Easy Scenic Hikes
There’s nothing like a few hours in the Oregon outdoors to revive you on the road. And because wild areas at city edges are a state trademark, there are plenty of places to take a quick, scenic hike. Here are three easy ways to step outside when time is of the essence.
Farewell Bend River trail loop – 3 miles
All of Bend’s riverfront parks and trails make for refreshing escapes close to town. One close-in treat lies just up the Deschutes from the Les Schwab Ampitheater, starting at Farewell Bend park. Follow the dirt trail under the Upper Market Street bridge and you’ll find yourself on a secluded stretch of rushing river, among pine and juniper. In the spring, the red volcanic soil soaks up the Central Oregon sunshine and radiates heat for a taste of summer. The trail runs nearly a mile and a half, to a footbridge that carries you across the river to the return trail. Another bridge just downstream of Farewell Bend completes the loop.
Deschutes River State Recreation Area – 3.7 miles
Twenty-five minutes east of The Dalles, home of the Columbia Gorge Discovery Center and a growing Google data center, you can hike the mouth of the wild Deschutes at the Deschutes River State Recreation Area. A loop following the Blackberry Trail to the Riverview Trail ambles easily through alder and sage; in the late spring and summer, orioles weave intricate hanging nests in the trees above. Fido is welcome, as long as he’s leashed to keep him from the ample steelhead, trout and other wildlife. And if you want to stay the night, camping is permitted.
Bald Hill – 2.5 miles round trip
On a clear day, Corvallis’ Bald Hill offers a sweeping panorama of the Willamette Valley, the Coast Range and even some snow capped peaks in the Cascades — all just a stone’s throw from downtown. For the easiest route to the top, go to the NW Oak Creek Drive entrance and follow the multi-use trail running south (away from the road). About .4 miles in, take the second trail peeling off to the right, then a quick left onto the path pointing uphill. It’s a moderate climb of about 500 feet to the top. Enjoy the open meadows that give the place its name and have helped make this spot a local favorite.
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