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Deschutes River Trail

When locals talk about the scenic Deschutes River Trail, they’re typically referring to one of two trails that line the Deschutes River—but which are disconnected from each other. Either way, you’ll find unique landscapes and plenty to love about each trail.

The northernmost of the two major sections begins in the heart of Bend and covers about 12 miles while meandering through the city’s urban landscapes, heading into a rimrock canyon, and passing under a canopy of ponderosa pine trees. Broadly speaking, this stretch of trail runs from Riley Ranch Nature Reserve in northern Bend to a footbridge just south of the Old Mill District; several footbridges along the way let hikers and trail runners cross the river to create loops and shorten their route as necessary. Occasional Cascade peaks provide a powerful backdrop against the cityscapes below.

The second of the two most popular Deschutes River Trails sits closer to Sunriver and offers a more remote experience away from the hustle and bustle of Bend. This stretch, popular with hikers and mountain bikers, covers lava flows, old-growth pine forests, waterfalls, and raging rapids in the Deschutes River—like Big Eddy (popular with whitewater rafters), Dillon Falls, Benham Falls, and Lava Falls. This loop totals about 17 miles round-trip, and several trailheads make it easy to choose the right length for you.

Open Season


Dog Friendly and/or Leash Rules

Leashed dogs are permitted on some sections of the trail in Bend; on the southernmost section, dogs are permitted but must leashed between May 15 and Sept. 15.

Best time to visit

Year-round; the southernmost section may be periodically covered in snow Dec.-March.

Don’t Miss

Dillon Falls and Benham Falls showcase the power of the Deschutes River as it passes through rocky river canyons and lava flows.

Fees or Pass Needed

No passes or fees are required to hike the Deschutes River Trail sections in Bend; a Forest Pass ($5 per day pass or $30 per annual pass) or America the Beautiful pass ($80 per annual pass) is accepted for the southernmost section.


Horses and bikes are prohibited on the Bend-based Deschutes River Trail—and are prohibited on certain sections of the trail closer to Sunriver.






Parking is available at various trailheads on both stretches of the Deschutes River Trail.


In Bend, a flat, paved (wheelchair-accessible) stretch of the Deschutes River Trail can be accessed at the Old Mill District—roughly one mile south of downtown Bend via NW Wall St., SW Industrial Way, and SW Bond St.

For the southernmost stretch, the Benham Falls West Trailhead (a popular jumping-off point for that portion of the path) is 13 miles south of Bend via SW Century Drive, Conklin Road/Forest Road 41, and Forest Road 400.

Other stories

More inspiring stories, adventures, and tips & tricks for planning and experiencing the best Central Oregon has to offer.

  • Deschutes River is a Central Oregon Playground For All
    Deschutes River is a Central Oregon Playground For All

    You can hear them before you see them. About 30 four-legged endurance athletes chomping at the bit for another chance to prove their worth and provide you with an ear-to-ear grin that will last an entire day.

  • Outward Bound in the City: Central Oregon’s 5 Best Urban Hikes
    Outward Bound in the City: Central Oregon’s 5 Best Urban Hikes

    Hiking in Central Oregon can take you deep into the wilderness, far away from worry and stress. But sometimes all you need is a quick break from reality…just a half hour or so outside in nature, on a trail, alone with your thoughts (or with your dog, husband and two kids.) There are hundreds of hikes and trails available in and around Bend, Oregon and Sunriver, Oregon. These “Urban Hikes” are the perfect remedy to slow down our all-too-busy lives.