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Beating the Heat Central Oregon Style: High Lakes & Lazy River Keep you Cool

Whether it’s a relaxing mid-week paddle or a wild weekend float — one of the best ways to beat the summer heat in Central Oregon is to head for the Deschutes River.

Winding through the Old Mill District in Bend, the Deschutes is a quick, easy way to cool off without doing too much work.

You don’t even need your own floatie! Sun Country Tours rents tubes and paddle boards right where most people put in at Riverbend Park.

The dog days of summer really are the best, unless of course you’re wearing a fur coat. The Riverbend dog park on the bank of the Deschutes is the perfect spot for Fido to get some exercise without overheating.

The area isn’t called “The High Desert” for nothing…so when things really heat up a trip to the High Cascade Lakes is in order. There are lots of different lakes to choose from but Sparks Lake is one of the most popular for flat water paddling. Around every corner, there’s a new view to take in and unofficial camping spots allow a day you never want to end to do, just that!

A few more miles down the Cascade Lakes Highway and you’ll hit Elk Lake. Staggering mountain views and warm water make Elk Lake, the destination for tourists and locals alike.

If you’re up for something a little more thrilling than relaxing,how about whitewater rafting? Sun Country runs trips daily and kids as young as six years old can get in on the fun.

You know that saying “no bad days”? So long as you have something to float on — that’s exactly what it feels like to be in Central Oregon during the summer.

Mackenzie Ballard
Mackenzie Ballard
Mackenzie Ballard is COVA's Marketing Manager and in-house videographer. She came to COVA after more than 5 years in front of a camera working as a TV journalist. Her true passion is writing. Growing up in Sandpoint, Idaho – Mackenzie spent her summers boating on Lake Pend Oreille and winters snowboarding Schweitzer. After graduating from the University of Idaho, Mackenzie tested out city-life in Portland; but bumper-to-bumper traffic and the rain finally took their toll on her and she packed up and headed to the High Desert. Now, it’s hard to get her to leave Bend, even just for the weekend. There are just too many amazing hikes, bike rides and camping spots to take advantage of in Central Oregon to go elsewhere.