Biking, Brews, Waterfalls and More ~ Bend, OR

I am woefully behind on blog posts and catching up with my blogger friends.  Staying in National Parks often leaves one without cell and internet service but provides such grand vistas and fabulous hikes that I cannot complain.  I will attempt to catch up as time permits.

Leaving Ashland we pointed our rig north and turned our attention to our next destination – Bend.  We were anxious to see this Oregon city but first, a few sights along Hwy 62 were begging to be seen.

Mill Creek Scenic Waterfalls

An easy one mile hike will reward you with views across the river of two lovely waterfalls, Mill Creek Falls cascading 173’ into the Rogue River and multi-stepped Barr Creek Falls, with an impressive 242′ drop.

Avenue of the Boulders

Built from the power of volcanic eruptions and the powerful force of water, the Rogue River drops some 75 feet and makes for a truly spectacular sight. These boulders were thrown all the way from Mt. Mazama when Crater Lake was formed, more than 20 miles away.

Natural Bridge Falls

This is one of nature’s many wonders, where the wild Rogue River (aptly named) disappears into an ancient lava tube and reappears 200’ downstream. You can stand above the inlet and watch this mighty river vanish, taking 30 seconds to travel 200’ to the outlet, where it forcefully bursts through the lava tube.

Our little Fox snuggled into a site among the tall pines
Our little Fox snuggled into a site among the tall pines

Camping was not to be found near Bend when we arrived as this was the second weekend in June and the Sisters Rodeo was in full-swing. Thankfully LaPine State Park, 20 miles away, had sites available. The South Loop was the place to stay, most recently renovated, and the Fall River Falls 5-mile trail made for a nice hike on a cool morning.

Bend loves bikes and everyone who rides one so we traded in our hiking boots for two wheels and took to the streets.  Downtown offers unique shopping, wonderful coffee shops, and lots of restaurants. Drake Park, one of over 70 verdant public parks, is a great place to stop for a picnic lunch when you have pedaled your way to an appetite. And if the retail bug strikes, a spin out to the Old Mills District along the Deschutes River will provide ample shops where your hard-earned money can be spent. Once home to two large lumber mills, it now houses lots of shops and restaurants, including REI.  Bike the trail there or take to the river and rent a paddleboard or raft for an afternoon of fun.

Another area to bike is the Deschutes River Trail near Sunriver to beautiful Benham Falls, as you wind along open meadows, lava rock formations, and thick-scented forests of pine.

Have you worked up a thirst yet?  Bend has been dubbed the microbrew capital of the West so you should have no problem finding a way to quench those flames.  Bend has so many breweries that some clever marketing master created the Bend Ale Trail, where you can spend your days traveling from one brewery to the next, getting your ticket punched.  We ran into three fellows who had already frequented 6 pubs and were not finished with their day.  None of them appeared to be the designated driver…yikes!

Here are the three brew pubs we sampled in as many days ;):

1)  10 Barrel Brewing Company came recommended by our barista/tour guide at Bluebird Coffee Shop. Twin brothers segued into the craft beer world after a successful downtown Bend restaurant. They may have another success on their hands. We liked the Sinistor Black Ale.


2)  Fairly new to Bend, 3-year old Crux Fermentation Project is what you get when you marry a brew master with a marketing guru. This small-batch brewery has an industrial feel and packs a punch with 15 taps. The winner for us was Nitro Stout.


3)  And for a different twist on breweries, try Rat Hole Brew Pub, an unusual name for this inviting little pub. Les, co-owner with his sister, considers this a “nano-brewery”, very small compared to the others. The brewery itself is housed in his barn, “nothing more than a rat hole”, his sister declared, and the name stuck!  Surprising to us, we liked the Lemon Wheat and Rotation Red.

Visiting Bend was not complete without a visit to the Newberry National Volcanic Monument, where a 9-mile lava flow can be seen. Approximately 7,000 years ago Lava Butte erupted, creating this surreal landscape. Lava Butte is just one of over 400 cinder cones found at Newberry.

Newberry Volcano, a shield volcano, is one of the largest volcanos in the lower 40 states. It has created massive lava flows covering 1200 square miles in its 400,000-year history. In the 1960’s astronauts came to train on the Newberry lava for their mission to the moon.

There is so much more to see in this area than our time allowed, nothing that a return visit won’t cure.  We learned that Bend has also been named “one of America’s most romantic cities”.  Perhaps love will be in the air for our next visit. 😉

Next Up: Sisters, a town with an Old West flair

53 thoughts on “Biking, Brews, Waterfalls and More ~ Bend, OR

  • Love Bend, La Pine State Park, all the brews and your lovely photos!!! We were at La Pine the first week of July last year!! Have fun!!

    • Thanks Sheila! We wished we had more time to explore Bend. Seems we barely scratched the surface. Hope you are enjoying your summer.

  • What an amazing area! The waterfalls are stunning! And the tasting at the different breweries look excellent, always fun to be able to try the locally made drafts. Lovely post!

  • So happy you’re having such a wonderful time exploring Oregon. You visited some of our favorite places along Hwy 62 — your photos are gorgeous! We’re planning a camping trip on the Rogue River with Ashland friends in early October. Want to join us? 😉 We also stayed in LaPine last time we visited Bend and would love to return — your biking adventures look like fun!

    • We loved Oregon a few years back when we explored the coast and the interior has not disappointed us either. The Rogue River in October sounds wonderful. Let’s talk more!

    • Thanks Bulldog. There is so much beauty in this world if we only slow down and look. Hopefully your life is slowing down a bit.

  • LuAnn, Isn’t Oregon awesome! We lived in Eugene and Newport, and every day we marveled at the beauty of the state. And the beer – don’t get me started about it – so delish! 🙂 As always your photos are gorgeous. ~Terri

  • Crux was our favorite brewery. Jim is disappointed in that they didn’t have a Nitro Stout when we were there!
    Looks like you hit most of the highlights during your stay, but there is so much to do in and around the Bend/Sisters area. That’s why it’s on our short list of places we might like to live one day.

    • Crux was our favorite as well Gayle. You will have to go back and enjoy the Nitro Stout sometime. I can see why Bend/Sisters is on your short list. I could see us living there someday as well.

  • We, too, enjoyed that area. It is so green and beautiful. We stopped at that same brewery. I am not much of a beer drinker but Paul is. I do remember ordering some sort of beer and enjoying it. Have no idea the name.

    Looks like you two are enjoying the open roads. Keep on keeping on!

  • What a great post! Sure looks like you had a wonderful time in the Bend area. I really need to see The Avenue of Boulders and Natural Bridge Falls where that river that disappears. Very cool! Of course, all the water is so pretty with the beautiful blue-green color:) We have only been through Bend once on a motorcycle trip. We said at the time that we needed to come back and see the place. I understand it is way more popular than it was 12 years ago. Your adventures have me wanting to head there sooner rather than later:) The beer sound yummy! The Breckenridge beer I like was a Nitro Vanilla Stout. So I would probably like that Nitro Stout.

    • I feel like we just scratched the surface of Bend. A few days definitely does not do this city justice. I suspect we will be returning at some point to dig down deeper into the city. Hope you enjoy your time with your kids and your mother, then hurry back out west. Hope to catch up with you two sometime later this year.

      • Believe me that we are hurrying things along:) We can hardly wait to get out of this humidity. We are thinking we will be on the road back west no later than mid August!! Hope we can meet up:) Miss you two!!

      • We miss you both as well. If your ears are ever ringing, that is just us talking about spending time with you guys again. 🙂

  • LuAnn this post is just what I needed to start collecting destinations in eastern Oregon. Bend even has been on our short list of a possible off the road residence. If the Oregon coast is lovely the eastern part is lovely as well, so many hidden gems out there.

  • Such beauty!
    Never-mind making the rounds on blogs. Keep enjoying nature’s beauty as much as you can. I hope to one day be able to travel the US as you are doing-so now.

  • I saw a waterfall leaving Portland, I was told loads of people photographed it, driving past it I was distinctly unimpressed but it was probably down to being up for 27 hours and being hyped at my first blogger meeting that may have made me less impressed lol. Perhaps heading t a micro brewery would have helped but we did pass the naked Winery which I looked at with hopeful eyes but Christina just kept driving lol.

    • I am so amazed by all the microbreweries that have sprung up in the western part of this country. I have found a new love for beer, more so than wine. But the Naked Winery, well I just may have had to see what that was all about. Wonder which waterfall you saw?

      • I’m not sure what the waterfall was called, it was on the road heading east out of Portland on the way to the state border, I was still distracted by that winery and what it could have been like. Beer is deceptively tasty sometimes, especially in this l(too) lovely weather.

      • That name does ring a bell, we went by so quick, it has a bridge in front of it if I remember rightly and possibly a hotel. One day I will view it with all my mental faculties in tune and will probably appreciate like any decent human being should.

      • I may have to give it a proper look then, I really should have powered through the crazy day and appreciated it, I need to like things more.

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