Bend Oregon - Oregon Scenic Drives

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Bend, Oregon is the base camp for Oregon's high desert country. The area includes forests, steppes, mountains, even some wetlands. Refer to the number coded map to orient yourself.


Gotta See Attractions. . .
1 The High Desert Museum
Six miles south of Bend . . . A "living" participation-oriented museum with a large variety of indoor and outdoor exhibits on nature, art, science and history of the arid intermountain region. Visitors become involved with the exhibits through encounters with animals in natural settings, hands-on reaching devices and interpretive talks and demonstrations. The new Earle A. Chiles Center on the Spirit of the West depicts stages in the opening up of the American West via unique "walls through time" historical exhibit scenes. Open 9:00 AM every day except Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year's. Gift store. Admission charge.

2 Mt. Bachelor
Twenty-two miles west of Bend on the Cascade Lakes Hwy. . . The winter season at Mt. Bachelor offers 3100 vertical feet of the best skiing in the northwest with trails for all ability levels of skiers. The U.S. Ski Team has been training at Mr. Bachelor for the past 25 years. Beginning Memorial Day Weekend, the mountain offers sightseeing rides to the tap of the 9,075 foot summit for a view of three states and the surrounding Cascade Mountains The Sunrise Lodge is open during the summer and offers sandwiches, outdoor barbecues, ice cream fountain, ski and sport shop, picnic sites and volleyball rentals. Mountain bikes are also available to rent with miles of trails surrounding the resort.

3 Lava Butte and Lava Lands Visitor Center
Eleven miles south of Bend, located on Highway 97. . . Lava Butte is a unique, volcanic cone with a paved road to the top providing an outstanding view of the Cascades. Lava Lands Visitor Center offers displays and slide shows describing the history of lava areas Three interpretive trails meander around Lava Buttes's Crater, over the lava flow and through adjoining pine forest. Naturalist on duty Open daily, mid-March - October. No admission charge.

4 Cascade Lakes Highway
Eighty-nine mile paved loop. Magnificent views of Mr. Bachelor, the Three Sisters and Broken Top are seen as you travel this road near many lakes, mountains and streams. Go west on Franklin Avenue, past Drake Park, and follow signs. The portion of the tour beyond Mr. Bachelor (22 miles from Bend), is closed during the winter months. This route is designated as a Corridor 97 Association tour route, as well as being registered as a "National Scenic By-Way", through the Forest Service. A brochure explaining sites along the route is available at the Bend Chamber of Commerce and directional and interpretive signing is posted along the route.

5 Deschutes Historical Center
129 N.W. Idaho, Bend . . . The Des Chutes Historical Center exhibits relics of the County's colorful past, including displays of Indian artifacts, pioneer school-room, timber industry and historic photos and documents Open Wednesday - Saturday 1 :00-4:00 PM. Located on the corner of Wall and Idaho. 389-1813. No admission charge.

6 Forest Service Nursery
Four miles northeast of Bend. Nursery on 70 acres of ground where young Ponderosa and Lodgepole Pine trees are cultivated for National Forests in Eastern Oregon and Washington. Four miles out Butler Market Road to Deschutes Market Road. No admission charge.

7 Central Oregon Community College
2600 NW College Way Oregon s first accredited community college. Spectacular view from the campus. Travel west on Newport Avenue, then north on College Way. For private tour, call 385-5505.

8 United States Forest Service Silviculture Laboratory
1027 N W. Trenton, Bend . Headquarters for field studies of timber growth and a laboratory for investigating ecological factors Visitors are welcome from 7:30 AM to 4:00 PM, Monday - Friday. No admission charge.

9 Pine Mountain Observatory
Twenty-five miles east of Bend University of Oregon's astronomical research facility, featuring three telescopes. Discoveries made here and published in scientific papers are known worldwide. This is the only major observatory in the northwestern United States. Public visitation is encouraged after April on Friday and Saturday evenings or by special appointment. Visitors are always asked to call first, 382-8331 (after 3:00 PM). Take U.S. Hwy. 20 to Millican, then turn nine miles south on marked road. Suggested donation. $2.00/adult.

10 Osprey Observation Point Area at Crane Prairie Reserve
Forty-five miles southwest of Bend. Located along the tour route of the Cascade Lakes Highway. Watch for signs Established in 1969 to perpetuate this unique colony of birds. It is one of few Osprey nesting areas in the U S. Summer months are best for viewing the nests and feeding of the young. Short 1/4 mile nature trail.

11 Sunriver Nature Center
Eighteen miles south of Bend in Sunriver. Turn west at Sunriver exit. Enter Sunriver and turn right on Abbott Drive. Follow signs to marina, airport and stables. Features nature activities, raptor rehabilitation area, living and inanimate natural history displays. No admission charge.

12 Petersen Rock Garden
Ten miles north of Bend . . As hobby, over a period of 17 years, the late Mr. Petersen created this quaint, four-acre park of miniature bridges, towers, terraces and buildings; all made in intricate detail using different types of rocks. Now supported only by donations at the front gate, the grounds also include a small picnic area, lily ponds and a few roaming peacocks. Open 365 days a year. Located north of Bend off Highway 97 approximately nine miles, turn left at 61st Street and follow signs.

13 Reindeer Ranch - Operation Santa Claus
Eighteen miles northwest of Bend. Located two miles west of Redmond on Highway 126, Operation Santa Claus is the world's largest commercial reindeer ranch and home to over 100 domesticated reindeer. Visit any time. No admission charge.

14 Beaver Coaches
20245 Murray Road, Bend. Beaver Coaches manufactures luxury motorhomes. Factory tours available at 10:00 AM. Reservations required. No admission charge.

15 A.R. Dowman Memorial Museum
Thirty-five miles northeast of Bend . Features historic and prehistoric artifacts from Crook County. No admission charge. Located in Prineville at 246 N Main Street, 447-3715.

Parks . . .

16 Drake Park
Borders Riverside Blvd. in Downtown Bend. Eleven acres of lawn and trees bordering the Deschutes River Abundant waterfowl, picnic tables and a playground across the bridge at HARMON PARK.

17 Pioneer Park
Borders Wall Street at north end of Downtown Bend . On the Deschutes River, six acres with lawn, trees, flower gardens, picnic tables and children's fishing.

18 Juniper Park
Borders Franklin Avenue and Eighth Street in Bend. Twenty-three acres containing Juniper Aquatic Center, spacious lawns, children's playground, horseshoe pits and four tennis courts.

19 Shevlin Park
Five miles west of Bend on Shevlin Park Road. Three hundred eighty-eight acres of natural forest land along Tumalo Creek with picnic facilities for large groups (by reservation) and ice skating in the winter at Shevlin Park Pond. Aspen Hall, located beside the pond is also available for group functions. For more information, call Bend Metro Parks and Recreation, 389-PARK.

20 Sawyer Park
One mile northwest of Bend . . . Quaint park alongside the Deschutes River offering picnic sites, drinking water, stoves, trails and fishing. Turn off North Highway 97 at the intersection of O.B. Riley Rood (or Bend River Mall) and continue for one mile.

21 Smith Rock State Park
Twenty-five miles north of Bend on Highway 97 . . A canyon area of scenic and colorful sedimentary rock formations, well known for its challenge to rock climbers. The best time to watch the climbers is during the morning and evening hours. Various hiking trails are also offered. along with picnic facilities in a pleasant grassy area. Travel north on Highway 97, through Redmond to Terrebonne (22.5 miles). Turn right (cost) at Smith Rocks State
Park's directional sign for 2.5 miles and follow remaining signs to pork.

View Points . . .

22 Pilot Butte
East end of Greenwood Avenue in Bend . . . A cinder cone or the east city limits of Bend. Visible from its easily accessible top are the snow-covered peaks of the Cascade Range (listed from the north): Mt. Hood. 11.235': Mt. Jefferson, 10,495'; Three-Fingered Jack, 7,848'; Mt. Washington, 7,802', North Sister, 10,094': Middle Sister, 10.053'; South Sister, 10,354': Broken Top, 9,165'; and Mt. Bachelor, 9,075'.

23 Paulina Peak
Forty-one miles south of Bend . . . From 8,000' the visitor sees a magnificent panorama of snow-covered mountains. old volcanoes (cinder cones) and vast rangelands. Also visible is the greatest obsidian flow in the United States. Take paved Newberry Crater Road off U.S. Highway 97. twenty-four miles south of Bend The rood up the peak is gravel and should be traveled with caution.

24 Benham Falls
Eleven miles south of Bend . . . Hiking trails access to spectacular series of untamed whitewater. Follow Highway 97 eleven miles south and turn at Lava Lands Visitor Center. Continue four miles post the center. along to cinder road to the picnic area. Walk downstream - to the right and across the footbridge - about one mile to Benham Falls.

25 Tumalo Falls
Fourteen miles west of Bend. A beautiful 97 foot waterfall deep in the pine forest. The area was damaged by fire in the summer of 1979. Drive west on Franklin Avenue via Drake Park. Proceed out Galveston Avenue to the city limits; stay on surfaced road eleven miles. then 3 1/2 miles on graveled forest road.

Geology . . .

26 Lava Butte and Lava Lands Visitor Center
Eleven miles south of Bend, located on Highway 97. . . Lava Butte is a unique, volcanic cone with a paved road to the top providing an outstanding view of the Cascades. Lava Lands Visitor Center offers displays and slide shows describing the history of lava areas Three interpretive trails meander around Lava Buttes's Crater, over the lava flow and through adjoining pine forest. Naturalist on duty Open daily, mid-March - October. No admission charge.

27 Lava River Cave
Twelve miles south of Bend . . . Located on U.S. Highway 97, near Lava Butte. Spectacular lava tube nearly a mile long. Lantern rental during summer months only. Comfortable walking shoes and warm clothes suggested. Admission charge.

28 Lava Cast Forest
Fourteen miles south of Bend the largest forest of lava tree molds in the world. Located opposite the Sunriver turn-off, south of Bend on Highway 97. Turn east on Forest Road #9720. It is nine miles on a cinder road to the trail head. A paved, self-guided nature trail wanders by many examples of vertical and horizontal tree molds or casts in the lava. No admission charge.

29 The Caves
Various locations south of Bend . . Besides Lava River Cove (see #27), there are many lava tubes southeast of Bend. These are generally well-marked and a great place to explore with some preparation Go south of Bend on Highway 97 to China Hat Road (Road # 18); turn east and travel about 8 miles on mostly gravel roads. Rood #1820 goes to Arnold Ice Cave. Also marked with signs are Boyd Cove and Wind Cave. A detailed map of the area is advisable. Check road conditions.

30 Newberry Crater
Thirty-seven miles southeast of Bend . The largest ice age volcano in Oregon. Several enormous violent eruptions formed this five mile wide caldera called Newberry Crater. Within the crater lie East and Paulina Lakes (known for their excellent trout fishing), a lava flow of block gloss (obsidian) Paulina Falls and Paulina Peak. In the winter, roods into this area are only plowed for the first ten miles to the Sno-Park (permits required). Travel 24 miles south of Bend on Highway 97, turning east on County Rood #21 ( look for signs).


Published: 28 Apr 2002 | Last Updated: 15 Sep 2010
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication

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