There are many places in Oregon that offer serenity, but some also require a full day of driving. Driving, in my experience, does not propagate serenity. That’s part of the reason that Camp Sherman, only 40 miles from my home in Bend, has become one of my favorite destinations. The other reason is that Camp Sherman is one of the most delightful places on the planet—no matter how far you have to drive to get there.

Entering this small community off of Hwy 20, ten miles west of Sisters, is a little bit like going back in time. Camp Sherman has beckoned to families looking for escape since the 1920s, and in some ways it seems things haven’t changed all that much since then. Last weekend, before we even spotted the quaint fire station, the rustic Camp Sherman store, the old-fashioned bridge over the glittering Metolius River or the clusters of cabins sheltered by gigantic ponderosas, our bodies had already begun to unwind. By the time we pulled up a deck chair and breathed in the spicy-sweet scent of Manzanita and pine, kicked back with an ice tea and a book, we’d practically reached inner peace.

But life can’t be all about laziness (can it?). In the morning, before everyone but the fly fishermen were out of bed, we found ourselves at the Black Butte trail head. The climb up this volcanic cone is only 1.9 miles. But considering its 1600 foot elevation gain, it’s no slouch’s outing. All worth it for the killer view at the top. After perching next to the fire lookout and admiring a bird’s-eye view of Mt. Adams to Broken Top for a good long while, we meandered back down through oceans of wildflowers, the surreal remnants of wildfires and a lovely forest.

Then we resumed our position back in Camp Sherman on the deck. We’d justified laziness now, and intended to give it our undivided attention for the duration of the weekend.

about author Kim Cooper Findling

Kim Cooper Findling grew up on the Oregon Coast and became a Central Oregon girl in the mid-90s, taking in the sunny skies and never looking back (except a few wistful glances at the ocean). She is the editor of “Cascade Journal” and the author of “Bend, Oregon Daycations: Day Trips for Curious Travelers,” "Day Trips From Portland: Getaway Ideas for the Local Traveler” and “Chance of Sun: An Oregon Memoir.” Catch her around the state sampling microbrews, hiking river trails, walking beaches, and hanging out with her family.

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These maps and directions are for planning purposes only. You may find that construction projects, traffic, or other events may cause road conditions to differ from the map results. For travel options, weather and road conditions, visit, call 511 (in Oregon only), 800.977.6368 or 503.588.2941.

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  1. Amy Belasen says…

    I love Camp Sherman too.

    Some of my favorite things to do there:
    -Camp Sherman store for a sandwich post Black Butte hike
    -Fly fishing on the Metolius
    -Wild mushroom hunting in spring and fall

    For dinner (May-October):

    -Kokanee Cafe, one of the top restaurant in Central Oregon located in a rustic setting with a beautiful patio and dining room. The food is delicious, the chef just won Iron Chef Bend for the second year in a row!

    Written on July 30th, 2010 / Flag this Comment
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