Swedish FlagJohann & SandraAmerican Flag



Sports & Leisure Pacific NW



Slide Shows

Site Map


mountain biking

Mountain Biking

Central Oregon Trail Guide

Mountain Biking Links

Mountain Biking Books

Message Board

Back to Sports Home

oregon trail guide

Deschutes River Trail 

Peterson Ridge

Phil's Trail

Phil's Helipad

East Fork Hood River
(Mt. Hood)

Suttle Lake

Timothy Lake
(Mt. Hood)

Tumalo Falls


Deschutes River Trail

Length: 16.6 miles
Type: Out-And-Back
Duration: 2 to 3 Hours
Elevation Gain: 360 Feet


To Reach:

From the junction of US Highway 97 and NW Franklin Ave. in Bend, set your odometer to zero and head west on Franklin.  Franklin becomes NW Riverside Blvd.   At 1.2 Miles, turn right onto Tumalo Ave.   Continue straight ahead as Tumalo becomes NW Galveston Ave.   At 1.6 miles, turn left on Century Drive (State Highway 46) and head west until 6.4 miles, where you turn left at the Meadow Picnic Area sign onto Forest Road 100, which is washboard gravel.  At 7.8 miles, reach the trailhead and the end of the road at Meadow Picnic Area.

Trip Report:

The trailhead is easy to find, if your car makes it in one piece through the washboard gravel of Forest Road 100, although it is marked only for hikers and not for bicycles.  However, bicycles are allowed, and it is
Bend ’s most popular trail.   The trail follows the Deschutes River nearly for its entirety, offering beautiful scenery and looks at the rapids and waterfalls of the river, cut out from the lava flows of Newberry Crater. 

 The temperature was a sweltering 100 degrees, and I had just left work, where I put in ten suffocating hours in the heat.  I must have been nuts, but I hadn’t hit a trail all week while I was in Bend due to the suppressing heat; triple digits all week.  The first mile of the trail has several rocky ascents, and I found myself wondering just what kind of a trail I was in for.  I hiked a couple of particularly rocky sections, but they were short and followed by zippy downhill runs on hard-packed singletrack.  There are also rock overhangs on the narrow trail that tall people like me can actually hit their heads on if they’re not careful!  The trail rolls up and down, with numerous short climbs and downhills in both directions, meandering through the manzanita groves alongside the river.  After the first mile, the trail smoothes out considerably, and becomes fast singletrack through most of the rest of the ride.

 At about 0.5 miles, there is a fork in the trail, with the trail to the left heading out across a pond, and the trail to the right continuing around them.  Oddly enough, you want the trail across the ponds.  Ignore the several side trails you encounter, and travel across a gravel turnaround to the trail on the other side.  At 1.3 miles, you pass through a boat launch at Lava Island .  At 2.2 miles, the trail forks, with hikers only allowed on the fork to the left.  Stay right and follow the bicycle sign.  At 4.8 miles, you’ll reach Dillon Falls Campground.  Stay to the left on the campground road and pass through a fence into a meadow.  There are two possible trails across the meadow.  One is singletrack (the main trail) which heads around the meadow.  The other is a small, muddy, but rideable, path through the meadow.  I rode the small path on the way out, and except for a little mud, it was a nice short cut.  Watch out during “rainy” season.  At 6.6 miles, you’ll pass through another picnic area.  There are lots of jumps/bumps in the path near here, which is kind of fun.  Shift through some narrow passageways through the rocks, and head up the hill to the parking area above Benham falls.  Turn around and head on back!

 I had a good time on this trail, despite the heat and my fatigue from the day in the sun.  The trail was very scenic, and there were numerous good spots to stop and gaze at the river, swim, or picnic.  Don’t let the small elevation gain fool you.  There are ups and downs throughout this trail, and some sections are a bit technical.  There are no really extended climbs, however, which was fun, and I only hiked a couple of short runs, none on the way back.  I did manage to crash once descending over some rock steps cut into the trail.  The trail took around 2 hours to complete, with stops for photos and seat repair.  I had read that this trail was crowded in the summer, but I had it almost to myself.  Maybe it was the heat, the fact it was Friday evening and people had better things to do, or that the Bend Summer Festival was in full swing in town.  Whatever the reason, the narrow trail would have been interesting if there were a bunch of people.



This site has been visited    times since August, 2001.
To properly view this site, click
here to download the necessary fonts.
If you have any comments, questions, or suggestions for this site,  or would like to suggest a link, please
Contact Us.
©2001-2009 JS Web Design - All Rights Reserved.