I just marked my one-year anniversary blogging for Visit Bend, which means a few of you have probably gotten used to seeing me yammer here every week.
Time to shake things up.
Today I’d like to tap some other Bend experts for their top tips. Visit Bend has a team of 13 volunteers who work the front desk at the Bend Visitor Center. To say they possess a wealth of Bend knowledge is an understatement akin to me saying I kinda enjoy sipping the occasional brew along The Bend Ale Trail.
With that in mind, I asked a handful of Visit Bend volunteers to share their favorite activities in Bend. Here’s what they coughed up:
Hiking with Jo and Chip La Furney
If it’s a full moon, head up Tumalo Mountain! (Heck, even if it isn’t a full moon it’s an awesome hike!) It’s only a 21 mile drive, only a 1.8 mile hike up, and one of the best views in Central Oregon.
The trail up Tumalo Mountain is very well-defined so we would say newbies in average-to-decent shape would be able to tackle this hike. It’s like walking up a lot of stairs!
But you can stop, take a breath, and enjoy the beautiful scenery on the hike up.
Golfing with Demy Schleicher
This is my favorite time of year for golf, or anything for that matter, in Central Oregon. Clear, crisp mornings warm up quickly to pleasantly warm afternoons!
Widgi Creek is a locals’ favorite not only for reasonable greens fees but for being just a cool course. It’s the only course here that is actually in the Deschutes National Forest, so lush fairways are framed by tall Ponderosa Pines and redtail hawks and ospreys are a common sight.
Don’t let the relatively short yardage and moderate course rating (compared with some other Central Oregon courses) fool you – this is one good challenge. Straight hitters are rewarded and the tricky, undulating greens are well protected by sand bunkers and water.
The par 5 number 3 hole is one of the longest around, and par 3 number 11 features a daunting, long carry over water. Yikes!
With the cooler temps and less intense sun, it’s easy to forget two of the most important items in your golf bag: lots of water and plenty of sunscreen (this is high desert, after all). Don’t leave the tee without them!
Mountain biking with Deborah Morrill
I used to be that friend who’d give anything a try – well, now I’m in my middle 50s & have suffered a few injuries so I’ve mellowed.
I still ride challenging single-track, but I feel no shame in hopping off my mountain bike to walk through a difficult spot. Sometimes I want to ride something as easy as it gets.
I recently joined a friend for a gorgeous ride along the Deschutes River. We rode from the parking area at Lava Island Falls out to Dillon Falls and back. Riding at a leisurely pace & stopping often for photos, we still completed the near 8 mile ride in less than 90 minutes; it’s a great ride for beginners or families.
The trail is as flat as mountain biking ever is, with just one good uphill section. We enjoyed breathtaking views of the river, sky and lava. The fall colors were just starting to peek out. On our trip we got to watch a few kayakers, standup paddlers, and fly fishermen also enjoying their day. During peak season, you’d see whitewater rafters, too.
Staying on the same trail, you can continue to Benham Falls (for about a 14 mile round trip) or ride all the way to Sunriver. Keep in mind that this popular trail can be crowded, as it is shared with hikers and dogs – and mosquitoes. The start point is off Conklin Road, just past The Seventh Mountain Resort. A Forest Service Pass is required.
Got any subjects you’d like to hear about from our resident experts? Leave ‘em in the comments and we’ll keep them in mind for future installments.
And how about a round of applause for our knowledgeable volunteers?