Central Oregon Hiking Trails

From demanding full-day hikes to leisurely walks by the river, there’s a Central Oregon Hiking Trail for every adventurer

Pilot Butte State Park – Bend

EASY/MODERATE – 2-mile loop (nature trail and scenic viewpoint)
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.

Robert W. Sawyer Park – Bend

EASY – 45.2-acre park (nature park)
A large park stretching along both sides of the Deschutes River. Formerly a state park dedicated to the District in 1980. The park is connected by a hiking trail to Sawyer Uplands Neighborhood Park and River Glenn Natural Area. A footbridge over the river leads to the Deschutes River Trail and connections to First Street Rapids Park, Sawyer Uplands Park, and Archie Briggs Natural Area. The site is adjacent to the River’s Edge golf course. The park has a mix of mature pine and juniper. It is a popular viewing site for migratory and riparian birds and is listed on the Oregon Cascade Birding Tour route. The picnic site is spread out making it ideal for small to medium size groups.

Larkspur Trail – Bend

EASY – 1.75 miles
Beginning near the Bend Senior Center. This stretch of the trail meanders along an open canal in southeast Bend. You will see wildlife, juniper trees, rabbitbrush and alpine current. Dog stations are at each end of the trail This 1.75-mile trail ends at Pilot Butte State Park on Hwy. 20.

Shevlin Park – Canyon Rim Loop – Bend

EASY – 2.2 miles
Shevlin Park is a haven located less than three miles from downtown Bend and a perfect location for hiking, jogging, fishing, cross-country skiing and picnicking. There is an extensive trail and pathway system providing for both summer and winter uses. From Highway 97 in Bend turn west on Greenwood. It becomes Newport Avenue in downtown Bend. Follow Newport out for about 3 miles. You will see parking areas on both sides of the road. Aspen Hall is on the right and the main part of the park is on the left. The paved road through the park leads to several different picnic areas as well as trails.

Deschutes River Trail – Bend

The quintessential Central Oregon Hiking Trail, this one starts in Bend with many access points and parking areas. It winds its way along the Deschutes River, passing through Bend, Meadow Camp and behind the Seventh Mountain Resort. You will see a series of waterfalls including Lava Island, Big Eddy, Dillon and finally Benham Falls. Turning west at the Lava Lands Visitor Center also provides access to this trail. Follow the road on your left for approximately 3 miles to the picnic area. Walk across the footbridge for an easy half-mile walk to Benham Falls. The degree of difficulty is low and provides spectacular scenery of untamed rapids.

Benham Falls – Bend

EASY – 3 miles out and back
Five miles north of Sunriver, this hiking trail provides a spectacular scene of untamed rapids. From Bend follow Highway 97 south 11 miles and turn right at the Lava Lands Visitor Center. Follow the road on your left for approximately 3 miles to the parking and picnic area. Walk across the footbridge. Benham Falls is an easy half-mile walk down the road along the river. This trail continues for many miles passing by Dillon Falls and Lava Island Falls. Benham, Dillon, and Lava Island Falls also have parking areas accessible via Forest Service Rd 41, just past the Inn of the Seventh Mountain.

Day-Use Permit is required*

Lava Cast Forest – Bend / Sunriver

EASY – 1 mile 
Travel south on Highway 97. Turn East on Forest Service Road 9720-directly across the highway from the Sunriver exit. This is an unpaved road, which goes nearly 9 miles to the parking area at the Lava Cast Forest. The trail is an easy, paved, nine-tenths of a mile, which wanders through many examples of 7000-year-old lava tree cast formations. This road is snow-covered in winter.

Day-Use Permit is required*

Lava River Cave – Bend / Sunriver

EASY – 1 mile
Thirteen miles south of Bend on Highway 97 on the east side of the road is the largest un-collapsed lava tube in the state. It is about a mile in length and 100 feet deep in spots. The sandy bottom makes it an easy hike, and the Forest Service will rent lanterns to you for a small fee. There is a nominal entrance fee as well. The cave is closed from late fall through mid-April due to the hibernation of resident bats.

Day-Use Permit is required*

Newberry Obsidian Trail

EASY – 1 mile
Head south on Highway 97, approximately 22 miles, turn east at the East Lake and Paulina Lake sign. Continue about 15-miles to the obsidian flow. This is one of the largest obsidian flows in the world, formed about 1300 years ago during the most recent eruption of Newberry Volcano.
Day-Use Permit is required*

Paulina Creek

EASY – 6 to 8.5 miles
The Ogden National Recreation Trail will take you along Paulina Creek, with no fewer than 20 waterfalls. Travel south on Hwy 97 about 22 miles to Paulina and East Lake. Go east, about 1.5 miles to trailhead parking. The trail is 8.5 miles long (each way), accessible from McKay Crossing Campground, which shortens the trip by 2.5 miles. The parking area is on the east end of this hiking trail from the viewpoint at Paulina Falls.
Day-Use Permit is required*

Tumalo Falls – Bend

MODERATE – 5.5 miles
Tumalo Falls is a photographers dream. Lush forest, cascading water, easy access for all your gear. From Hwy 97 in Bend, turn west on Franklin. Follow the Scenic Highway through downtown Bend along Drake Park. Turn right on Galveston at the west end of the park, and follow this road out for eleven miles. Turn right over the bridge. The pavement ends but the road continues for an additional 3 miles to a parking area at the falls. There is a very short hiking trail up to the falls, which connects to some of the snow park areas and other trails. Road closed in winter Day-Use Permit is required*


Mt. Bachelor Summit Trail

EASY/MODERATE – 2.5 miles
Drive west on Cascade Lakes Highway for approximately 18 miles to Mt Bachelor’s first entrance at Sunrise Lodge. The 2.5-mile trail to the top of Mt. Bachelor is accessible in Summer and Fall and starts from the Sunrise Lodge area.
The trail begins just west of the Sunrise chairlift and winds around through the trees. The top portion of the trail above the top of Sunrise chair goes through the lava rock itself and has beautiful open views of Broken Top and the Three Sisters. From the top, at 9065 feet, you can see nearly all of the Cascade Range to the North, and the nearby lakes along the Cascade Lakes National Scenic Byway.

Green Lakes Trail

EASY/MODERATE  – 9 miles out and back
The Green Lakes hiking trail has its own parking lot across from the Sparks Lake meadow with a wonderful view of the north side of Mt. Bachelor. The trail winds along the Fall Creek through large pine trees and fields of lupine. You will see lots of small waterfalls. Follow the trail for 4.5 miles up to the Green Lakes, or cut off to the west after about 2 miles on the Moraine Lake trail, which is another couple of miles long. There is access to the South Sister Trail from the Green Lakes area.

Todd Lake Trail

EASY – about 2 miles
This popular route is the closest Cascade Lakes hiking trail to town, located just past Mt. Bachelor on the Cascade Lakes Scenic Byway. The trail is an easy walk around the lake with spectacular views of Mt. Bachelor along the way.

Ray Atkeson Memorial Trail 

EASY- 2.3-mile loop
Located at Sparks Lake, this trail is another easy hiking trail for folks of all ages. It takes you through some pretty cool lava rock flows that include sheer walls and deep chasms. If you take the trail clockwise, the best views of Sparks Lake and South Sister are waiting for you at the end.

The Badlands

EASY/MODERATE – Routes ranging from 5 to 15 miles
The Badlands wilderness area east of Bend is a great place to explore the Central Oregon Desert. Take Hwy 20 east about 20 miles. Turn north at the gravel pit, follow the road to the parking area.

Smith Rock State Park

EASY TO DIFFICULT – Varying routes and lengths
This area is a must-see in Central Oregon. Drive north on Highway 97 through Redmond to Terrebonne. Turn right (east) at the flashing light. Turn left on NE 1st Street and proceed 2 miles, turning left at the state park signs. The park is another 0.7 miles. The picnic area has beautiful views of the rock formations where people from all over the world come to climb. Numerous hiking trails suitable for everyone follow the river down into the Crooked River Canyon. The Misery Ridge hiking trail is a little tougher but well worth the walk.

Day-Use Permit is required*

Suttle Lake Trail | Near Black Butte Ranch

EASY – 3 miles
Suttle Lake is just a few miles west of Black Butte Ranch, and about 15 miles west of Sisters. Follow the signs off Highway 20 to Suttle Lake Resort, then to the Day Use area on the NE corner of the lake. The trail goes right along the lake through the backyard of someone’s campsite with plenty of access points. The hiking trail offers unrivaled mountain scenery.

Black Butte Trail | Black Butte Ranch

MODERATE – 2 miles
This hiking trail is 2 miles long going to the lookout station on top of Black Butte, at 6436 feet. The trail winds through open timber with wonderful views of the Three Sisters and Broken Top on the way up. On a clear day you can see nearly the entire Cascades Range! Take Highway 20 from Bend through Sisters to Forest Service Road 1110, near the Indian Ford Campground. Follow signs to the trail.
Day-Use Permit required*

Head Of Jack Creek | Near Sisters

EASY – 3 miles
Travel west on Hwy 20 through Sisters, approximately 15 miles. Turn north on Forest Service Road 12, for about 1.5 miles and then turn left on FS Road 1232. It is about 1 mile to the trailhead. This hiking trail loops through the headwater springs.

Day-Use Permit required*

Metolius River Trail | Near Black Butte Ranch

EASY – 12 miles
This is an excellent year-round hiking trail and several starting points are accessible. Huge artesian wells, the source of the Metolius River, and further downstream is the Wizard Falls Fish Hatchery. One trailhead starts from the Canyon Creek Campground off Forest Service Road 1420. You can also start at the Wizard Falls Hatchery. Total distance to Bridge 99 is three miles.

Day-Use Permit required*

Dee Wright Memorial Trail | Near Sisters

EASY – .5 miles
Located at McKenzie Pass on Highway 242, 15 miles west of Sisters. Beautiful view of the Cascade Mountains with a paved hiking trail through one of the most recent lava flows in the United States. The trail is about a half-mile long with interpretive signs along the path. It is closed in the winter.

For Additional Information Contact:

Central Oregon Welcome Center 541-389-8799
Lava Lands Visitor Center 541-593-2421
Bend-Ft. Rock Ranger District 541-383-4000
Sisters Ranger District 541-549-7700
Oregon State Parks 541-388-6055
Bend Parks & Recreation 541-389-7275
Fishing License, Fish & Wildlife 541-388-6363
Road Conditions, ODOT 800-977-6368
Emergency: 911

Broken Top Crater: A Lake with a View


Broken Top is one of Central Oregon’s most iconic mountains – it’s jagged peaks are recognizable from miles  away. Luckily for the adventure-bound folks who like to visit here, it’s also a very accessible peak with a unique reward at the top: a magnificent alpine lake.

The alpine lake in Broken Top’s crater doesn’t have a name – well, that’s not entirely true. It’s called “No Name Lake.” Maybe that’s because the lake itself is so indescribably beautiful that nobody could think of a perfectly accurate lake.

Our friends at the Outdoor Project have a great Broken Top Crater blog post with some amazing photos and all the info you need on the hike.

Looking for something a little more family-friendly? Check out these shorter, kid-approved hikes with equally as amazing views. Or, check out our larger list of Central Oregon hiking trails and find one that fits into your schedule and level of difficulty.

 Broken Top2_rs

Plenty of Mountain Bike Trails Open While Phil’s Area is Closed


Some of Central Oregon’s most popular mountain biking trails will be closed on weekdays this summer as commercial thinning and mowing operations happen in the Deschutes National Forest to reduce the risk of wildfires. (Full access to the trails is open Saturdays and Sundays.)

That’s the bad news.

The good news is that there’s still HUNDREDS of miles of trails available to ride (even at the Phil’s complex,) and the closure is a good time for you to explore some of our less-crowded and not-so-well-known trails throughout the region.

Funner Trail – Courtesy Bend Trails

The trails at the Wanoga Sno-Park area are a great option during the closure period. Trails like Funner, Tiddlywinks and Tyler’s Traverse are among some of the most popular trails among locals for good reason. They’re fast and flowy – but more technical, so probably not the best rides for many beginners. (The new Catch & Release Trail is a good trail in that area for beginners – it connects the new Forest Service Welcome Center and other trails.)

More options outside of Bend include:

Horse Butte (southeast of Bend)

Cline Butte and Maston (Between Bend & Redmond on the old Bend-Redmond Highway)

Peterson Ridge (Sisters)

The Radlands (Redmond)

Lower 66/Round Mountain/Lookout Mountain (Prineville)

Grey Butte/Smith Rock (North of Redmond)

Not sure where to ride? Give our friends at Cog Wild Mountain Bike Tours & Shuttles a call. Beginning May 7th, Cog offers daily shuttles to Wanoga, Swampy and Dutchman Flat Sno-Parks, for the long and fun rides downhill into town.

Local shops like Pine Mountain Sports and The Hub Cyclery offer regularly-scheduled group rides are a fun way to learn the trails with locals. Pine Mountain’s “Dirt Divas” program is a hugely popular women-only group ride that attracts dozens of riders.

cog wild shuttles


Central Oregon Mountain Biking Trails

Mountain Biking in Bend, Oregon
courtesy Cog Wild

Two-wheeled Fun for Everyone

From magazine spreads to filtered Instagram images, Central Oregon is making a name for itself in mountain biking. Consider this: More than 300 miles of linked singletrack (mountain biker talk for biking trails that are only wide enough for a single rider) is so close to town that many of the riders actually ride to the trails from town (or from Pine Mountain Sports, where a full fleet of Trek and Santa Cruz rentals are available.) And just outside Bend, you’ll find another 700-some miles of diverse mountain bike trails with amazing scenery. Add to that Mt. Bachelor’s new lift-served downhill mountain bike park and cross country mountain bike trail system that will be ready in for Summer 2015 and, well, the “hub” of mountain biking in the U.S. is right here in Central Oregon.

Phil's Trail Map

Paulina Peak – Newberry Crater | 36 miles SE of Bend
20 miles
Aerobically strenuous, technically intermediate
This underrated Central Oregon mountain biking trail starts at the Paulina Lake Campground with a tough 3 mile, 1,600-foot climb but is very scenic, offering views of Paulina and East lakes and the Cascades. Be sure to pick up a day-use pass because the ride is within a national monument. This is some high-altitude riding with the trail taking you up to 7,600 feet.

Gray Butte\Smith Rock | Terrebonne
9 to 12 mile loops
Aerobically strenuous, technically intermediate
This area north of Redmond in Terrebonne offers a diverse selection of trails. The riding within Smith Rock State Park has everything from pavement to gravel to buff singletrack and loose rocks on sidehill trails. Much of this area is busy during the day with hikers so be alert. The Gray Butte area offers some strenuous riding with some great views of Smith Rock and the Cascades. Both of these Central Oregon mountain biking trails are best ridden in Spring and Fall as it can get pretty hot out there in the summer months.

Phil’s Trail Network | Bend
Lengths vary
Moderately aerobic, technically easy to advanced
The Phil’s Trail complex is the most popular Central Oregon mountain biking trail area for locals and visitors alike. From the main parking lot, which is just minutes from downtown Bend, you can access hundreds of miles of trails for riders of every ability level. Most of the trails, including Ben’s and Kent’s Trails are fast, flowy singletrack but the are includes a couple of technical areas on C.O.D., Voodoo and Grand Slam. Several local bike shops do group rides in the area as well. Loops can range from 4 miles to more than 20 depending on how far up you want to go.

Deschutes River Trail | Bend
13.8 miles (one way to Sunriver)
Aerobically e
asy to moderate, technically easy to intermediate
This is a great trail to introduce yourself to what Central Oregon mountain biking is all about. It’s a pretty easy ride suitable for families, but it offers enough of a challenge that it’s a favorite among experienced riders as well. It’s a scenic out and back to Sunriver that follows the Deschutes River as it cuts through open meadows and a lava field with amazing views of class IV rapids and waterfalls.

The Radlands | Redmond
5 miles of singletrack in two loops
Aerobically asy/intermediate, technically intermediate/advanced
Here, 30 miles of new Central Oregon mountain biking trails are planned, but only about 5 miles  of singletrack are done and ready to ride. A couple of short loops – one a little harder than the other – are a fun alternative to the Phil’s system, especially in the spring and fall. Plenty of double track trails are also available now in the area, but be sure to have a map as they aren’t well marked. The views of Smith Rock, the Three Sisters and surrounding desert are worth the drive north from Bend.

Horse Butte | Bend
Distances vary by loop
Aerobically easy, technically intermediate
This is a popular riding Central Oregon mountain bike trail system in the late fall, winter and early spring as its wide open landscape gets plenty of sun and rarely holds on to the snow that might fall there. The Coyote Loop Trail combined with the Arnold Ice Cave Trail is a fun 12-mile ride. It features a little bit of climbing, but lots of rolling, curvy singletrack with some lava rock to negotiate. The highlight is halfway through and a stop at the Boyd Cave, an 1,800-foot long lava tube. Trails can be connected to make the loops longer or shorter.

Horse Ridge | 20 miles East of Bend
Loop distances vary
Aerobically strenuous, technically advanced

When the snow flies, mountain bikers flock to Horse Ridge, the perfect winter Central Oregon mountain biking trail. Flowing singletrack cuts through juniper bushes and trees and over lava rocks – lots of lava rocks, making this ride a fun challenge. Like most of the biking complexes in the area, different trails can be put together to extend your time in the saddle.

Edison-Lava Trail | 23 Miles SW of Bend
21 miles (out and back)
Aerobically strenuous, technically advanced
More than 2,000 feet of climbing await skilled riders in a fun, but technical out and back.  The reward – a dip in Lava Lake and a beer at the lodge.

Flagline Trail | 22 miles SW of Bend
Distances vary
Aerobically strenuous, technically intermediate to advanced
One of the best Central Oregon mountain bike trails also happens to have one of the shortest seasons. Because of its elevation, it’s usually only open mid-summer (in fact, part is closed until mid-August to protect an elk calving area.) You can do a shorter counter clockwise loop around Tumalo Mountain or continue down toward Bend connecting with one of several trails for the classic 20+ mile “Bachelor to Bend” ride. Cog Wild Mountain Bike Tours & Shuttles offers a lift up the hill during the summer so you don’t have to worry about going back for your car.

McKenzie River Trail | 53 miles West of Bend
26 miles (one way)
oderately strenuous, technically easy to advanced
The McKenzie River Trail might just be the one Central Oregon mountain bike trail to ride if you had only one trail to ride. It’s west of the Cascades – on the wetter side – so the scenery looks more like a rain forest than high desert. The trail cuts through a lush old growth forest filled with Douglas firs, moss and ferns that overlook the McKenzie River. A good mix of fast, flowing singletrack and rooted technical sections take you to some amazing views of waterfalls and the river.

Shevlin Park | Bend
4.8 miles
Aerobically easy to moderate, technically intermediate
Just outside the city limits of Bend, Shevlin is a popular trail to do on its own or to start a longer ride heading up to and connecting with the forest service trails like Mrazek. The trail around the rim of the park is a short little loop where you’ll likely see a lot joggers and hikers. It’s a perfect ride to introduce your kids to Central Oregon mountain biking trails as it’s relatively flat for them and scenic for you.

Wanoga Complex Trails | 15 miles West of Bend
Distances vary
Moderate to strenuous, technically intermediate to advanced
This growing Central Oregon mountain biking complex (new trails are opening each year) south of the Cascade Lakes Scenic bikeway is quickly becoming a favorite among locals. The trails start near the sledding hill and warming huts east of the park entrance. “Funner” is a fun little downhill right out of the gate that can be paried with “Tiddlywinks” and some others for a loop staying on that side of the road or, if you have a shuttle car, you can hook up with Storm King, cross the highway and access the Phil’s Trail complex back into town.

Maston Area MTB Trails | About 10 miles from Bend between Tumalo and Eagle Crest
10 to 15 mile loop options
Aerobically easy and technically intermediate
An increasingly popular Central Oregon mountain biking area, especially in the off season, Maston offers a few different loop options on singletrack through ancient junipers. The high-desert setting also provides plenty of good views along with some diverse trails.

For current trail conditions and reports, visit the Central Oregon Trail Alliance website