Adventures in Maupin
Tucked down in a little pocket of Central Oregon is the unique little town of Maupin. I have to admit, and I’m a little ashamed, that in my 20 years of living in Central Oregon I have never visited. If you’re headed between Bend and another destination to the north it’s easy to miss taking the detour down into this hamlet deep in the Deschutes River Canyon.
Straddling the border between what we think of as the Central Oregon area and the greater Columbia Gorge zone, Maupin and Tygh Valley are easy to overlook as a recreational destination but that comes at your own detriment because what this corner of the state lacks in size, it makes up for in opportunity.
Many folks may well recognize Maupin as a premier Deschutes fly fishing destination. This activity makes up the bulk of the year-round tourism that comes to the area with whitewater rafters making up the bulk of the summer crowds.
On the weekend that my family and I visited the leaves were just starting to pop out, the wildflowers were blooming, and it felt like spring on the Deschutes. We were still several weeks away from spring in Bend so it was a great way to get a taste of milder weather. It wasn’t yet warm enough to float the river so we took advantage of the small crowds to try our hand at fly-casting at the Imperial River Co from one of their world-class guides, Phil.
Phil worked with my whole family, including an 8yr old and an 11yr old, on their technique until they were bored and I could get a little of Phil’s time to get my technique sound enough to feel like I could actually cast into the river. Now I have a new hobby and so much to learn.
Then it was off to explore Tygh Valley and White River Falls State Park. Both of these are part of a 26mi scenic drive that also makes up part of a scenic bike loop. The State Park provided us with a short hike to stunning waterfalls and a swimming hole that we will be headed back to when the weather warms a bit. We finished up the scenic loop with a drive down the River Road back to our room at the Imperial River Co. This would be a fantastic cycle loop…or running route, so I did just that. I didn’t get in the full 26 miles but I did get in a great 10 mile run along the river before dinner.
After a day full of activities I was polling all the locals I could find for where we should eat dinner. All of them said “The Riverside”. So, The Riverside it was, and we were not disappointed. I didn’t even know a Manhattan Sandwich was a thing. Apparently, it is, and I’d say they know how to do it right.
For such a small little town we found out that a weekend wasn’t enough. We barely scratched the surface of what Maupin has to offer. With such a variety of activities from fly fishing, to cycling, rafting, and history tours, there is a good reason for a visit for every season. Next time you find yourself headed North from Bend, take a slight detour down Hwy 197 into the Deschutes River Canyon. You won’t be disappointed.
Story by Max King