proximity to town. This link gives a little detail on riding along the river.

We liked this ride so much I've created a new label named "Favorite"! Now I'll have to go back through all the posts and label our other "Favorites"! The scenic beauty combined with the enjoyable riding conditions were awesome.

We were within sight of the river almost the entire ride.
At the far end of the photo you can see a wall of lava. 

The trail is mostly the smooth, hard packed dirt you see Hans riding on here.
The trail goes in and out of the forest.
We got to see the wild side of the Deschutes during this ride.
Here it's channeled through a lava chute.

Looking across this meadow we could just barely see Mt Bachelor peeking
over the trees and the nearer mountains.
Benham Falls was another lava chute.

There are many more miles to hike or ride along the Deschutes, some right in town, others just a few miles down the road. We highly recommend this trail system!


  1. We definitely need to get back to that area. Stayed at Little Crater Campground in Newberry Volcanic NM for a couple days but only drove through Bend.
    That looks like our kind of bike trail!

  2. Good to see you are enjoying Bend. That looked like a wonderful bike trail. Any time you can ride along water is a great ride. Can't wait to see what else you find during your month stay!

  3. Good to see you are enjoying Bend. That looked like a wonderful bike trail. Any time you can ride along water is a great ride. Can't wait to see what else you find during your month stay!

  4. I almost feel like I am reading about my hometown as that is our eventual plan. Not sure which river trail you hiked, but there is a five mile loop along the Deschutes that starts in town as well.

    I am sure you plan to go out to Smith Rock. It's a great day trip that you can end with a stop for refreshments at Smith Rock Brewery.

    Other favorites of ours are Jackson's Corner for breakfast, lunch, or dinner and the Sparrow Bakery for special treats.

  5. love the metal sculpture, river chute, and bike trail! Keep up the good reporting!
    Box Canyon Mark

  6. I really like Bend. The Deschutes forest system trails are good. So are the ones in Sisters. Smith Rock is fun, we enjoyed Misery Ridge and then the flat stroll back along the river. Your weather looks really good. June this year was very disappointing. Great photos as always. Love your new label.

  7. Great photos....they are making me antsy to pick up our speed in our travels. Won't be long and we'll be departing CO for our southern migration. I'm thoroughly enjoying your posts and taking notes for next summers journey...we won't be recovering from a move, thank goodness, and will hopefully have a lot more energy for lengthy hikes and travels!