Explore Bend - view hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

Bend Map
VIEW FULL MAP

Nice trail and very exposed during the summer as there are not many trees

Just a little snow at the top! Great hike.

Quick walk next to the visitor center. Kids liked it. We’d do it again. 3.5/5

hiking
13 days ago

There is still quite a bit of snow here. You can’t drive to the trailhead as one of the Lodge’s is closed.

I would suggest doing this early in the morning in the summer. I hiked this mid day and wish I had made it earlier. I hiked Tam-a-lau trail at Lake Billy Chinook before hiking this particular trail, so I arrived later than I wanted. The views are amazing! We brought binoculars with us and was able to watch a lot of rock climbers. There were 2 people in the mouth of monkey face! It was somewhat busy, but never seemed too crowded. Would like to do this one again!

Great hike with the family. Beautiful scenery the entire route

hiking
20 days ago

Ignore my stars.. I just wanted to give an update on the road conditions. We tried getting to the trail head yesterday and found quite a bit of snow still on the road heading to the trailhead. We were traveling in a 4WD crossover, which did fine, but the snow progressively increased and the road narrows with 3 miles still to go. We decided to turn back in case it became too deep and we didn’t have the ability to turn around down the road. It would be passable with snow tires or maybe a little bit bigger car. In reality our car would have probably done fine but it made me a little nervous. We will definitely be back to do this hike in the future!

Not too long of a hike for a family. We stopped halfway to have lunch next to the river. The views were gorgeous and don't regret doing the hike. Both our kids (9yr. & 13yr.) really enjoyed it.

snowshoeing
1 month ago

Excellent hike with stunning views on a clear day! Tough incline heading up, but well worth the views. Snowshoed in mid- March

Great hike overall. The vistas were awesome. Started with the Misery Trail first then came down on the backside through Mesa Verde Trail and followed along the River Trail to finish off the hike.

Amazing...pick a blue sky-day and enjoy the vulcanic history! Loved it

Great views and a really nice trail, hard hike but a good challenge

snowshoeing
2 months ago

Snowshoed on a clear day in January. Followed previous tracks up, and blazed our own trail coming back down. Quite steep at the final ascent, but manageable. View from the top was breathtaking.

Nice stroll through a geologically fascinating area. Besides the little Visitors’ Center Loop, be sure to walk to the top of Lava Butte to get an excellent view of the area.

snowshoeing
2 months ago

By following the existing trail forged by those before me, I went straight up - round trip with some wandering around at the summit left my GPS showing only 2.98 miles. Snow was an icy pack the whole way up. Summit would be fantastic... On a day without a complete whiteout. Still worth the trip, great length and strenuous for a weekend day hike between breakfast and a late lunch. I look forward to going up in the spring.

Great hike, not long with some challenge, we ended up adding the summit trail to make it more challenging.

PUT SOME “SPARKS” IN YOUR LIFE!
Words and pics by Ian Smith
Eventually we choose the Pine Tavern at Bend (Oregon) for food and what a choice. Right in the middle of the restaurant are two mature pine trees growing out of the floor and straight through the roof. While I ponder how the roof might be sealed, Lorraine checks out the wine list until my gaze is taken by the lovely garden that tilts toward the Deschutes River.
The birds are loving it; a robin hops around the plants in a vigilant search for insects while a flock of waxwings are having a wonderful time at the bird bath as mallards paddle back and forth in the river. It feels like you’re part of nature without even leaving your table. The tasty food gets us thinking about what else to do and we decide to have a crack at Sparks Lake.
Sparks is renowned among photographers as being a place to get a good shot but, as is always the case, you have to get the weather right......that’s where Lorraine, the weather goddess, comes in.
It’s not that far from Bend up the Cascade Lakes National Scenic Highway and, as we pass Mount Bachelor, the local ski field, it’s so hard to imagine people skiing over a rugged lava flow; just doesn’t seem right.
We’ve a bit of time on board so we slip into Todd Lake first. It’s a 4 km stroll around a placid lake and, while it’s nice and there’s some interesting bird life, we’re hoping for better at Sparks.
To get into Sparks it’s a twisting road with, at times, corrugations and bumps, the like of which we’ve never seen in America where just about everything is sealed road it seems. In fact, you have a less than 1% chance of driving on one, according to statistics. Still, our hopes of a reward at the end aren’t dashed though the weather goddess has let me down a little because of a breeze coming across the lake.
Its potential is easy to discern however, South Sister and Broken Top stand stark in the background, ready to cast their images on a millpond should it transpire and, since it’s a while before the earth spins around and delivers darkness, we first amuse ourselves watching a chipmunk letting some birds know just who’s in charge of discarded apple. The frenetic energy they forever display never ceases to warm us to their ways; oh that we should be able to scurry as fast.
We then look in other directions and start to wander down past the lava fields. Where once the flow from Mount Bachelor cooled it formed a barrier to the heated rock still flowing beneath and, in places, it rose up to 70 feet like a giant loaf of leavened bread.
The level of the lake is low, the snow season wasn’t great and, it hasn’t rained much since, so you can walk some places where you’d normally get your feet wet and thus we follow a narrow band of sand beside the lava wall.
You can see how good this place could be but the ripple, however small, frustrates us so we have to be content with the leg exercise and the occasional snap. Still, it’s a pleasant afternoon beneath a virtually cloudless sky and we reach a point where the realization dawns that it’s pointless to walk any farther around this strange body of water with no known exit. Somehow, somewhere, it just drains slowly.
We’d returned nary 50 metres before we were rounded up by a young couple, she of boundless energy demonstrated by practising rock climbing techniques up and down the lava flow with mind blowing dexterity. In leaps and bounds reminiscent of a mountain goat did she ascend with a confidence borne of youth. As we waited expectantly for a slip she continued to confound us with her suppleness.
The entertainment over, as quickly as it eventuated, we idled back to the carpark and stepped back to our original viewpoint. The breeze was faltering and two other photographers were waiting in anticipation so we deigned to join them and everyone’s optimism turned out to be justified.
Though we didn’t get an atmospheric ruddy glow we got a crystal clear sky with classic mirror reflection. South Sister and Broken Top were haze free and it’s easy to see why there are so many shots on the internet of this spot. In the stillness we were mesmerized by the natural beauty of the setting. Oregon just keeps on delivering.
We drove home satisfied, we’d seen and digested much without travelling too far today.

Smith Rock trails never disappoint.

hiking
2 months ago

The trail above the falls had more snow than expected. I had no snow shoes with me so hiked back on the creek trail which was also snow covered. I look forward to coming back!

hiking
2 months ago

Hiked 2/4. Road up to the trailhead and trail in good shape. Last 1/4 mile a bit dicey with snow. It was doable in boots for sure, but would have felt a bit better in yak tracks.

snowshoeing
2 months ago

Beautiful hike for snowshoes. Trail is covered so you’re at the mercy of the previous snowshoer who picked a pretty spicy grade up to the top.

hiking
2 months ago

Pretty spicy little moderate hike. Fantastic views. Little bit of snow on the top. Not enough to warrant snowshoes or spikes. Wind shifts up top and temps plummet. Layer accordingly.

It gets very warm and the incline is demanding in hot weather. Take plenty of water

Great hike. I would recommend doing this loop counter clockwise, knocking out the hard part first, then enjoying the views and relaxing the rest of the way. The part that follows the river, especially on the backside is so peaceful and relaxing. Lots of waterfowl to be seen. Will definitely be doing this hike more often.

Short paved path. Nice lookout

Totally kicked my out of shape butt! Loved every minute of it! Very scenic and great inviting atmosphere!

If you'd rather go down stairs than up walk along the river first. The climb is long on the back side but anything to avoid hoisting yourself up several sets of stairs. Can't wait to come back and try some other loops.

hiking
2 months ago

5 star view, hike was %99 uphill to the top. Don’t go in January like me, save it for warmer months based on the tower being closed and other ALLTRAILS photos. Also did SMITH ROCK yesterday so this one doesn’t come close in comparison.

GORGEOUS!!! Super easy kid-friendly loop with amazing views of the lava fields. I'm from VA and had never seen anything like this. Only downfall, would be the heat radiating from the pavement during the heat of summer.

Load More