River Canyon Country
This tiny hamlet just north of Madras is the gateway to Smith Rock State Park and the birthplace of sport climbing in America. Terrebonne may be small, but many of the world’s top climbers have paid her a visit after clipping bolts at Smith Rock. Terrebonne is also a popular spot for some of the best fly-fishing on the Crooked River. This spectacular little place was one of the settings for the 2001 movie, Swordfish, starring John Travolta, Halle Berry and Hugh Jackman. The Terrebonne Depot restaurant, housed in a renovated 100-year-old train station, is another good reason to make your way there.
Must see: The beautiful rock formations at Smith Rock State Park, with climbers far up the sheer rock walls. Look for slackline walkers at Monkey Face teetering hundreds of feet in the air.
Located above the steep basalt canyon walls of the Deschutes River, Crooked River Ranch is best known for its golf, hiking and fishing. Golfers can take a short—and exhilarating—shot over the river canyon on one of the course’s signature holes. Everyone should hike out to the Crooked River overlooks or down to Steelhead Falls on the Deschutes River. Anglers will want to fly-fish the Foley Waters section of the Deschutes for native rainbow trout.
Must see: The view down into the Crooked River from Otter Bench.
Must do: Play a round or two on the scenic and fun Crooked River Ranch Golf Course, a par 71 “with teeth.”
The most historical town in Central Oregon, Prineville serves as the starting point for fishing trips along the Crooked River or the Prineville and Ochoco reservoirs. Camping, hiking and mountain biking are some of the area’s best in the Ochoco National Forest and Maury Mountains. Take in local history with a visit to the stately Crook County Courthouse, Central Oregon’s oldest public structure. Add in the Crooked River Roundup, the annual rodeo, and you get a sense of what makes Prineville authentic and Western. Fueled by economic growth from its new Facebook and Apple data centers, Prineville is experiencing a renaissance with more places to dine, a new brewpub and choice lodging.
Must see: The winding Crooked River as it flows from Prineville Reservoir into town.
Must do: Hit the Crooked River Round up in June or bring a gambling spirit to the Pari-Mutuel Horse Races in July.
The heart and soul of The Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs, Warm Springs offers the new Indian Head Casino. For a cultural diversion, you’ll find one of the finest Native American art museums in the West. A short drive north is Kah-Nee-Ta Resort and Spa, noted for its warm water swimming pools, spa and blue ribbon fly-fishing. At the end of the day, the amenity-rich resort and spa has many paths to relaxation.
Must see: One of the nation’s largest collections of Native American art and artifacts at The Museum at Warm Springs.
Must do: Take the plunge in the warm water pools at Kah-Nee-Ta Resort and Spa; naturally heated by hot springs.
From this Central Oregon hub, outdoor recreation enthusiasts can wade and fish the waters of the Deschutes, Metolius and Crooked rivers, or fish from their boats on Lake Billy Chinook. There’s camping on the lake at The Cove Palisades State Park. Nearby, there’s superb hiking on The Peninsula and The Island in the Crooked River National Grassland. For something completely different, take a drive north and east of Madras to the old mining town of Ashwood, a place where time has stood still.
Must see: The August Airshow of the Cascades with biplanes, military and vintage models taking to the air.
Must do: Spend a weekend on a houseboat at Lake Billy Chinook.
Redsides and rafting are the mainstays of Maupin. Redsides are the brilliantly colored, hard-fighting native Deschutes River trout that anglers obsess over. Add to that, whitewater thrills, and this river town is a hive of recreational activity. In recent years, uptown Maupin has seen the addition of more lodging and dining amenities to make it more of a recreation destination.
Must see: Native Americans fishing from platforms below Sherars Falls.
Must do: Hit class-3 Boxcar Rapids, rafting the Lower Deschutes River with Imperial River Co.