Skip to main content

See also:

Five beautiful hiking destinations in Central Oregon you don't want to miss

Smith Rock State Park is one place in Oregon you don't want to miss.
Smith Rock State Park is one place in Oregon you don't want to miss.
Gary R. Burzell

Living in Central Oregon is special in many ways, but in some ways it is a difficult place to live. Why, you may ask? Well the area is just so beautiful, and there are so many fantastic places to go hiking, that it can be difficult to decide where to go for some outdoor fun on any given day. However, I am here to help with that!

Below you will see descriptions of just some of the fantastic places in Central Oregon where you can go hiking, and enjoy beautiful scenery, wildlife and more!

Of course these are just a few places where you can go hiking in Central Oregon, for more information on any of these hikes, please be sure to visit the Oregon Outdoor Activities website.

Tumalo Falls
Tumalo Falls Gary R. Burzell

Tumalo Falls

Are you looking for a good hike in the Bend, Oregon area with views of some fantastic waterfalls? Well if you are grab your favorite hiking gear and head out to Tumalo Falls!

View a photo gallery of Tumalo Falls.

Located in the Deschutes National Forest, Tumalo Creek flows into the Deschutes River just north of Bend. Tumalo Falls is a day use area on Tumalo Falls Road, 12 miles west of Bend. To get there follow Franklin Ave. west from downtown Bend through the park to Galveston Road, which then turns into Skyliner Drive (paved). Immediately after crossing Tumalo Creek, turn left onto Road 4603 (gravel). Drive 2.5 miles to the Tumalo Falls parking area. The road is closed in winter, but if you are up to it, many folks snowshoe in for some fantastic views of the area.

For more information on this hike, visit the Oregon Outdoor Activities website.

Smith Rock State Park
Smith Rock State Park Gary R. Burzell

Smith Rock State Park

Smith Rock State Park is probably one of my favorite places in Central Oregon. I have been there several times, and it never seems to look the same. Different lighting, different seasons make Smith Rock a great place to visit.

View a photo gallery of Smith Rock State Park.

If you enjoy scenic views of deep river canyons or rock climbing, Smith Rock State Park is the place for you. Smith Rock is located in central Oregon's high desert near the towns of Redmond, Terrebonne and Bend. Its sheer cliffs of tuff and basalt are ideal for rock climbing of all difficulty levels. There are several thousand climbs in the park, more than a thousand are bolted routes.

Smith Rock also offers miles of hiking and mountain biking trails, featuring the meandering Crooked River and views of the volcanic peaks of Oregon's Cascade Range. Along your trip through the canyon, you might see golden eagles, prairie falcons, mule deer, river otter and beaver.

For more information on this hike, visit the Oregon Outdoor Activities website.

The Deschutes River Trail
The Deschutes River Trail Gary R. Burzell

The Deschutes River Trail

Looking for a nice hike along the Deschutes River? Why not go hiking along Central Oregon's beautiful Deschutes River Trail?

The Deschutes River Trail is an extensive trail system that follows the Deschutes River in the Bend, Oregon area.

View a photo gallery of the Deschutes River Trail.

The Deschutes River Trail is a series of three parallel trails that wind through pine forests, lava flows and riparian zones along the waters of the Deschutes River, located in Central Oregon.

The trail can be accessed from Meadow Day Use Area, and the following day use areas along Forest Road 41, Lava Island, Big Eddy, Aspen, Dillon Falls, Slough, Benham Falls West, and Benham Falls East. The Deschutes River Trail can also be accessed from several places in Bend, Oregon, and the town of Sunriver as well.

For more information on this hike, visit the Oregon Outdoor Activities website.

John Day Fossil Beds National Monument
John Day Fossil Beds National Monument Gary R. Burzell

John Day Fossil Beds National Monument

If you are looking for someplace to visit in Central and east-central Oregon to hike and do some sightseeing, then the John Day Fossil Beds National Monument may just be what you are seeking.

John Day Fossil Beds National Monument located in east-central Oregon, is located within the John Day River basin and is managed by the National Park Service.

View a photo gallery of the Painted Hills in the John Day Fossil Beds National Monument.

The area is known for its well-preserved layers of fossil plants and mammals that lived in the region millions of years ago during the late Eocene, and the late Miocene periods. The monument consists of three geographically separate units, the Clarno Unit, the Painted Hills Unit, and the Sheep Rock Unit. The three units are difficult to do in a single day, but is possible with an very early start. However you may not be able to fully explore every area if you try to visit them all in one day.

For more information on this hike, visit the Oregon Outdoor Activities website.

Hike from Todd Lake to Green Lakes
Hike from Todd Lake to Green Lakes Gary R. Burzell

Hike from Todd Lake to Green Lakes

If you are looking for a beautiful hike in the Three Sisters Wilderness near Bend, Oregon, perhaps you should try the day hike from Todd Lake to Green Lakes.

The trail meanders through alpine meadows and gives hikers fantastic views of Broken Top Mountain, and the South Sister.

View a photo gallery of the Todd Lake to Green Lakes hike.

The hike from Todd Lake to Green lakes is a great alternative to the Broken Top Trail because you do not need a high-clearance vehicle to get to the trailhead. After parking in the Todd Lake parking area, walk up the trail toward Todd Lake to the wilderness registration station, and you will see the sign that marks the start of the Todd Lake Trail.

After you complete your Three Sisters Wilderness self-registration, you can just follow the trail and start climbing the slope east of the lake. While climbing you will have some views of the Todd Lake, as well as the surrounding mountains, so be sure to bring your camera.

The trail will level off after about a mile and you will pass through some meadows, and from there you will have fantastic views of Broken Top and South Sister as you walk along the forested trail.

After a mile or so the trail will cross Soda Creek and you will enter a basin that is south of Broken Top. The Soda Creek Trail will cross from the left at a junction that is well marked, and you will continue straight ahead in the direction of Broken Top and Green Lakes.

You will cross Crater Creek and start to climb toward Cayuse Crater, which is a red cinder cone on the south ridge of Broken Top, and the trail will end at the junction with the Broken Top Trail. At the junction you will turn left and continue on to Green Lakes. The signage at the junctions along the trail are well marked, and you will want to go in the direction that points to Green Lakes.

Most of the hike into the Green Lakes is uphill, but does not involve real strenuous climbing, however what makes this a challenging hike is the total mileage involved, which is about 12 miles round trip, which is why I call this a difficult hike.

For more information on this hike, visit the Oregon Outdoor Activities website.