Bend, Oregon: Hike, bike, kayak, float, fish, shop, dine, and listen to music. All within the greater Bend area, and most right here within the city limits. True. Here’s your snapshot to the Deschutes River, which flows though the heart of Bend – and carries us with it.
Biking & Hiking
The Deschutes River Trail allows nearly uninterrupted access to the beautiful waterway that is the heart of the community. The Bend Metro Park & Recreation District is at work building a fully connected river trail between Tumalo State Park and Meadow Camp. Once complete, the trail system will encompass nineteen miles of trails. The current trail system is divided into five “reaches:” Awbrey, River Run, Pioneer, Old Mill and South Canyon. Read more and download a trail map here.
Originating from spring-fed headwaters in the Cascade Mountains, the Deschutes River ends its northward journey at the Columbia River, offering an astonishing 252 miles of fishable waters. The Deschutes offers everything from small stream fishing for Oregon’s native Redside Rainbow Trout to epic multi-day float trips for trophy trout and Pacific Steelhead. Read more and find outfitters and supply stores here.
Hot? Put your inner-tube, kayak, canoe, paddleboard or air mattress into the Deschutes at Riverbend Park and float your way cool. Take out at Tumalo Creek Kayak & Canoe or portage the bridge and float all the way into Drake Park in downtown Bend.
Kayaking, Canoeing & Whitewater Rafting
For a more thrilling water ride, the Deschutes River offers whitewater opportunities for novices and experts alike. Guides such as Ouzel Outfitters and Sun Country Tours will take you down the river on adventures lasting a few hours or a few days, including the Big Eddie Thriller.
Two outdoor venues on the Deschutes River draw national acts and crowds galore: the Les Schwab Amphitheater and Drake Park. Paula Cole gave a free performance in Drake Park last week and we’ll see the likes of John Cougar Mellencamp and Clint Black at the amphitheater in August. See below for a complete list of upcoming performances.
Dining & Shopping
The Old Mill District is a splendid resurrection of land once belonging to logging operations. Over time, the industry that most brightly fuels and finances life in Bend has evolved from logging to tourism. No more clearly is that reflected than at The Shops at the Old Mill, where locals and visitors flock for food and shopping with a view. Some of my favorites in this district include: Anthony’s Home Port, Café Yumm!, Greg’s Grill, REI, Ann Taylor Loft, Banana Republic and the Regal Cinemas. This list is only the beginning. Find your favorites here.
UPCOMING RIVERSIDE EVENTS
Not a week goes by without one or more events smack dab on the Deschutes River. Here are some of my favorites:
July 29, August 5, and August 12: Munch and Music
Enjoying its 20th anniversary, the Drake Park Munch & Music free concert series continues to be a summertime favorite. This weekly summer series provides the community of Central Oregon with a great chance to strengthen their bond while enjoying the arts, outstanding food and free music. July 29: Orgone; August 5: Jah Sun; August 12: Crazy 8’s.
August 1: Free Summer Sunday Concert Series: Stolen Sweets
Swing/jazz: Listen to free live music at the Les Schwab Amphitheater in the Old Mill District as the Deschutes River floats happily by. Join a family friendly afternoon of great music from 2:30-4:30pm. Bring a picnic, the kids, your dog and some sunscreen for a fun filled afternoon in the sun.
August 5: Michael Franti & Spearhead
Michael Franti & Spearhead bring their blend of hip hop, funk, reggae, jazz and rock back to Bend for a night of much jumping up and down. In concert at the Les Schwab Amphitheater in the Old Mill District. Ticketed.
August 7: Race for the River
Grab your paddle-boards, canoes, kayaks, rafts, floaties, friends and dogs to support the Deschutes River Conservancy by participating in the first annual Race for the River in Riverbend Park. $15 per person, $20 with your dog (All participants racing with their dog will receive a Ruff Wear Float Coat as part of their entry fee). $50 per corporate team (5-6 people).
August 8: Free Summer Sunday Concert Series: Dangermuffin Americana/rock/reggae: Listen to free live music at the Les Schwab Amphitheater in the Old Mill District as the Deschutes River floats happily by. Join a family friendly afternoon of great music from 2:30-4:30pm. Bring a picnic, the kids, your dog and some sunscreen for a fun filled afternoon in the sun.
August 14: Deschutes Dog Days
Food, drink, and fun dog games; Saturday, August 14, 4 to 8 pm, at Riverbend Park in Bend. Free.
August 27: Bob Dylan and John Mellencamp
Folk music legend, Bob Dylan, draws from songs such as Mr. Tamborine Man, Tangled Up in Blue, Like a Rolling Stone and Times They are a Changing and many more. John Mellencamp joins him, performing his many hit songs including Jack and Diane, Pink Houses, Small Town and other great songs. In concert at the Les Schwab Amphitheater in the Old Mill District. Ticketed.
August 29: Clint Black with very special guest Luke Bryan
In their only Oregon concert of the year, a great double header with legendary country artist Clint Black who joins forces with up and coming country star Luke Bryan. In concert at the Les Schwab Amphitheater in the Old Mill District. Ticketed.