The Central Oregon Adventure 6-Pack

Bill Breneman

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.

I agreed to embark upon what, for me, would be the ultimate one-day Central Oregon adventure. An adventure to showcase all that is glorius each spring in Central Oregon.

The Central Oregon Adventure 6-Pack. (OK, so that’s the best we could come up with..but hey, it’s got a beer theme, right?)

  1. Sunrise hike at Smith Rock
  2. Cinder Cone run at Mt. Bachelor
  3. 9 Holes at Widgi Creek
  4. Mountain bike ride at Phil’s Trail
  5. Kayak on the Deschutes River
  6. Complete the ENTIRE Bend Ale Trail.

Giddyup.

Smith Rock at Sunrise/Clint Melsha

Sunrise at Smith Rock

A 5 a.m. alarm comes pretty early when you’re the father of an 8-week old who demands to sleep on your chest from 4 a.m. on. It’s also tempting to hit the snooze button a thousand times knowing you’re waking up to a hike called “Misery Ridge.”

But I rolled my little girl on to the bed and hit the shower on what I knew was going to be one of the best days of my life.

We arrived at Smith Rock State Park in Terrebonne just before 6 a.m. fueled with coffee, Cheerios and adrenaline. The day would be a marathon, and any thoughts we had of turning the opening hike into a sprint were quickly erased. Misery Ridge sounds a little more daunting than it is, but it’s still a leg burner no matter what time of day you hit the trail.

We opted for the four-mile loop, which includes about 1,400 feet of elevation gain. But the reward at the top is most certainly worth any bit of pain you experienced on the way up. Smith Rock, one of the 7 Wonders of Oregon, is a breathtakingly unique part of our state with sheer rock cliffs rising abruptly from the banks of the Crooked River below.

As we were heading back down the trail, the parking lot was beginning to bustle with climbers eager to get an early start.

Elena Pressprich

The Cone Run

More coffee and a sense of “maybe the worst is behind us” pushed us back to Bend and up the Cascade Lakes Scenic Byway to Mt. Bachelor. We arrived just as the chairs started running, but our goal was to bypass the motorized lift to the top and hike the “cone” and for me to take a run that’s a rite of passage for Bendites.

The cinder cone is adjacent to the ski area and a favorite of skiers wanting to “earn their turns” and get fresh tracks on powder days. The cone is open all day every day and it’s free to ride the 715 feet of vertical drop. Assuming of course, you’re willing to hike the 715 of vertical ascent.

It didn’t sound all that bad considering we’d just hiked up twice that at Smith Rock. But it was a little different taking a hike in fresh snow, wearing too-small snowboard boots and carrying your board on a backpack.

After several “hey, let’s stop and take in the view/desperately gasping for my breath” breaks we made it to the top. Once again, the reward was worth the effort. (I’m sensing a theme here.) I sat down on the top of the cone to take it all in. I had been to the mountain dozens of times over the years and always looked up to the cone as something beyond my level of expertise.

“Mission accomplished” I thought as I strapped in and carved my way down the mountain toward some more fun thinking “why in the world hadn’t I done this before?”

Welcome to “The Widg”

After we loaded up the car in the Bachelor parking lot and grabbed a world famous burrito from the ski area’s Nordic center we headed back into town to Widgi Creek Golf Club, which we passed on the road up to the mountain earlier.

This, I wasn’t worried about. I served as the assistant golf professional here from 2005 to 2010 and looked forward to the nice little walk that the front 9 offers. By now, the sun was up and it was starting to feel a little more like spring and there were just a few people on the golf course. That was probably a good thing with the pace we were walking (not fast) and the number of strokes my buddy was taking each hole (many.)

But even as he was having me write down his double bogey on the scorecard, he couldn’t get over how good the course looked so early in the season. And, even more surprisingly, we played in right at 2 hours. I’ve played nearly every course in Central Oregon (we have 30)  and people always ask me “what’s your favorite golf course?” That’s impossible to answer, but if I could only play one course every  single day, I’d probably tee it up at “The Widg.”

Phil? Phil? PHIL!?!

By now our legs were good and warmed up. And tired. And maybe not ready to pedal our bikes for a little more than 7 miles at Phil’s Trail.

But, we thought, at least there’d be some downhill sections so we’d get to rest albeit briefly for a few minutes at a time. We rolled through the parking area up the slight climb of Ben’s Trail to MTB before veering up Kent’s, over to KGB (here’s the ride) back down to the Flaming Chicken and down Phil’s Trail back to the trail along the road to Skyliners and back to our car. Normally this ride takes me about 40 minutes – when it’s the only thing I’ve done all day. Today…well, let’s just say I took in the scenery a little more than usual and we got back to the care in about an hour.

Floating the Deschutes River in Bend, Oregon

A River Runs Through It

As comfortable as I am on a golf course I am twice as uncomfortable on water. But that was part of the challenge – get out on a kayak on the Deschutes. I wasn’t going far and I knew I could probably touch the river bottom if I happened to fall out.

Still, my heart was beating a little more quickly with this one. Luckily I had set up a little informal lesson with Laurel from Tumalo Creek Kayak and Canoe. She put me at ease and stayed with us as we paddled upstream to the Healy Bridge, which was very hard for me by the way, and back to the shop, which sits right on the bank of the river.

I’m not saying I’m planning to go out and buy a kayak now, but I can say I wouldn’t be opposed to renting one for a relaxing float on one of the high lakes come summer. And for me, that’s a huge step.

Down the Hatch, Again and again and (hiccup!)

My first steps out of the kayak must have looked like the first steps of a newborn horse. A little wobbly to say the least. But, I took some confident steps toward the car knowing the “exercise” portion of the day was complete. It was, as they say, all over but the drinking.

Next up was a hike of a different sort – a hike along the Bend Ale Trail. Sixteen breweries!! stretching from Bend to Sisters with the help of the John Flannery and the Bend Tour Company. (No way we were going to ruin this epic day by drinking and driving.)

And we wouldn’t be doing all that much drinking. Yes, we planned to hit all the pubs on the trail, but no, we didn’t plan on having a full beer at each one. A taster (and appetizer) at each would suffice for crossing this final adventure off our 6-pack list.

We did, though, start off toasting our day with a well-deserved full pint of Bachelor Bitter and a burger at Deschutes Brewery. We hit up Bend Brewing Company next, McMenamins, Silver Moon, 10 Barrel, Cascade Lakes Brewing, Worthy….etc. until we had just one stamp left to get.

We ended the day with a  beer, our final stamp and a high five at the Crux Fermentation Project. My wife and daughter came by just in time to see  the kind of sunset Central Oregon is known for. Sunsets that for many of us from time to time, are the perfect exclamation point on the perfectly fun-filled day.

I was asleep as soon as my head hit the pillow, with my head spinning – not because of the beer, but from thinking of all the reasons I love living in Central Oregon.

That alarm – in the form of my daughter – came early again the next morning.

(editors note: This adventure is an extreme example of what awaits you in Central Oregon. And while you could, of course, actually do all these things in one day in the spring, the author actually did not.)

Happy April Fool’s Day!

Winter Isn’t Only About Snow in Central Oregon

Splashing Through the Snow

Kids taking a winter plunge in the pool at Seventh Mountain Resort in Bend, Oregon
A warm pool on a cold day at Seventh Mountain Resort

It’s true that when winter rolls around in Central Oregon, most people’s minds veer toward things to do in the snow. With Mt. Bachelor, Hoodoo, sno-parks and more, there’s plenty of options for folks to get out and play.

But with our high desert climate, there’s also plenty of opportunities for more “summer-like” activities like hiking, cycling and yes, even swimming and golf.

On many days you can wake up to two or three inches of the white stuff out your window, but come lunchtime the snow’s gone, the temps have warmed up and it’s the perfect weather to get outside.


Swimming

There’s something invigorating about hitting the pool when there’s a blanket of fresh snow on the ground. For starters, kids will take any chance they can to go swimming regardless of the temperature outside and nothing says “vacation” like a day at the pool.

Central Oregon has some great places to splash around all year, including the indoor pool at the SHARC aquatic center in Sunriver, at Juniper Swim and Fitness Center in Bend. Seventh Mountain Resort in Bend and Kah-Nee-Ta Resort and Spa in Warm Springs all have heated outdoor pools for their guests that will quickly have you forgetting what season it is.

Soaking tub at McMenamins in Bend, Oregon
Soaking tub at McMenamins Old St. Francis School

Several of the hotels, including the brand new Hampton Inn and Suites in the Old Mill District, have indoor pools as well. And there’s the unique experience of ornate Turkish bath at McMenamins Old St. Francis School in the heart of downtown Bend.


Surfing

Courtesy Bill Breneman

Yep, you read that right. Surfing in Central Oregon. In fact, you can do that in a couple different ways here.

For the truly adventurous, Bend’s Whitewater Park near the Old Mill District turns the tranquil waters of the Deschutes River into a whitewater adventure. The center channel of the park has four-wave features for emerging to expert whitewater enthusiasts. The features are created by twenty-six, underwater pneumatic bladders, natural and man-made riverbed conditions and dynamic river flows.

The sport – Flowriding is not just a ride, it is a sport… a 21st Century alchemy that has the look of surfing, the ride of snowboarding, the tricks of skateboarding, and boards derived from wakeboarding. Since the early ‘90s, the world’s best board riders have cross pollinated
into flowboarding. This new alternative board sport is taken seriously from the mountains to the sea.

Looking to take it up a notch? How about an afternoon surfing Oregon’s only indoor FlowRider wave machine! The Sunriver Fitness and Aquatic Center on Sunriver’s northern edge offers two-hour sessions for $20.


Hiking

One of the most popular go-to hikes for folks during the winter is the Deschutes River trail near the Bill Healy bridge west of the Old Mill District. This gentle hike (it’s more like a walk on dirt than a “hike”) is a 3.5-mile loop up one side of the river, across a footbridge and back down the other. You can add some distance by parking in the Old Mill (a perfect place to grab a bite to eat or hot chocolate after your hike.)

A lot of locals also like to hike Pilot Butte’s trail in the winter. This is actually a pretty good hike – not long, just strenuous in that it’s quite a trek up to the top of this 480-foot butte located in the middle of town. The road is closed during the winter so you won’t have to worry about cars, but you should be careful of icy spots on the north-facing side if there’s been a recent snow.

And, of course, there’s the granddaddy of winter hiking spots – Smith Rock State Park in Terrebonne. Winter might just be the best time to explore all of the hiking – and biking – options available because the park can get scorching hot during the summer months.

You can find more info on our “urban hikes” here.


Cycling

Cycling wise, most mountain bikers head east of Bend for the best trail conditions during the winter. Complexes like Horse Ridge and Horse Butte stay snow free most of the winter except in rare cases and offer some great trails and amazing views of the area. Hikers and horses can also often be found at Horse Butte. You can combine several loops in the area for longer rides, but the Coyote Loop Trail-Arnold Ice Cave Trail loop is about 12 miles. Be sure to check out the Arnold Ice Cave as well – a super cool lava tube in the middle of the loop.

horse butte trail
The trails at Horse Butte in winter

In Redmond, try the Radlands and in Sisters, some of the Peterson Ridge trail systems is rideable during the winter months too. You can also mountain bike the uber-scenic Smith Rock State Park. Prineville has some great backroads and mountain bike trails that are perfect for winter riding.

“If folks were coming to Prineville to ride a mountain bike I would push them to the Lower 66 trails at the Grade as you enter town coming into Prineville from Bend/Redmond,” said James Good, owner of Good Bike Co. in Prineville.  “It is located in the south part of the Ochoco Wayside State Park. It is 66 acres that have roughly 3.5 miles of single track trails encompassing two loops and a connecting loop at the West end of the trails. Trails are for beginner to intermediate riders.”

Good Bike Co. is a great place to stop before you hit the trails – James is a wealth of information.

The Madras Mountain Views Scenic Bikeway is a rideable route for road cyclists in the winter because the 30-mile loop is entirely in the warmer climes of Jefferson County.


Golf

Several Central Oregon courses are open year-round, weather permitting and often the weather most certainly permits. I worked one winter at Lost Tracks Golf Club in Bend and we were open every single day. Sure, there were some really cold days and the greens froze over a few times, but the course stayed snow-free the entire season and we had players nearly every day.

Meadow Lakes Golf Club, Prineville
Meadow Lakes Golf Club, Prineville

In Bend, River’s Edge Golf Course is another popular winter golf destination; Prineville’s Meadow Lakes Golf Course is a popular winter spot even if there’s no snow in Bend. It’s a fun course and the weather’s usually a tad warmer the farther east you go. To the north, Kah-Nee-Ta Resort and Spa is a great winter golf course.


Happy Hour Alfresco

Sure, it might be a little cold, but several of the region’s hot spots for dining/drinking outside have found ways to keep customers warm. Places like 10 Barrel Brewing Co., Crux Fermentation Project, McMenamins Old St. Francis School and others have firepits that only add to the already cool ambiance. You can check them out in this video on breweries taking the party outside. 

mcmenamins okanes fire

Fall Golf in Central Oregon: Amazing Course Conditions & Even Better Deals

Considering we have three of Golf Digest’s Top 100 courses and half of Oregon’s Top 10 courses according to Golfweek, there’s really no bad time of year to play golf in Central Oregon. Even in the middle of winter, courses such as Meadow Lakes in Prineville remain open for play. But for my money, fall is by far the best time to tee it up. Here’s why:

PERFECT WEATHER

September and October are usually pretty mild and a welcome reprieve from the summer heat.  Sure, the daylight might not extend as far into the evening, but there’s still plenty of time to get in 18 holes. (And if you tee off early enough, you can even get in 36.)

Sunriver Meadows Course Near Bend

CHEAPER GREEN FEES

Beyond the weather, fall golf in Central Oregon means discounted green fees. As a tourist destination, some of the resort green fees during the summer are a little steep for some folks. Come fall though, those rates go down dramatically making some of the country’s best courses more affordable. Sunriver Resort, for example, is offering an amazing unlimited fall golf package that includes 3-nights of lodging for less than $260/person.

The Nicklaus Course at Pronghorn Resort

Fall = Pacific Amateur Golf Classic

For 21 years, the Pacific Amateur Golf Classic has been the Northwest’s premier amateur tournament. The event, now held exclusively at Sunriver Resort, includes 54-holes of tournament golf with a fourth and final championship round for the top qualifiers in each of several flights. The field is limited to 300 players and is held at Sunriver’s Meadows and Woodlands courses and the famed Crosswater Club.

River’s Edge Golf Course, Bend

FEWER PEOPLE

The crowds have thinned and the tee sheets are WIDE open, making it the perfect time for that group outing you’ve been wanting to throw for your clients or office. Pronghorn Resort has a sweet deal through September for groups of eight or more. Starting at just $549 per person, you and your buddies can enjoy:

*  2 nights in a luxurious 4 bedroom Villa

* Unlimited golf on the Jack Nicklaus Signature Course

* One box lunch

* Free round-trip airport transportation

* Unlimited range balls

Crux Fermentation Project
Crux Fermentation Project, Ben

OFF THE COURSE LIFE

The “shoulder season” as we call it in the tourism biz, also means fewer crowds at some of the region’s most popular off-the-course spots. Brewpubs like Deschutes, Crux and Bend Brewing Co. can get packed during the summer, but you’re better off quickly finding a table for you and your 7 bros come fall. (Speaking of Deschutes, a brewery tour is a fun group activity after a round of golf and before dinner. )

Looking for a great golf-n-grub combo? After a round at Tetherow, head upstairs to The Row for one of the best 19th Holes in Central Oregon.

Black Butte Ranch: There Is a Place…

There’s a reason generations of families come back year after year to stay at Black Butte Ranch, well, actually there’s a lot of them. This is a place where you can play, relax, connect with nature and live life the way it was meant to be, to the fullest.

Golfing at either of the two championship courses, Glaze Meadow and Big Meadow, you’ll experience endless views, plus pristine fairways, sculpted to perfection.

The chefs at Black Butte Ranch prepare the finest food for you and your family to enjoy and there’s never a lack of new people to meet when you spend time in the comfortable communal areas.

If an authentic Oregon experience is what you’re searching for — you’ll find it when you stay here, nestled beneath the Cascades. Tucked away in Deschutes National Forest, the Metolius River at Camp Sherman is a great spot to cool off and stock up on supplies.

Just south of Black Butte Ranch is the quaint town of Sisters where the views are just as incredible. Take a stroll around town and checkout the shops and local eats. Nearby, you can bike, hike or go horseback riding at the popular trail system known as Peterson Ridge. And at Three Creeks Brewing you can get an award-winning craft beer.

After a long day of exploring, you might be ready for a little caffeine before you head back to Black Butte Ranch, so stop in at Sisters Coffee Company. Because, when you stay at here, the fun never ends.

A Patriotic and Fun 4th in Central Oregon

Summer in Central Oregon offers a feast for the adventurous and respite for the relaxers. Come 4th of July, add to that plenty of patriotism.

This year it falls on a Wednesday  – possibly creating a whole FIVE-day weekend for a lot of people. It’ll be a great weekend to find a great hike, play some golf at one of the two dozen courses here or maybe get crazy with a whitewater rafting trip.

Big Eddy Thriller

You couldn’t have picked a better place to celebrate the 4th.

On the 4th, Bend features one of the quirkiest celebrations you’ll ever see – The annual 4th of July Pet Parade is exactly what it sounds like: Thousands of people and their pets parading through downtown in front of some 10,000 spectators. You’ll find all sorts of animals including cats, llamas, mini horses and a dog held airborne by balloons. (You just have to see it to believe it.) The parade starts at 1o a.m. and is immediately followed by an Old Fashioned 4th Celebration down the street in Drake Park. The party features food vendors, arts and craft booths, games for kids, music and much more.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Fireworks across Central Oregon
Bend: Pilot Butte, 10 p.m.
Redmond: Deschutes County Fair & Expo Center, 10 p.m.
La Pine: Frontier Heritage Park, 10 p.m.
Prineville: Reservoir State Park, 10 p.m.
Madras: Sahalee Park, 10 p.m.

After an afternoon of floating the river or heading up to the high lakes to beat the heat, end the holiday by finding a good spot to watch the fireworks show from atop Pilot Butte State Park at 10 p.m. (Local tip – Bend High School and Pilot Butte Middle School (click for maps) both offer good spots to see the show.)

Redmond’s “Baseball, Hot Dogs and Apple Pie 4th of July Parade” through downtown kicks off at 10 a.m. downtown followed by an Old Fashioned 4th celebration at the fairgrounds from 11 to 4.  The fireworks show starts at 10 p.m. at the Deschutes County Fair and Expo Center.

In Sunriver, you could start the day with the family at the Kids Bike Parade or cool off at the Sunriver Aquatic Center (SHARC) before getting cleaned up and getting your groove on during the opening night of Sunriver Resort’s summer concert series.

La Pine’s Frontier Days actually start on July 1st with a variety of family-friendly activities, cook-outs, live music and more. On the 4th the party starts at 7 a.m. with a “Woodcutter’s Breakfast” followed by a parade at 10:30.

You can officially kick off the weekend with the monthly First Friday Artwalk in downtown Bend. Yes, there’s art – lots of it. But Artwalk is more than that, as businesses keep their doors open later, and offer wine and spirits to create a very festive atmosphere in every small shop you walk in.

To see a full listing of all the events and activities slated for the July 4th holiday weekend, visit our Calendar.

Pronghorn Resort Racks up the Accolades in 2017

Trailhead at Pronghorn at sunset with Cascade Range in background - Bend Oregon

Pronghorn Resort in Bend has been lauded since it opened in 2006. With two world-class golf courses, luxurious lodging options, fantastic dining and an upscale, but accessible vibe – it’s no surprise it gets rave reviews. The high praise continued in 2017 with several big-time pats on the back. And with the new Huntington Lodge set to open on site this fall, even more props are expected.

(Info provided by Pronghorn Resort)

Jack Nicklaus Signature Course

Voted No. 39 on Golfweek’s list of “Best Resort Courses” for 2017.  See all rankings.

Voted No. 5 in Oregon on Golfweek’s list of “Best golf courses you can play in each state” for 2017. See all rankings.

Voted No. 36 on Golf Digest’s list of “America’s 100 Greatest Public Courses” for 2017 See all rankings.

Voted No. 6 on Golf Digest’s list of the “Best Golf Courses in Oregon” for 2017-2018. See all rankings.

golf-nicklaus-5

The Jack Nicklaus Signature Course receives two prestigious rankings from Golfweek and one from Golf Digest for 2017.

Pronghorn Resort

Awarded Golf Digest’s Editors’ Choice Award 2017 Best Golf Resorts in the Pacific Northwest

Tom Fazio Championship Course

Voted No. 11 on Golfweek’s list of “Best Residential Courses” for 2017. See all rankings.

Voted No. 54 on Golfweek’s list of the “Best Modern Courses” for 2017. See all rankings.

Voted No. 7 on Golf Digest’s list of the “Best Golf Courses in Oregon” for 2017-2018. See all rankings.

golf-fazio-4

The Tom Fazio Championship Golf Course receives two prestigious rankings from Golfweek for 2017.

My 11 Favorite Central Oregon Golf Courses

Central Oregon has quickly made a name for itself as a bucket list destination for true golfers from around the world. With 30 courses within 45 minutes of each other and three in Golf Digest’s Top 100, you can’t ask for much more. Throw in a zillion outdoor activities, nearly 30 breweries and perfect weather and, well, it’s a golf vacation paradise.

As a former assistant golf professional here in Central Oregon, I’ve had the chance to play just about every course here. Here are my 11 favorite tracks.

Widgi Creek Golf Club in Bend, Oregon
Widgi Creek in Bend

Widgi Creek Golf Club – Bend

I’m a bit biased as I spent the better part of five years playing this course nearly every day. But that’s the thing – it’s the kind of course that’s fun every single time you play. Tucked within the Deschutes National Forest, Widgi is tight and the Par 5s are long. Each set of tees helps create a different golf course of sorts. From the tips, none of the Par 5s are reachable in two and the Par 3s are BRUTAL. Move up just one tee and everything changes. I love it. (Named the Local’s Favorite Course more than 10 times.)

Tetherow Golf Club in Bend
Tetherow in Bend

Tetherow (Golf Digest No. 63) – Bend

A Scottish links layout in the heart of the High Desert, Tetherow is a feast for the eyes and a beast on your scorecard. But because you can play this course low to the ground, it’s actually a favorite among high handicappers and women who can get around it in decent shape thanks, in part, to very helpful forecaddies. (And on a Golfboard, just getting around Tetherow is half the fun.) After your round, The Row is one of the best spots in Central Oregon for beers, wings and other tasty dishes.

View of greens with Black Butte in the distance at Glaze Meadow Golf Course near Sisters, Oregon
Courtesy Mike Houska

Glaze Meadow, Black Butte Ranch – Near Sisters

Glaze Meadow is one of two courses at BBR (Big Meadow being the other) and choosing a favorite between the two is purely a matter of personal preference. Glaze is tucked way back into the resort, but it’s worth the winding drive to get there. A recent redesign earned it high praise from golf publications and players who appreciate the “new” classic look and feel. The new turtleback greens can be tricky – but if you play smartly from the tee and leave yourself in good positions to attack the pin, you’ll be just fine.

Pronghorn Golf near Bend, Oregon
The Nicklaus Course at Pronghorn

The Nicklaus Course at Pronghorn (Golf Digest No. 36) – Bend

By far one of the most immaculate golf courses you’ll ever play. Pristine fairways lead to the finest putting surfaces in all of Central Oregon. Beyond the green grass of the fairways and greens, the course is cut through unique lava rock outcroppings amid an ancient Juniper forest so it’s a scenic track for sure. The Nicklaus Course at Pronghorn features rare back to back Par 5s on the back 9 – both are picturesque and neither yield many birdies.

5th fairway at Quail Run in LaPine, Oregon
Quail Run, La Pine

Quail Run – La Pine

Maybe the most underrated golf course in all of Central Oregon. Quail Run is WAY off the beaten path in La Pine (south of Sunriver), so it doesn’t get a ton of play. That means you get a course that’s quiet and always in great condition. There’s nothing fancy about Quail Run. It’s just a really good golf course with some fun holes and at just $55 during peak season, it’s a huge bargain as well.

Crosswater Club, 9th Hole

Crosswater Club (Golf Digest No. 50) – Sunriver

Crosswater is hands down the most famous course in the region and for good reason. It’s hosted a Champions Tour major championship, several NCAA National Championships, the PGA Professional National Championship (four times) and was the site of a Shell’s Wonderful World of Golf match between John Daly and Fred Couples back in 1999. Crazy wide fairways are welcoming off the tee, but the course comes back to bite you with tough approach shots to shallow greens and hazards on nearly every hole. All told, Sunriver Resort has 63 holes including a fantastic short course called Caldera Links.

Juniper Golf Club – Redmond

A sneaky good course located just down the street from the regional airport in Redmond, Juniper Golf Club should be on your must-play list when visiting. Consider it “Pronghorn Light” in that it resembles the Nicklaus gem a great deal, but is packaged in a more laid-back muni-course vibe. In fact, it is the only municipally-run course in the region. Juniper was host of the 2007 and 2010 Oregon Open and a repeat US Amateur qualifier site for six consecutive years, 2006-2011.

16th hole at Lost Tracks Golf Club in Bend
Lost Tracks, 16th Hole

Lost Tracks Golf Club

Full disclosure: I also worked for a short time at this south Bend golf course so it’ll always have a special place in my golfing heart. Beyond the superb conditioning, Lost Tracks is known for the fact just about every Par 4 and 5 is a dogleg.  Also of note: the vintage railroad dining car that serves as a bridge to the island green on No. 16. Bring an extra bag tag to add to the hundreds that folks have left behind.

Broken Top Club Golf Course Sunset

Broken Top Club – Bend

Broken Top is a private club in the heart of Bend – in fact, you can see Tetherow from some of the fairways on the front 9. It’s a fun course that winds its way through the houses of one of Bend’s most upscale neighborhood. Expect a few holes with severely elevated tee boxes and lots of doglegs. You’ll get perfect putting surfaces and amazing views of the Cascades.

Bend Golf & Country Club

Bend Golf and Country Club – Bend

Bend’s oldest golf course opened in 1925. The private club has tiny greens, tight fairways and an undeniable charm. It’s absolutely one of my favorite tracks because it feels like a throwback golf course. Subtle elevation changes throughout create an interesting routing.

View of lake, greens and Cascades in Sisters, Oregon
Aspen Lakes, SIsters

Aspen Lakes – Sisters

Arguably Central Oregon’s most scenic golf courses as its situated in the shadows of the majestic Cascades. Aspen Lakes is known for its red cinder bunkers and challenging design with water coming into play on half the holes.

10 Things Not to Miss in Central Oregon

Time and time again guests come into our Central Oregon Visitor Information Center in Sunriver and say, “We’re here for a few days. What should we do?”

And it’s always the toughest question we get.

With so much to do and see and experience in Central Oregon, it’s difficult to layout the perfect weekend itinerary for folks. But after we ask a few questions of them to get a better idea of what kind of things they like to do, we’re able to send them out the door with a smile and sense of adventure.

Here’s our list of the Top 10 things not to miss in Central Oregon.

Courtesy Elena Pressprich

1. Smith Rock State Park, Terrebonne

One of the 7 Wonders of Oregon, Smith Rock is the birthplace of American sport climbing and a feast for the eyes. Take a hike along the Crooked River and marvel at the spires that rise from the canyon floor or trek up Misery Ridge for expansive views of the High Desert and Monkey Face.

Courtesy Elena Pressprich

2. Tumalo Falls

Just 10 miles from downtown Bend, Tumalo Falls is a majestic, nearly 100-foot waterfall that cascades into the tranquil Tumalo Creek below. Take a hike along the creek and up to the top of the falls for a cool view from above. The trail continues for four miles up Happy Valley; perfect for hikers of any age.

Crux Fermentation Project
Crux Fermentation Project, Bend

3. Grab a Beer

Bend is known for exceptionally clean water – and it’s perfect for making exceptionally good beer. Enjoy a pint at any of our nearly 30 brewpubs across the region or take a tour of Deschutes Brewery, the one that started the movement here. Want to learn to brew your own? Check out Immersion Brewing where you can create your own beer in about two hours.

Broken Top Club Golf Course Sunset

4. Play a Round

Central Oregon is home to nearly 30 golf courses including three in Golf Digest’s Top 100 Courses in America and half of Oregon’s Top 10 according to Golfweek. From the forest-lined fairways of Widgi Creek to the Scottish-links berms and knolls of Tetherow, you’ll find a hugely diverse selection of challenges courses to choose from.

Big Eddy Thriller

5. Get Wet

You can’t visit Central Oregon without playing in our wild and scenic Deschutes River. The options are plentiful including a leisurely float through Bend’s Old Mill District, a surf sesh at the Bend whitewater park, a kayak adventure at Sparks Lake or an adrenaline-pumping whitewater thrill ride with Sun County Tours on the Bid Eddy. Bring a swimsuit and have some fun.

No Name Lake at the base of Broken Top/Adam McKibben

6. High Mountain Hikes

Hundreds of miles of tranquil and scenic hiking trails are waiting for you to explore. Go up into the mountains along the Cascade Lakes Scenic Byway and walk among the giant snow-capped peaks. Take a short hike with the kids around Todd Lake or venture higher up to the peak of majestic Broken Top. Or, closer to Bend and Sunriver, trek along the gently-rolling and beautiful Deschutes River Trail. For whatever adventure you’re looking for, there’s a trail for you.

7. Take a Ride

More than 400-miles of epic mountain bike singletrack can be found in Central Oregon, perfect for cyclists of all abilities and so close to town that you can ride to them straight from the shop you rented your bike from. Road cyclists can enjoy a handful of beautiful, well-marked scenic bikeways that showcase sights like McKenzie Pass and Smith Rock State Park.

8. Mt. Bachelor – Year Round Fun at 8,000 Feet

The 5th largest ski area in the U.S. is a year-round destination for fun and amazing views. Snow lovers can enjoy stellar skiing conditions from November through May – among the longest ski seasons in the country. Once the snow melts a little, Mt. Bachelor transforms into a downhill mountain bike Mecca with miles of adrenaline-pumping trails. Summer also means sunset dinners at nearly 9,000 feet – where the meals and views are equally as spectacular.

 

9. Explore a Lava Flow

Located on the north flank of the Newberry National Volcanic Monument, what is now Lava Lands was created about 7,000 years ago after a volcanic explosion of Lava Butte. A miles-wide sea of jagged lava rock was left behind creating a unique geological landscape that served as that training ground for moon-bound astronauts.

Porcupine at a museum near Bend, Oregon

10. High Desert Museum

The High Desert Museum has been inspiring families since 1982 and is consistently rated as a top Central Oregon attraction by Trip Advisor. With 135 acres and more than 100,000 square feet of exhibit space, it’s a “must see” for anyone traveling through the area.

Get a close-up of native wildlife, such as an otter, bobcat, porcupine, and badger. Talk with historic characters who share the tales of early Oregon explorers and settlers. Visit an authentic homestead and sawmill from 1904. Experience a close flying encounter with owls, falcons, hawks and even a vulture. Learn about Native American culture and history and delight your children with one of many fun, hands-on programs that bring history and science to life.

Sunriver Resort Set to Host 21st Pacific Amateur Golf Classic

crosswater 12th hole
Crosswater Club, 12th Hole

Registration is now open for the 21st Annual Pacific Amateur Golf Classic, held this year exclusively at Sunriver Resort.  The 3-day/54-hole/net/stroke play tournament will take place Sept. 24-28, with 300 players from across the country expected to participate.

We’re thrilled to announce that in 2017, every registered participant is guaranteed one round of tournament play on Sunriver Resort’s nationally renowned Crosswater Course, ranked in the Top 100 Courses You Can Play by both Golf Digest and Golf Magazine. The remaining two rounds will be played at Sunriver’s award-winning Meadows and Woodlands courses. A fourth, championship round at Crosswater awaits the Top 4 finishers in each of the tournament flights.

$850/double occupancy
$950/single occupancy

* Tournament entry (Three rounds guaranteed and a fourth round for qualifying players)
* Gift bag valued at over $200
* 4 nights lodging at Sunriver Resort
* Admission into the Sunday Evening Welcome Reception and Dinner
* Box lunch and cart during tournament rounds
* 20 percent discount at all Sunriver Resort retail outlets
* 20 percent discount at Sage Springs Spa
* Complimentary access to Sage Springs Fitness Center
* Complimentary access to The Cove at Sunriver Resort

Sunriver’s Woodlands Course/Patrick Koenig

Tournament activities begin on September 23rd with check in and the exclusive Titleist/Foot Joy store. Players can use their store credit to buy drastically discounted clothes and equipment from two of the biggest and most trusted names in golf. You can pick up your registration packet, learn final course assignments and the final schedule of events.

Meanwhile, Titleist will show off their latest and greatest equipment during the demo day out on the Meadows Course driving range. You can try out clubs and have your set custom built on the spot. Packet pick-up, the Titleist store and demo day continue through 4 p.m. on Sunday the 24th. The Caldera Links Short Game Challenge happens on Sunday as well, with prizes awarded for skills contests on each hole.

The Welcome Reception and Dinner will be held on Sunday in the Backyard, behind the Meadows golf shop, adjacent to the putting course. It’ll be a fun event with great food and drink where you can meet with fellow participants and share stories of years past or goals for the next four days (hopefully) of competition.

The Reception Dinner at The Pac Am/Patrick Koenig

The competition happens Monday through Wednesday with a 10 a.m. shotgun start at Meadows, Woodlands and Crosswater courses. After your round, check out the days’ scores and enjoy food and drink specials in the Backyard or Twisted River Tavern from 4:30-6:30. Thursday, the Championship Round will be a 10 a.m. shotgun start at Crosswater.

About Sunriver Resort:

Sunriver Resort, A Destination Hotel, is integrated into an environment endowed with natural beauty and endless activities. Located just 15 miles south of Bend, Ore., Sunriver Resort is a 3,300 acre all-seasons getaway destination and conference center known for its renowned golf, award-winning spa services, recently transformed Northwest restaurants and outdoor pool facility.

The historic property features lodge-style rooms, suites, vacation homes and condominiums offering outdoor activities and adventure year round. Sunriver Resort is one of those unique locations that truly provides something for everyone; families, corporate events, couples, sport enthusiasts and more. Whether guests stay for a day, a week, or a lifetime, they are sure to find an escape filled with relaxation, inspiration and ultimately, unforgettable memories.

Black Butte Ranch Grapes & Golf Event Features Food, Wine and Fun

Put a bow on summer 2017 with a long (romantic maybe?) weekend of golf, wine, food and fun at one of Central Oregon’s most beautiful destination resorts, Black Butte Ranch.

The 2017 Grapes & Golf Couples event happens September 14th-16th and includes a friendly (but competitive) tournament on both of Black Butte’s championship courses, Glaze Meadow and Big Meadow.

The event kicks off Thursday evening with a  wine, cheese and hors d’oeuvres reception.  Friday provides the first tournament round of golf at Glaze Meadow, best ball format, and an exquisite four-course wine dinner at the award-winning Lodge restaurant.  Participants tee off on Saturday for the final tournament round at Big Meadow, Stableford format, followed by a barbecue awards luncheon.  Tee prizes, gifts, and gross & net prize payouts are all part of the event.

Lest you think it’s not a competition – this year’s tournament winners will win a VIP experience at the 2018 AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am. The prize includes two passes for Feb. 8th or Feb. 11th, parking and full access to a hospitality tent on the 18th fairway that features chef-prepared meals, open bar, cigars, etc.  This is one of the most popular events on the PGA TOUR, so this prize is huge!

ENTRY & DETAILS

  • Entry is $550 per team and includes a wine, cheese & hors d’oeuvres reception, two tournament rounds with cart, range balls each day, an exquisitely prepared four-course wine pairing dinner, BBQ awards luncheon, tee prizes & gifts, gross & net prize payouts and more!
  • Optional entry of $750 per couple includes full entry, plus one practice round with cart for two, and four breakfast vouchers for a full breakfast at Robert’s Pub.
  • Participants registered then unable to attend will be eligible for a full refund of tournament entry up to 30 days prior to the event.  No refunds after August 9, 2017.
  • Maximum course handicap is 30/Men and 40/Ladies
  • Gross & Net Divisions (the event will be pre-flighted based on combined player handicap index.  Tournament scoring will be on a gross and net basis for each flight.  Pairings based on handicaps (day one), and tournament position (day two).
  • Winnings are awarded in golf shop credits
  • Practice rounds are available for the special rate of $55 with cart and will be extended in conjunction with your travel.  Call Ryan Dunning at 541.595.1292 for practice round tee times.
  • Participants can secure a 15% discount off lodging at Black Butte Ranch.  A two-night minimum stay applies.  Options range from private Lodge rooms and 2-3 bedroom condos to 6 bedroom custom homes that can accommodate one, two or several couples.  Please call Amanda Golien at 866.681.1123 for reservations and information.

Register Online at BlackButteRanch.com.