dog friendly

nature trips

trail running



dogs on leash


kid friendly

mountain biking

wild flowers







horseback riding

cross country skiing


paddle sports

rock climbing

no dogs

The Deschutes National Forest is a United States National Forest located in parts of Deschutes, Klamath, Lake, and Jefferson counties in central Oregon. It comprises 1.8 million acres along the east side of the Cascade Range.

Beautiful hike with mild very gradual elevation gain and stunning waterfall at the end! There is a snowmobile trail that also leads to the falls, so be sure you find the trail through the woods off to the side of the snowmobile trail so you can enjoy the beautiful forest. The snowshoeing or cross country skiing trail is a little hard to find from the very start, but is easily visible from the cabin just a few feet up the snowmobile trail. The forest trail is also well marked with blue diamonds on the trail throughout the entirety. Highly recommend also checking out the lower falls viewpoint only 1/4 mile down in addition to upper level lookout. Of note, you need a Sno Park pass to park for this hike which we didn’t find listed anywhere else!

2 days ago

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

Awesome trail - easy to follow, great beginner snowshoe, but spectacular views make it perfect for all levels of skill. Didn’t do the loop - just went out and back on the trail side, decided to nix the road section. Lots of fresh powder as of today, but it won’t last long!

24 days ago

This is a great winter get away!! Close to Bend and a good cross country ski!! On the weekend it is really crowded, but on the week day it is a good choice!! The views are spectacular and if you like waterfalls it is a must see!!

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

One of my favorite hikes! Went in early July, great views with lots of butterflies and blooming flowers! Bit of an incline to the top but it’s well worth it.

Hiked on 2/18/18 with several inches of snow on the ground. The falls were extra beautiful with Frozen water around it.

1 month ago

Fascinating place and an easy trail for creatures who wear boots. Four stars only because the trail was short and I wanted to see more. The way the flora got a root-hold in the landscape was both inspiring and beautiful. We visited in mid-June on a sunny and warm day. Be ready for the three variations of rock to heat up fast in midday and it reflects a lot of light so take sunscreen even for the short jaunt. Definitely a place for closed toe shoes, keep an eye on little kiddos, and please do not bring doggos - I don't think they make tough enough dog-boots for this particular trail. I witnessed one hiker carrying his adult yellow lab on his shoulders, they best place for him if he couldn't stay home.

1 month 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.

1 month ago

all up hill on the way to the top really windy towards the top but the view is spectacular! no city just nature and surrounded by mountains

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.

1 month 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.

I hiked this trail on an early February day. The very low snowfalls up to that point made is such that all but the last quarter mile was clear and dry, allowing a climb without any special gear.
The parking lot, just off SW Sherman Camp road, appears to be enough to accommodate the low traffic this trail gets (compared to the upper trailhead). There are no facilities at the trailhead (there are restrooms, however, at the UPPER trailhead).
The first .8 miles are essentially flat, roughly paralleling the road and heading in a southwesterly direction. There are a few intersecting trails/roads but the signs poster on wooded posts made it easy to continue on trail #4026. At a couple spots, the destination of the hike can be seen through openings in the trees.
The second portion of the hike starts at the .8 miles mark where the trail veers into a southeasterly direction and starts to ascend around the slope of Black Butte. This section is an uninterrupted 2.5 miles climb at a sustained but manageable grade. The trail intersects 3 forest roads on its way to the Upper Trailhead: Lower Butte Loops Trail 4093, Upper Butte Loops Trail, NFDR 1110-500. At each intersection, wooden sign posts in sight of each other easily identifies the spot where trail #4026 continues. The upper trailhead is a good spot (at about 3.25 miles in the hike) to take a short break, snack at the picnic table or use the restrooms. From there, it is another sustained climb to the summit.
The last two miles start the way the first 3+ have gone: healthy climb on a well maintained trail that get a bit more rocky in some spots. After the first (and only) switchback, the trails heads in a more easterly direction a few hundred feet below the summit. On this cold February day, frost covered all vegetation .5 miles before the top and the trail itself turned to pack snow and ice .25 miles before, as it rounded the southeast side of the butte. It took me probably a good 30/40 minutes to negotiate that stretch of the trail.
Once at the top, and an a fairly clear day, the views open 360 degrees with Broken Top, the 3 Sisters, Belknap Crater, Three Fingers Jack and Mt Jefferson dramatically displayed. Further north, Mt Hood was easily spotted and, with a minimum of effort, Mt Adams at the horizon across the Columbia river. A VERY nice spot to discover many of the Cascades peaks. The summit, fairly roomy and elongated, with so many views to take in, is clearly a good place to spend time and have a quick meal. The cupola and the fire lookout tower also make for fairly interesting photo opportunities.
If hiking this trail during the warmer month, it is likely a good idea to bring plenty of water and use sunscreen for the last mile of the climb.
I gave 5 stars to this trail first because of the views from the top but then also because of the well cut and well maintained trail itself. The first three mile, before reaching the upper trailhead, are very quiet (I did not see anyone either going up or coming down). The last 2 miles, past the upper trailhead were rather crowded; this also appears to be a favorite for dog owners. The workout the trail offers (3400 ft elevation gain is about 4 miles) also makes it a good destination for weekend (or daily) warriors.
Highly recommended.

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.

Had a great time with my family here juat beforw the fire closed 242

Great hike but there were some pretty icy spots. The view of the falls is not what I was expecting but I’d do it again.

Please park in usfs parking lot at trail head not in front of gate during winter months. Too many rigs block access to the home owners further down the road. Nice walk but respect those that live near by.

1 month 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!

Absolutely stunning! Not a great view of the falls though.

1 month 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.

1 month 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.

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.

I have done this trail three times!! Beautiful ending but the scenery is not the best in Bend during the hike.

1 month ago

Great views, gets the blood pumping

Short paved path. Nice lookout

1 month 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.

Went with a group of friends back in July 2017 and had a blast. We went at 430 in the morning to see the sunrise, definitely worth doing again!! I can’t wait to visit so I can go back

easy nice views

1 month ago

Had the trail to myself except for a few fishermen. Trail got a little soft and muddy in places as the day went on so go early when it's still frozen.

Load More