Bend Things to Do

  • Lava River Cave Ceiling
    Lava River Cave Ceiling
    by jmpncsu
  • Entrance to the Cave
    Entrance to the Cave
    by jmpncsu
  • Tumalo Falls
    Tumalo Falls
    by jmpncsu

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    Tumalo Falls

    by jmpncsu Written Jan 13, 2014

    Tumalo Falls is a beautiful 97-foot waterfall in Deschutes National Forest, about 12 miles west of Bend. There is a small fee of $5 per vehicle, payable at self-serve kiosks near the parking lot. An overlook at the end of the parking lot provides views of the waterfall straight on from a distance, or you can hike a short ways along North Fork Trail to view the waterfall from the side and top.

    In addition to Tumalo Falls, there are a number of other very scenic waterfalls within a short distance. Hiking about a mile or so up North Fork Trail past Tumalo Falls, are two more very scenic waterfalls - Double Falls and Upper Tumalo Falls. There are even more waterfalls further up the trail, but we didn't have time to explore further when we visited. Less than a mile along Bridge Creek Trail leads to another nice waterfall - Bridge Creek Falls. Bridge Creek Trail, which heads west from Tumalo Falls along its namesake creek, runs through the Bend Municipal Watershed. Free watershed permits are available at a self-serve kiosk at the trailhead and must be carried by hikers. To protect the watershed, dogs, bikes, horses, and camping on this trail.

    Tumalo Falls Tumalo Falls Double Falls Upper Tumalo Falls Bridge Creek Falls
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    Lava River Cave

    by jmpncsu Written Jan 10, 2014

    Lava River Cave is the longest known lava tube in Oregon. Located in Newberry National Volcanic Monument within Deschutes National Forest, it's about 10 miles south of Bend. There is a day-use fee of $5 per vehicle to visit that is payable at the small office. They also rent propane lanterns for $5 - I would highly recommend renting one, unless you bring your own. We started off in the cave, just using camping headlamps and while we could see well enough to not trip and fall, we couldn't really see much of the cave. After a couple of minutes, we decided to head back and get a lantern and we were glad that we did as we could see a lot more of the cave. It is strongly recommended to wear a jacket and warm clothes when exploring the cave. Underground, it's about 42°F year round, regardless of the temperature above. The total length of the cave is about a mile and takes an hour and a half or so to fully explore. The initial descent into the cave is down more than 100 stairs to an area with lots of fallen boulders, caused by freezing water in the ceiling. After that, the cave opens up and passes under US-97 (a sign indicates when you are crossing under the highway). One of the most interesting features of the cave is a about half way through - the Sand Gardens. Individual grains of sand are carried into the cave by water and deposited on the floor in some interesting shapes. Past the Sand Gardens, the cave gets narrower until you reach the end, where a fence indicates you must turn around. I'm a little claustrophobic and would not be able to do any caving that required belly-crawling or other tight squeezes. Besides having to duck down a few times, I was able to stand up the entire time and had no issues. This is definitely a unique cave and worth a stop if you are in Bend.

    Lave River Cave Entrance to the Cave Lava River Cave Ceiling Sand Gardens Lava River Cave Entrance
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    CAMPING IN CENTRAL OREGON

    by DoloresW Written Feb 11, 2013

    I AM SO SORRY YOU GOT SUCH POOR INFORMATION. BEND IS SURROUNDED BY BEAUTIFUL CAMPGROUNDS WITH PLENTY OF WATER AS WELL AS SOME WITH A DECENT AMOUNT OF PRIVACY. THE HIGH LAKES (HEAD UP CENTURY DRIVE) ARE NUMEROUS AND CAN FIT THE LIKES AND NEEDS OF MOST ANY CAMPER. SOME ALLOW BOATS FOR SKING AND TUBING WHILE OTHERS ALLOW ONLY CRAFT WITHOUT ANY MOTORS. MOST HAVE DECENT FISHING AND THE SCENERY IS AMAZING. THERE ARE ALSO TRAILS FOR BIKING, HIKING , OR HORSEBACK RIDING. SOME WHERE THE MOUNTAIN WILDFLOWERS ARE ABUNDANT. YOU CAN EVEN TAKE THE SKI LIFT AT MT. BACHELOR IN THE SUMMER TO THE TOP, THE VIEW THERE IS SPECTACULAR. BEAUTIFUL PINES AND MOUNTAINS AS FAR AS THE EYE CAN SEE. HOPE YOU ENJOY YOUR TIME HERE, AND RETURN MANY TIMES. THERE ARE SO MANY BEAUTIFUL THINGS TO SEE AND DO HERE.

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    DRAKE PARK

    by mtncorg Updated Apr 4, 2011

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    Smack dab in the middle of Bend lies the Deschutes River backed up by a small irrigation dam just north of the downtown. The lake formed is called the Mirror Pond and it is home to many ducks, geese and swans. Houses occupy the west banks, but along the east bank a beautiful park - named for the City Founder - serves as the inner city living room. Walk along the paths and watch the families and the birds play. In the distance, snowy volcanic peaks loom.

    North Sister and the Mirror Pond - Drake Park
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    • Family Travel

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    TUMALO FALLS

    by mtncorg Updated Apr 4, 2011

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    About 15 miles west of Bend is the dramatic 97 foot high Tumalo Falls. Tumalo Creek drops in churning fashion over basaltic lava cliffs. There is a picnic area and viewpoint below and at the crest of the falls. Purple pentstemon glow out of the lava cliffs, brightening the picture and slowing the photographing hiker's progress.

    See my Travelogue for pictures of some of the pentstemon at Tumalo Falls.

    Tumalo Falls
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    SOUTH SISTER

    by mtncorg Updated Apr 4, 2011

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    A stiff hike - 11 miles roundtrip and 4900 feet of elevation gain will take you the the top of Oregon's third highest mountain - South Sister, 10358 feet high. From Devils Lake Trailhead on the Cascade Lakes HIghway - 6.5 miles past Mt Bachelor - you push up a forested gully for the first 1.5 miles before emerging onto a large sandy plain. South Sister looms ahead and Moraine Lake is to your right. Crossing the plain is great as South Sister gets bigger with each step. Then a mile of uphill grind to a dusty saddle lying between Lewis and Clark Glaciers. Another sandy mile up and you reach the vast crater rim. Follow the rim on the east edge to the summit. From up here you can see from Mt McLoughlin, south of Crater Lake, to Mt Rainier, far to the north.

    See my travellogue for a virtual climb.

    South Sister rising high above the main Green Lake
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    "Dog Scooter" to Benham Falls

    by Odanuki Updated May 25, 2007

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    Just east of Circle 7 in Sunriver, enter the Forrest Service Road, park in the little lot provided, and hike or bike the 3 miles north to Benham Falls. Or, if you own sled dogs, bring them along with your scooter or bike and take them for a training run. (only if it's below 40 degrees)
    Head down the main road and stay to the left and the trail soon finds the Deschutes River. Follow it to the Falls. It's a six mile round trip with great scenery and if you're lucky - some local wildlife. See you on the early morning trail!
    Click on the pictures to get a better look. Two pictures were taken 2 miles up the trail at a scenic overlook. One in the parking lot after our run. (PS: My dogs are trained sled dogs with proper harnesses and we train regularly.)

    Boots and 7 on the trail to Bennham Falls Scenic overlook on trail to Bennham Falls Resting after a good run
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    BROKEN TOP

    by mtncorg Updated Jul 2, 2004

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    Broken Top pushes itself barely into the 'climb' category from the 'hiking' side. Most of it is just a hard hike, but there are a couple of spots where very sure feet and your hands might come in handy. From the main Green Lake, you climb on bootpaths to Broken Top's long western ridge. Atop this ridge, you simply wander upwards, slowed mainly by the everexpanding views. One small 10 foot section of rock needs to be overcome en route and a narrow airy traverse of the summit block before easy scrambles take you to the summit. The cliffs to the east drop vertically down to the Crook Glacier far below. To the west, the Three Sisters are glorious. Mt Bachelor is in the immediate southeast. Coming back you can retrace your steps or - with good gaiters, balance, boots and trekking poles - you can ski the vast scree slopes. Cowabunga!!

    Broken Top from atop Lewis Glacier on South Sister
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    DESCHUTES RIVER

    by mtncorg Written Jul 2, 2004

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    This is the middle of three great northwards flowing river systems in Oregon - all are tributaries of the Columbia River. The Deschutes is a lifeline for the arid fileds and communities of central Oregon. An oasis among the juniper and lava fields. In Bend, the river is front and center forming the Mirror Pond along Drake Park. North from the city, the river carves its way through basaltic hills to the valley of Tumalo below. Here, at Tumalo State Park, you can enjoy the river and its meadows in stark contrast to the arid landscape beyond. Trout abound awaiting that special fly.

    Along the banks of the Deschutes River
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    • Fishing
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    GREEN LAKES

    by mtncorg Written Jul 2, 2004

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    A classic 8.8 mile round trip will take you from the Green Lakes Trailhead on the Cascade Lakes Highway - 4.4 miles past Mt Bachelor - to the beautiful alpine basin of Green Lakes. The trail follows along the west and then the east side of Fall Creek whihc emanates out of the main Green Lake. You pass several waterfalls in the first sections of the trail and then a huge flow of lava towers along the west banks of the creek for the last couple of miles. The areas around the lakes are gorgeous with South Sister rising high on the west; Broken Top on the east.

    Falls Creek cutting between forest and lava beds
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    • Fishing
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    SMITH ROCKS STATE PARK

    by mtncorg Written Jul 2, 2004

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    20 miles north of Bend, along the Crooked River, Smith Rocks is one of the premier rock climbing areas within the US. 3 miles of cliffs over 300 feet high tower above the calm waters below. You don't have to be a rockjock (jockette) to enjoy the scenery here. Trails skirt along the riverbank giving you a firsthand look at the action above you. Stairways give access to Misery Ridge for even the hiker and you can get a grand glimpse in to the 'mouth' of the Monkey Face - a huge rock tower on the west side of the Park.

    Spires of Smith Rocks rise over the Crooked River
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    UPPER FALLS ON TUMALO CREEK

    by mtncorg Written Jul 2, 2004

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    Hiking above the upper viewpoint of Tumalo Falls will take you to several other waterfalls on Tumalo Creek. At 0.8 miles, you come to two 20 foot drops - Double Falls; at 1.7 miles, 50 foot Upper Falls. In the next 1.5 miles, you come on several more smaller falls before reaching the Spring Creek trail junction. As you walk, the sound of rushing waters is never far.

    Double Falls on Tumalo Creek
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    MT BACHELOR - FINEST SKIING IN THE NORTHWEST

    by mtncorg Written Jul 2, 2004

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    Mt Bachelor shares some similarities with Mammoth Mountain in the eastern Sierra of California. Both are located on federal Forest Service land. Both are volcanoes and both are ringed with ski lifts providing all levels of skiing terrain. Unlike Mammoth, Bachelor is not close ot any town nor is there on-the-hill accomodations. The mountian is ensconsed in Forest Service land is adjacent to some of the most pristine wilderness area in Oregon. Bend is a fairly short 20 mile drive away to the northeast. The aproach road is an easy enough road, though people tend to drive to fast lulled by the simpliciity of the fairly straight road and they discover the icy patches a bit to late. The fact that there is no on-sit rooms for visitors has meant the huge growth seen in both Bend and its resort neighbor, Sunriver to its south.
    On Bachelor, you can ski most of the mountain, shutlled about by high-speed lifts enabling you to clock some quite serious vertical. From the summit, you can see a large part of central Oregon and Cascade peaks from the rim of Crater Lake to the south, alll the way to Mt Adams in Washington state in the north. Immediately in front of you to the northwest is the breathtaking view of the Three Sisters - three separate glacially-bedecked volcanoes of over 10000 feet - and Broken Top - a remnant of an extinct volcano - are incredible. Also, from the top, grand skiing adventures await - whether it is the freefall drops down the inside of the extinct crater walls on the northside or the backcountry skiing on the south or west.
    Weather permitting, the summit chair runs throughout the summ giving the non-climber or non-skier a chance to experience what all of the hoopla is about.

    Three Sisters and Broken Top from Bachelor crater
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    • Skiing and Boarding

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    Cave it!

    by butterfly_girl Written Apr 18, 2004

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    Bend has these amazing lava caves scattered throughout; some are hidden and some are better known. You can take a lantern or flashlight and go inside these caves and explore the hidden treasures. If you are not afraid of the dark, you can turn off your flashlight or lantern and just sit for a while in complete and utter darkness. It is a cool experience.

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    Beautiful Smith Rock State Park

    by butterfly_girl Written Apr 18, 2004

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    For scenic beauty, hiking, deep river canyons and rock climbing this state park is a must see. When I went to visit this park, I was blown away at the beauty of this place that I had never even heard of before!

    Smith Rock, Oregon
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    • Mountain Climbing
    • Adventure Travel

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