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Prineville

Plan Your Visit To

Prineville, Oregon

Nestled at the eastern edge of Central Oregon, and in the heart of the Crooked River Caldera, Prineville has a lot in common with the rest of the region—but has consistently blazed its own trail since being founded in 1870.

Today, the oldest city in Central Oregon has plenty of what you love about the area: high-quality food crafted with care, cutting-edge craft beers, and plenty of outdoor recreation. But the city of 10,000 also makes its mark as the gateway to the Painted Hills, as a hotbed
of year-round angling opportunities, as a fun outpost with robust nightlife, and as a premier golf destination.

So as you plan your next getaway, here’s how to discover the charms of historic Prineville, Oregon.

Map of Prineville, Oregon

There’s a lot to enjoy in and around Prineville. Here’s a map for finding your way around, discovering your
next favorite attraction, and making the most of your time in the Prineville area.

Couple walks in front of the historic Crook County Courthouse in Prineville, Oregon

What is Prineville, Oregon Known For?

With such a storied past and exciting present—not to mention some of Central Oregon’s most breathtaking outdoor beauty—it’s hard to narrow down what specifically Prineville is known for. But we’ll give it our best shot.

History: Prineville was founded in 1870 and, more than 150 years later, is the oldest city in Central Oregon. Visitors feel that connection to the past in the brick buildings that line Main Street through the heart of town, the neon lights buzzing over businesses that date back decades, and in stone architecture that recalls Prineville’s past (and present) as a trading post for the local ranching community. The city is even home to Oregon’s oldest public structure: the Crook County Courthouse, built in 1909. Best of all: You can learn about that history at the A.R. Bowman Museum, which traces the region’s history through exhibits, artifacts, displays, and more.

Growth: Even with such remarkable history, Prineville’s present and future are no less exciting. Apple and Facebook have a presence in the city, and a new class of entrepreneurs are opening restaurants, breweries, food cart pods, and other exciting businesses to serve locals and visitors alike.

Natural beauty: The Ochoco National Forest and Ochoco Mountains sit at Prineville’s eastern doorstep, offering access to dozens of miles of hiking and mountain biking trails through forests of ponderosa pine, wide-open meadows covered in colorful springtime wildflowers, towering rock formations, epic angling opportunities, dusty OHV paths, and more. Further east are the Painted Hills, boasting some of the state’s most-photographed attractions. Even the Ochoco Wayside State Scenic Viewpoint, perched above the Crooked River at the western edge of Prineville, affords dramatic views of the region’s disparate landscapes.

Outside of a movie theatre in downtown Prineville, Oregon
Couple points at Steins Pillar near Prineville, Oregon
a rice bowl, salad and cocktail from SCP, Redmond OR

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Things to Do in Prineville, Oregon

Whether making a day trip or spending the weekend, you’ll find plenty of things to do in Prineville, Oregon. Here’s a rundown of where to eat, where to go, and where to stay around the region.

Scenic view of the Crooked River Canyon in Prineville, Oregon
A man and woman walk in front of the historic courthouse in Prineville, Oregon.
Group of people sitting in adirondack chairs toasting each other with beers at Brasada Ranch near Prineville, Oregon

Enjoy a satisfying meal: Prineville has long been surrounded by farms and cattle ranches, a tradition that continues today. So when you head out to eat, chances are good you’re enjoying locally sourced meats, fresh herbs and produce, and other elements of farm-to-table fare. Club Pioneer, for instance, opened in 1942 and remains a Prineville institution; the restaurant serves a meat-heavy menu that includes steak and prime rib (sourced from regional farms), seafood, pasta, and more. For a more casual dining experience, Dillon’s Grill prides itself on serving burgers crafted with fresh ingredients, authentic barbecue, steak, and seafood—along with 13 rotating taps of quality craft beer from regional breweries. In addition to these filling eateries, the city is home to a variety of cuisines—including tacos, sandwiches, sushi, ice cream, and more—so find your next favorite meal by exploring restaurants in Prineville, Oregon.

Visit the Painted Hills and the John Day Fossil Beds National Monument: The Painted Hills, one of three units comprising the John Day Fossil Beds National Monument, sit just an hour east of Prineville and showcase some of the oddest landscapes anywhere in Oregon. Check out the Painted Hills for mounds and rolling hillsides covered in soils of red, yellow, and other vibrant hues; short hiking trails lead through the otherworldly landscape and ascend to sweeping overlooks that showcase the breadth of the region.

Ride the Crooked River Canyon Scenic Bikeway: Dedicated cyclists love traveling the 37-mile Crooked River Canyon Scenic Bikeway, which departs from the southern edge of town before heading south along paved roads and into the heart of the Crooked River Canyon. Along the way, cyclists pass llama farms and cattle ranches in the shadow of basalt cliffs, follow the bubbling Crooked River, and ascend to viewpoints that showcase the sweeping expanse of the Central Oregon high desert. Ride in spring or fall for cooler temperatures and seasonal color in the trees and wildflowers lining the roadway. And if you’d rather see the region’s natural beauty from the comfort of your car, check out our round-up of scenic drives in Central Oregon.

Catch your dinner: Prineville sits surrounded by some of the region’s best angling opportunities. Try your fly on the Crooked River, which runs through town and is known for its year-round trout populations, or on the Prineville and Ochoco reservoirs. The Prineville Reservoir sits at the base of the Ochoco Mountains, boasts a surface area of roughly 3,000 acres, and is home to large populations of largemouth and smallmouth bass, as well as brown bullhead catfish; the Ochoco Reservoir, meanwhile, boasts approximately 1,000 surface acres and is home to large populations of rainbow trout, bass, and crappie. If you’re excited to fish other waterways throughout the region, learn more about the rivers in Central Oregon.

Sip some quality craft beer: After a day exploring the Painted Hills or cycling the Crooked River Canyon Scenic Bikeway, does anything sound better than a cold craft beer? We think not—and Prineville has plenty of suds to keep thirsty visitors sated. Crooked Roots Brewing, for instance, pours its own beers and ciders alongside ales, lagers, meads, seltzers, and wines from regional producers. And at the western edge of town, the Corral Taproom & Food Carts hosts a handful of up-and-coming food trucks dishing international cuisine, along with an indoor beer garden and plenty of outdoor seating; beer, cider, wine, kombucha, and hard seltzer is all available. Still thirsty? Get to know our breweries in Prineville, Oregon.

Unwind with a night away: Prineville is known for its laid-back, down-home charm—and that vibe extends to nearby lodgings. Discover Brasada Ranch Resort, just a half-hour southwest of town, for an unforgettable overnight experience that offers comfort, class, and style in equal measure. Attractions at the ranch include indoor and outdoor pools, spas, ranch-to-table dining, a weekly farmers market, nightly s’mores around the resort’s fire pits, an open-air Peloton Studio, more than 900 acres of horseback riding, an 18-hole golf course, and summertime activities for kids of all ages.

Enjoy the nightlife: Prineville works hard during the day—and knows how to cut loose when the sun goes down. The city boasts a fun nightlife scene, with a few downtown bars and pubs catering to locals and visitors looking to enjoy a night on the town. Sons of Beer has become a community gathering spot, thanks to a hearty food menu, friendly service, and 15 craft beers from Central Oregon and the broader Pacific Northwest on tap at any given time. Elsewhere around town, The Horseshoe Tavern bills itself as Prineville’s oldest bar and offers all kinds of fun—including open mic nights, a pool table, live music, weekly food specials, and more. If you want to keep the night going, explore the many bars in Prineville, Oregon.

Hit the links: Sunny days, warm temperatures, and stunning landscapes make Central Oregon a hotbed for bustling golf courses—and Prineville is no exception. Sitting right in town, the (public) Meadow Lakes Golf Course crosses the Crooked River four times and challenges golfers with rolling mounds, nine ponds, and 62 bunkers over the course of 18 gorgeous holes. Golfers love generous fairways, large greens, and five sets of tees. Want to know where else to play, including at nearby Brasada Ranch? Learn more about golf across Central Oregon.

If you’re looking for other fun activities around the region, learn more about things to do in Central Oregon.

a group getting ready to ride the trails

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a couple snuggling on the couch by the firepit

Relish the

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