Fall Favorites: Here’s Why Autumn is Awesome in Central Oregon
In Central Oregon, autumn’s arrival is both a welcome reprieve from the heat of the summer and the early sign that winter is right around the corner. It’s an odd time when many of us here desperately try to hold on to some semblance of summer while our loved ones are across the room doing a snow dance. We’re seasonally conflicted.
But where we can agree is that autumn in Central Oregon is pretty awesome and thanks to perfect weather, fewer visitors and did we mention perfect weather, it might just be the best time of year to visit. Here’s a few highlights of the season to prove our point.
Smith Rock Cool Down
Smith Rock State Park in Terrebonne is one of the 7 Wonders of Oregon. But in the heat of the Central Oregon summer, it can feel like a furnace, turning away many visitors who don’t like the heat. Come fall, the scenery is just as beautiful (if not more photogenic) and the temperatures on the trails below the spires are much more pleasant. It’s also a great time to watch the rock climbers who also stay away during the summer months due to the heat of the rocks they’re trying to scale.
If there’s anything a golfer wants more than a perfect swing – it’s a good deal on green fees. Once the “shoulder season” begins here, many of our 30 golf courses drastically lower their rates – including Pronghorn, Crosswater and Tetherow – 3 of America’s Top 100 Public Courses according to Golf Digest. Even better is the fact that our amazing summer weather has created absolutely perfect golf course conditions that last well into the fall. Throw in easier-to-get-tee-times and autumn most definitely is the best time of year to hit the links in Central Oregon.
Hiking is the No. 1 thing people like to do in Central Oregon and in the middle of the summer, many of our popular trails can feel more like a walk in mall (albeit a very scenic mall.) Once school is back in session, the trail use thins out and you can once again have the forest seemingly all to yourself. From our urban trails close to town to some of the high alpine trails that close down at the first real sign of winter, you’ll be able to experience nature a little more like you probably envisioned.
The same can be said for our 300+ miles of mountain bike singletrack. With our sunny summer months come dusty and relatively busy trails. When the temperatures start to dip a little, the dirt firms up, creating some of the most ideal mountain biking conditions anywhere.
There’s no shortage of ways to get into the seasonal spirit here thanks to several local pumpkin patches that open the first part of October.
Smith Rock Ranch is a Central Oregon favorite for celebrating the fall harvest season. Operating as a regular farm throughout the year, during the October the Ranch opens to the public each Saturday and Sunday so guests can enjoy fun activities that include Pumpkin Picking, Zoo Train Rides, Petting Zoo, Archery Shoot, Miniature Golf, Farmer’s Market, Pumpkin Cannon Shoot, plus live entertainment and great food booths. Visitors can also challenge themselves to make their way through the paths of The Amazing Maize, a 7 acre corn field complete with bridges and spectacular views.
Smith Rock Ranch is also available for private parties and school or group field trips.
More inspiring stories, adventures, and tips & tricks for planning and experiencing the best Central Oregon has to offer.
Camp Abbot’s Important Role During World War II
Sunriver is one of the region’s oldest and most beloved destination resorts. Since the late 1960s, Oregon families have made memories here, riding bikes to the general store, learning to golf on the courses and swimming in the river and the resort’s pools.
Central Oregon Winter Adventures
WHEN THE SNOW FLIES, CENTRAL OREGON SHINES. ALL YOU HAVE TO DO IS CHOOSE YOUR ADVENTURE.
Central Oregon’s Moonscape
Many who come to Central Oregon say it looks like nowhere else they’ve visited. Sure, there are the mountain vistas and the Ponderosa pines, the picturesque rivers and the deep blue lakes. But to many, the most astonishing aspect is the lunarscape — the lava rocks, cinder cones and lava tubes that dot the region, betraying its geologic history.
Central Oregon Hiking Trails
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.
Sherar's Falls Scenic Bikeway
Oregon’s newest scenic bikeway traverses the strikingly scenic high desert canyon of north Central Oregon, known as River Canyon Country.
Newport Market Mural-a Tribute to the Spirit of Bend
A picture is worth a thousand words. But the new hand-painted mural outside Bend’s Newport Avenue Market will be worth a million smiles.
Scenic Bikeways Showcase Central Oregon’s Backroad Beauty
Oregon’s official scenic bikeways are the first of their kind in the U.S – and Central Oregon is home to 6 of the state’s 11 most beautiful bike routes. An absolute summer must for road cyclists are riding the best of the best – our scenic bikeways. Every rider can find a ride to suit their style and mood, from family-friendly to adventurous.
Free Guided Snowshoe Tours: Educational Exercise at Mt. Bachelor
One of the unheralded aspects of Mt. Bachelor is the ski area is full of activities for everyone – not just thrill seekers on skis and snowboards. To add a little education to your exercise, the Deschutes National Forest and Discover Your Forest is offering FREE guided snowshoe tours at Mt. Bachelor through March.
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.
Photographer Shares Insights on Iconic Smith Rock Eclipse Image
Days of planning. Hours of climbing. One minute of perfection. How a small team of athletes and photographers pulled off the most iconic image of Eclipse 2017.