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Parks and nature in Deschutes County

Top nature recommendations from locals

Park
“Smith Rock State Park is a special place. It is renowned as a top destination for Crag climbing, drawing people from all over the world. It has over a thousand bolted routes, ranging from steep ladders to finger-cramping cracks. You will have close up views, watching the skilled climbers navigate the rugged, vertical cliffs. For those who don’t climb, there are several beautiful walking and hiking trails, everything from basic flat trails along the river towards monkey face... to very advanced hikes such as misery trail. The park offers beautiful, sweeping views of the area with gorgeous red rocked cliffs, backdropped against the snow capped mountains of the Cascade range. We are located approximately 15-20mins away. The park is easy to find and offers easy access. The park charges a day use fee of $5 for a day pass which can be used at any State park you visit, on the same day. This is a guest and host favorite!!”
  • 163 locals recommend
  • 4 Experiences
Park
“Only two miles up O.B. Riley Road. All the state parks we have been to are really nice. This park is one of the best. The Deschutes River runs through the park. The rock formation across the park are beautiful. At the back end of the park are hiking trails. ”
  • 19 locals recommend
Cave
“Check the website to make sure it is open. You'll need a jacket (it's always cold in there) and flashlights. Not great for small kids, you'll be stepping over rocks and it can be difficult to navigate while holding tiny hands ”
  • 18 locals recommend
Resort
“A great stop on the scenic Cascade Lakes route. They have a restaurant as well as out door activities. Fishing is great here. ”
  • 23 locals recommend
Park
“You have not visited Bend unless you have floated the river. It is a past time of this town, and it is a great way to spend time in this awesome town! Rent a float, park your car at Drake Park or Riverbend and take the shuttle to or from. Don't walk around the rapids! Ride the lightning!”
  • 19 locals recommend
Park
“Wonderful walking trails all around the Old Mill with beautifully maintained parks along the river. ”
  • 17 locals recommend
Pool
“Great Park, with lots of activities, such as tennis courts, horse shoes, huge swim and fitness center.”
  • 19 locals recommend
Park
“Beautiful Drake Park is on the river and right next to our gorgeous, historic Downtown Bend area!”
  • 18 locals recommend
Park
“This is the Deschutes river portion that runs next to the Old Mill out door mall, LesSchwab Ampatheater and beautiful down river homes. Our family loves to float this river every summer! It's a fun relaxing float to people and house watch. You can complete it in a little less than 2 hours or meander for longer. Sometime if there is an early evening concert and it is above 90° out we'll float and listen to music. There is a fun rapid section too! I have seen many larg bruises on people coming out of the Rapids, BUT you can make without a scratch, I've done it! Stay to the middle of the rapids and lift your bottom up so it doesn't hit any high boulders and you should be good, I hope.... OR just get out before the rapids and walk on the trail aside them. ”
  • 17 locals recommend
Park
“Take a stroll by Mirror Pond or have a picnic next to the Deschutes river in Drake Park, Bend's oldest and prettiest park. ”
  • 14 locals recommend
Park
“There are a couple loops for walking/jogging. Shortest loop is about 3 miles, but you can extend it by going further north. There are multiple bridges to turn around and come back on the other side.”
  • 14 locals recommend
Park
“Hike or bike the trails or drive to the parking lot and view the falls. A great popular photo spot. You'll need a parking permit.”
  • 13 locals recommend
Other Great Outdoors
“Good for kids! There is a solar observatory, too, that I've been to. If you've never seen the sun a boiling ball of hot plasma in real time, I highly suggest you go there. If kinds of changes the way you may think about things. ”
  • 10 locals recommend
Park
“Wide variety of kayaking, canoeing, perpetual surfing or just ordinary floating going on here. ”
  • 11 locals recommend
Park
“What do you want to do? Play a pickup game of soccer, football, baseball, ultimate frisbee, or pickleball? Teach your kid to ride their bike? Take your dog for an off-leash play date? Rollerblade (does anyone still do that)? Just have a picnic? This park is HUGE and if there isn't a soccer or baseball tournament happening, it's likely you'll find some peace and quiet. It's just under 1.5 miles from this house! ”
  • 10 locals recommend
Park
“Located just down the road, a former working ranch and a beautiful place to see some of the historic orchard district with open fields, and beautiful views. ”
  • 8 locals recommend