It must be a miracle Bend has remained a hidden jewel in the high desert of Central Oregon. A city that boasts 300 sunny days per year, with extended views of the Cascade Mountain range, has somehow succeeded at keeping its population low (82,000) and its outdoor recreation plentiful. And that’s why love to work, play, and live here!
Particularly in the summer months, where mountain bike trails run rampant and you don’t even need to leave town to get in a morning hike and a day on the water, there seems to be a common belief that one “really can have it all.” When you’re ready to see for yourself, try one of these five routes, all within the city limits of Bend proper.
1. Hike Pilot Butte for a stunning view
On the east side of town stands a cinder-cone hill dubbed Pilot Butte. Three dirt trails lead to its summit where one can breath in panoramic views of the high desert plains to the east; the craggy, red-hued tuff and basalt formations of Smith Rock State park to the north and, to the west, seemingly endless views of the mountains, namely Mt. Bachelor, Three Sisters, Mt. Jefferson and Mt. Hood. There’s even a large mountain identifier to help you decipher them all.
2. Float through town on the Deschutes River
The Deschutes runs right through town, flowing past waterfront dream homes one can only appreciate from an air mattress, inner tube, paddle board, kayak or canoe ride from the Old Mill District on the south side of Bend to Mirror Pond Lake in Downtown. You’ll exit at Drake Park, just before the dam. Take a minute to admire the homes on the opposite side of the water before heading into Downtown for some shopping or dining at some of the city’s finest offerings, or catch the shuttle bus back to the beginning and do it all over again.
3. Walk along the Deschutes River Trail
If you’d rather stay on land, the Deschutes River Trail is the perfect escape from the city…and you don’t even have to escape! The trailhead starts near the popular dog park in the Old Mill District and continues in a 3.9-mile loop along the rippling river and through Juniper trees, changing from pavement to wood chips and sand. It’s an enjoyable route, popular for runners and walkers alike.
Not up for such a long journey? You can stay on the paved area around the Old Mill District and either loop around the river, or continue all the way to Downtown.
4. Bike Phil’s Trail
Easily accessed from the Northwest Crossing (NWX) neighborhood (and home to Greg Welch Construction’s offices), on Bend’s west side, Phil’s Trail is by far the most popular for mountain bikers, from amateurs to enthusiasts. It’s a large, interlinked trail system of mostly fast-track, single-lane paths with twists and turns created by mountain bikers, for mountain bikers. When you’re finished checking them all out, just ride back to town, and go straight to number 5.
5. Reward yourself on the Ale Trail
There’s no shortage of local pubs when it comes time to wind down with a deliciously handcrafted microbrew after a long day’s work, err… play. Bend proper is proud of its thirteen (and counting) unique breweries, and the city has organized what it calls the Bend Ale Trail – a pub crawl of sorts where participants fill their beer passports with stamps from each brewery they visit and receive a prize after all nine are completed. You can easily walk or bike between them or, better yet, pool your friends together and hire the Cycle Pub – a 14-seat bar on wheels.
You can leave your responsibilities at home…if you didn’t already do so.
If Bend is where you want to call home, then you need a builder who lives, breathes, and understands how to maximize Central Oregon living. Greg Welch Construction, located in Northwest Crossing, lives, works, and plays within the Bend city limits. Greg, an active outdoors man, Northwest Crossing neighbor, father, and advocate for sustainable Central Oregon living. His commitment to quality building still begins and ends with an interest in the people who live in his homes—people who are also his friends and neighbors. Find out more today at www.gregwelchconstruction.com.