Run the Deschutes River Trail

Bend, Oregon

Sep 12, 2013
Outside Magazine
Drake Park in Bend, Oregon

Drake Park in Bend, Oregon    Photo: Peter Kunazs via Shutterstock

Lace up your trailrunners for the relatively level Upper Deschutes River trail south of Bend, which slaloms along the pristine river past frothy white waterfalls and jagged black lava flows for 8.32 miles. In the fall, placid pools between Class V rapids reflect yellow aspens and orange willows, with the occasional view of conical Mount Bachelor rising above the meadows and forest. The dusty earth makes for soft footfalls and there’s just enough twists and rock dodging and to keep things interesting. Rest your searing lungs before you head back at the Benham Falls overlook, a bird’s-eye view of the 100-yard-long maelstrom.

BEST TIME TO GO: Early October, when the riverside willows flare gold.

ROUTE: Head south out of Bend on Century Drive and turn left to and take a left to Meadow Camp Trail Head. To shuttle the trail, leave a vehicle at Benham Falls Campground off Forest Service Road 4100.

SAKE TO ME: Kick back beside the open-flame hearth on the patio at Dojo in downtown Bend. Order the Steamed Buns—delectable pork belly, tart kimchee, and cucumber wrapped in a steamed bun. Wash them down with whatever they have on tap from Boneyard Beer, the Bend brewery that is devouring market share from longtime stalwart Deschutes Brewery.