From leisurely walks by the river to demanding full-day hikes, there’s
a Central Oregon Hiking Trail for every adventurer
Pilot Butte State Park
Easy/Moderate – 2-mile loop (nature trail and scenic viewpoint)
Head east on Highway 20 (Greenwood Avenue) to the Pilot Butte State Park. The parking area and trailhead are just east of the butte. Walk on either the nature trail or the paved road. The road is also for vehicle traffic, weather permitting. It is a wonderful viewpoint for the entire Bend area. This hiking trail is one of the most popular in Central Oregon.
Robert W. Sawyer Park
Easy – 45.2-acre park (nature park)
A large park stretching along both sides of the Deschutes River. Formerly a state park dedicated to the District in 1980. The park is connected by a hiking trail to Sawyer Uplands Neighborhood Park and River Glenn Natural Area. A footbridge over the river leads to the Deschutes River Trail and connections to First Street Rapids Park, Sawyer Uplands Park, and Archie Briggs Natural Area. The site is adjacent to the River’s Edge golf course. The park has a mix of mature pine and juniper. It is a popular viewing site for migratory and riparian birds and is listed on the Oregon Cascade Birding Tour route. The picnic site is spread out making it ideal for small to medium size groups.
Easy – 1.75 miles
Beginning near the Bend Senior Center. This stretch of the trail meanders along an open canal in southeast Bend. You will see wildlife, juniper trees, rabbitbrush and alpine current. Dog stations are at each end of the trail This 1.75-mile trail ends at Pilot Butte State Park on Hwy. 20.
Shevlin Park – Canyon Rim Loop
Easy – 2.2 miles
Shevlin Park is a haven located less than three miles from downtown Bend and a perfect location for hiking, jogging, fishing, cross-country skiing and picnicking. There is an extensive trail and pathway system providing for both summer and winter uses. From Highway 97 in Bend turn west on Greenwood. It becomes Newport Avenue in downtown Bend. Follow Newport out for about 3 miles. You will see parking areas on both sides of the road. Aspen Hall is on the right and the main part of the park is on the left. The paved road through the park leads to several different picnic areas as well as trails.
Deschutes River Trail
Easy/Moderate – 3 miles
The quintessential Central Oregon Hiking Trail, this one starts in Bend with many access points and parking areas. It winds its way along the Deschutes River, passing through Bend, Meadow Camp and behind the Seventh Mountain Resort. You will see a series of waterfalls including Lava Island, Big Eddy, Dillon and finally Benham Falls. Turning west at the Lava Lands Visitor Center also provides access to this trail. Follow the road on your left for approximately 3 miles to the picnic area. Walk across the footbridge for an easy half-mile walk to Benham Falls. The degree of difficulty is low and provides spectacular scenery of untamed rapids.
Easy – 3 miles out and back
Five miles north of Sunriver, this hiking trail provides a spectacular scene of untamed rapids. From Bend follow Highway 97 south 11 miles and turn right at the Lava Lands Visitor Center. Follow the road on your left for approximately 3 miles to the parking and picnic area. Walk across the footbridge. Benham Falls is an easy half-mile walk down the road along the river. This trail continues for many miles passing by Dillon Falls and Lava Island Falls. Benham, Dillon, and Lava Island Falls also have parking areas accessible via Forest Service Rd 41, just past the Inn of the Seventh Mountain. Day-Use Permit is required*
Lava Cast Forest
Bend / Sunriver
Easy– 1 mile
Travel south on Highway 97. Turn East on Forest Service Road 9720-directly across the highway from the Sunriver exit. This is an unpaved road, which goes nearly 9 miles to the parking area at the Lava Cast Forest. The trail is an easy, paved, nine-tenths of a mile, which wanders through many examples of 7000-year-old lava tree cast formations. This road is snow-covered in winter. Day-Use Permit is required*
Lava River Cave
Bend / Sunriver
Easy – 1 mile
Thirteen miles south of Bend on Highway 97 on the east side of the road is the largest un-collapsed lava tube in the state. It is about a mile in length and 100 feet deep in spots. The sandy bottom makes it an easy hike, and the Forest Service will rent lanterns to you for a small fee. There is a nominal entrance fee as well. The cave is closed from late fall through mid-April due to the hibernation of resident bats. Day-Use Permit is required*
Newberry Obsidian Trail
Easy – 1 mile
Head south on Highway 97, approximately 22 miles, turn east at the East Lake and Paulina Lake sign. Continue about 15-miles to the obsidian flow. This is one of the largest obsidian flows in the world, formed about 1300 years ago during the most recent eruption of Newberry Volcano. Day-Use Permit is required*
Easy – 6 to 8.5 miles
The Ogden National Recreation Trail will take you along Paulina Creek, with no fewer than 20 waterfalls. Travel south on Hwy 97 about 22 miles to Paulina and East Lake. Go east, about 1.5 miles to trailhead parking. The trail is 8.5 miles long (each way), accessible from McKay Crossing Campground, which shortens the trip by 2.5 miles. The parking area is on the east end of this hiking trail from the viewpoint at Paulina Falls. Day-Use Permit is required*
Moderate – 5.5 miles
Tumalo Falls is a photographers dream. Lush forest, cascading water, easy access for all your gear. From Hwy 97 in Bend, turn west on Franklin. Follow the Scenic Highway through downtown Bend along Drake Park. Turn right on Galveston at the west end of the park, and follow this road out for eleven miles. Turn right over the bridge. The pavement ends but the road continues for an additional 3 miles to a parking area at the falls. There is a very short hiking trail up to the falls, which connects to some of the snow park areas and other trails. Road closed in winter Day-Use Permit is required*
Mt. Bachelor Summit Trail
Easy/Moderate – 2.5 miles
Drive west on Cascade Lakes Highway for approximately 18 miles to Mt Bachelor’s first entrance at Sunrise Lodge. The 2.5-mile trail to the top of Mt. Bachelor is accessible in Summer and Fall and starts from the Sunrise Lodge area.
The trail begins just west of the Sunrise chairlift and winds around through the trees. The top portion of the trail above the top of Sunrise chair goes through the lava rock itself and has beautiful open views of Broken Top and the Three Sisters. From the top, at 9065 feet, you can see nearly all of the Cascade Range to the North, and the nearby lakes along the Cascade Lakes National Scenic Byway.
Green Lakes Trail
Easy/Moderate – 9 miles out and back
The Green Lakes hiking trail has its own parking lot across from the Sparks Lake meadow with a wonderful view of the north side of Mt. Bachelor. The trail winds along the Fall Creek through large pine trees and fields of lupine. You will see lots of small waterfalls. Follow the trail for 4.5 miles up to the Green Lakes, or cut off to the west after about 2 miles on the Moraine Lake trail, which is another couple of miles long. There is access to the South Sister Trail from the Green Lakes area.
Todd Lake Trail
Easy – about 2 miles
This popular route is the closest Cascade Lakes hiking trail to town, located just past Mt. Bachelor on the Cascade Lakes Scenic Byway. The trail is an easy walk around the lake with spectacular views of Mt. Bachelor along the way.
Ray Atkeson Memorial Trail
Easy- 2.3-mile loop
Located at Sparks Lake, this trail is another easy hiking trail for folks of all ages. It takes you through some pretty cool lava rock flows that include sheer walls and deep chasms. If you take the trail clockwise, the best views of Sparks Lake and South Sister are waiting for you at the end.
Easy/Moderate – Routes ranging from 5 to 15 miles
The Badlands wilderness area east of Bend is a great place to explore the Central Oregon Desert. Take Hwy 20 east about 20 miles. Turn north at the gravel pit, follow the road to the parking area.
Smith Rock State Park
Easy to Difficult – Varying routes and lengths
This area is a must-see in Central Oregon. Drive north on Highway 97 through Redmond to Terrebonne. Turn right (east) at the flashing light. Turn left on NE 1st Street and proceed 2 miles, turning left at the state park signs. The park is another 0.7 miles. The picnic area has beautiful views of the rock formations where people from all over the world come to climb. Numerous hiking trails suitable for everyone follow the river down into the Crooked River Canyon. The Misery Ridge hiking trail is a little tougher but well worth the walk. Day-Use Permit is required*
Suttle Lake Trail | Near Black Butte Ranch
Easy – 3 miles
Suttle Lake is just a few miles west of Black Butte Ranch, and about 15 miles west of Sisters. Follow the signs off Highway 20 to Suttle Lake Resort, then to the Day Use area on the NE corner of the lake. The trail goes right along the lake through the backyard of someone’s campsite with plenty of access points. The hiking trail offers unrivaled mountain scenery.
Black Butte Trail | Black Butte Ranch
Moderate – 2 miles
This hiking trail is 2 miles long going to the lookout station on top of Black Butte, at 6436 feet. The trail winds through open timber with wonderful views of the Three Sisters and Broken Top on the way up. On a clear day you can see nearly the entire Cascades Range! Take Highway 20 from Bend through Sisters to Forest Service Road 1110, near the Indian Ford Campground. Follow signs to the trail. Day-Use Permit required*
Head Of Jack Creek | Near Sisters
Easy – 3 miles
Travel west on Hwy 20 through Sisters, approximately 15 miles. Turn north on Forest Service Road 12, for about 1.5 miles and then turn left on FS Road 1232. It is about 1 mile to the trailhead. This hiking trail loops through the headwater springs. Day-Use Permit required*
Metolius River Trail | Near Black Butte Ranch
Easy – 12 miles
This is an excellent year-round hiking trail and several starting points are accessible. Huge artesian wells, the source of the Metolius River, and further downstream is the Wizard Falls Fish Hatchery. One trailhead starts from the Canyon Creek Campground off Forest Service Road 1420. You can also start at the Wizard Falls Hatchery. Total distance to Bridge 99 is three miles. Day-Use Permit required*
Dee Wright Memorial Trail | Near Sisters
Easy – .5 miles
Located at McKenzie Pass on Highway 242, 15 miles west of Sisters. Beautiful view of the Cascade Mountains with a paved hiking trail through one of the most recent lava flows in the United States. The trail is about a half-mile long with interpretive signs along the path. It is closed in the winter.
For Additional Information Contact:
Central Oregon Welcome Center 541-389-8799
Lava Lands Visitor Center 541-593-2421
Bend-Ft. Rock Ranger District 541-383-4000
Sisters Ranger District 541-549-7700
Oregon State Parks 541-388-6055
Bend Parks & Recreation 541-389-7275
Fishing License, Fish & Wildlife 541-388-6363
Road Conditions, ODOT 800-977-6368
More inspiring stories, adventures, and tips & tricks for planning and experiencing the best Central Oregon has to offer.
Favorite Year-Round Mountain Bike Spots
When winter comes and the snow falls, some of Central Oregon’s popular mountain biking trails become a little too muddy to ride – which means some of the unheralded spots in the region get a little more love. Places like Smith Rock can get scorching hot (and quite crowded) in the summer making it a great spot to head come winter. Want some good locals tips on where to ride? Ask the folks at Hutch’s Bicycles, Pine Mountain Sports or The Hub Cyclery for the 4-1-1, or set up a tour with Cog Wild Mountain Bike Tours and Shuttles.
Newberry Crater: Ancient Attraction is an Activity Hub
It’s hard to believe, but 25 years ago, the volcanic features that make up Newberry National Volcanic Monument weren’t protected. If it wasn’t for a group of concerned Central Oregonians, the monument wouldn’t exist. “In the late 80s, at the time, the collaborative process we see today for land-use planning just wasn’t as common.
Central Oregon Golf: Best Par 3s
Play a good golf course and chances are that when you’re back at the 19th hole, you’re talking about the Par 3s. The short one you made double on. The bear where you snaked in a 20-footer for your only birdie all month. They’re the “short” holes that can make or break a round. Some of the signature holes on the Central Oregon Golf Trail are Par 3s. Here’s a look at some of the best.
Hiking Black Butte – Central Oregon’s Iconic & Majestic Cinder Cone
From a distance, Black Butte looks like it doesn’t quite match the picturesque alpine mountains that surround it. The volcanic rock that emerges above the tree line gives the impression of a hill constructed with loose stones that was carelessly dropped in the middle of the woods. Unlike the Cascades that puncture the horizon to the west and north, Black Butte can be hiked and enjoyed in under four hours.
Adventures Abound Starting at Sunriver Resort
Sunriver is the type of place that takes your breath away no matter what season it is. During the summer you can hop on a horse for your very own wild wild west experience. The team at Sunriver Stables will make you feel comfortable on your ride, even if you’ve never saddled up before. Whether you’re in a tube or a kayak, floating down the Deschutes River is a relaxing activity that’s fun for the whole family.
Casual Family Weekend in Sunriver
Imagine this: you’re riding your bike through a rolling meadow, the Cascade mountain range in the background, and the only sound is from the whir of a prop plane taking off against a crisp blue sky. Up ahead, your children pull carrots from their pockets and present them to a gathering of friendly horses in an adjacent pasture.
Outward Bound in the City: Central Oregon’s 5 Best Urban Hikes
Hiking in Central Oregon can take you deep into the wilderness, far away from worry and stress. But sometimes all you need is a quick break from reality…just a half hour or so outside in nature, on a trail, alone with your thoughts (or with your dog, husband and two kids.) There are hundreds of hikes and trails available in and around Bend, Oregon and Sunriver, Oregon. These “Urban Hikes” are the perfect remedy to slow down our all-too-busy lives.
Lava Lands Visitor Center a Central Oregon Geologic Gem
In the late 1960s NASA looked for a place to send astronauts who were training for a mission that would change the world. But before the mission could happen, NASA needed a place to mimic what they believed those astronauts would find on the surface of the moon. Because, after all, nobody had been there before so nobody really knew what the surface of the moon was like.
Cascade Lakes Scenic Byway: Pull Off For a Central Oregon Adventure
The Cascade Lakes Scenic byway is one of the prettiest drives in the U.S. But it might be the most recreationally rich road you’ll ever drive too. From Bend southwest to the Highway 58 junction, the Oregon Route 372 cuts through 66 miles unique volcanic formations and geological beauty that offers everything that makes Central Oregon an outdoor lover’s paradise.
The Central Oregon Adventure 6-Pack
6 ADVENTURES…1 DAY….A LIFETIME OF MEMORIES. “You should do it,” they said. “Think about how cool it’d be,” they told me. “You get to do it during the work day, ya know,” they reminded me. So I said yes.