Fabulous Hiking Near Bend, Oregon

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Sooooo, as many of you know, come summer of 2022, Bend, Oregon is going to be our new home. I recently had the opportunity to spend 5 days there to ‘check on the house’ and do some exploring in and around town. Thought I’d share a few highlights – it was SPECTACULAR and exceeded every expectation.

First off, people always ask why we are leaving Colorado. The choice to move to Colorado nearly 20 years ago was, hands down, one of the best decisions of my life. My best answer is that we want to spend a decade or so exploring the Pacific Northwest (PNW) while we can still physically move at a decent pace….it gets a little scary as you move north of 55. What happens after that? Who the heck knows. We’ll figure that out as we go forward. Lots of things can happen. In the meantime, we are going to explore every nook and cranny that Oregon, Washington and Northern California (and probably a little of Montana and Idaho) have to offer.

Bend is a super cute town with all kinds of shops and restaurants. The surrounding area is pretty stunning also. One thing I will say is that the landscape is not nearly as dramatic as the gigantic mountains of Colorado. At least on the surface. Once you find a trail and start hiking, the things you see in Oregon, we just don’t see in Colorado. Bonus: Everything is seemingly within an hour of town.

I’ll start with Smith Rock State park outside of Redmond, Oregon – 30 minutes from Bend. Getting to Smith Rock is pretty unremarkable. You pass a bunch of fast food restaurants, strip malls and gas stations wondering what on earth could be so amazing about the destination. THEN you get to the parking lot and it becomes clear what makes this place so special.

The big rocks here are made up of layers and layers of volcanic basalt. It took about 30 million years to form what is now called Smith Rock State Park. Turns out it’s the birthplace of American sport climbing which means there are a ton of rock climbers scaling the walls. The Crooked River flows through the park adding some pretty cool dimension to the terrain – of course the water is perfectly clear. Looking forward to doing some trail running out here! There is a trail along the river and a couple that will take you higher to the top of rock formations. I stuck with the river trail which didn’t disappoint.

Tumalo Falls, 20 minutes from Bend is up next. Sometimes I’m a little leery when people rave about trails – kind of like what I am doing here! This was a HUGE surprise. You can either drive to the top for a beautiful viewpoint and do an 8 to 9 mile loop or, you can start at the bottom and hike to the base of a few waterfalls. I took option 1, only because I didn’t know what I was doing. OMG, it was unbelievable. The valley was lush, green and flowing with beautiful water. The forest was sooo green and dense, it was like something out of a kid’s story book. The drive up offers some fly-fishing opportunities that will be fun to explore.

Thank goodness for awesome new friends. One of my all-time favorite bloggers and now life-long friend, Jules over at Go Jules Go, introduced me to the Six Lakes Trail. It’s off the Cascade Lakes Scenic Byway, again about 40 minutes away. We got to the trailhead with Uncle Jesse (her pup) and headed into the dense woods of thee Three Sisters Wilderness. It had just snowed the day before so the ground was covered with an inch or so of ice and snow. It was STUNNING on the trail. We hiked in about 2.5 miles but could have gone further into the wilderness – looking at the map it looks like an incredible area to backpack. In true Oregon fashion, there was water along the way – in fact, 2 lakes – Blow and Doris. I can’t seem to capture how stunning these alpine lakes really are.

All in all, the trip was a huge success and as you can see, there are all kinds of things to see and do in and around the area – all types of terrain depending on what you feel like that day.

The best part of all of this is that you can spend the day in a really beautiful place and then have time to grab drinks or a bite with friends later in the day. Pretty spectacular.

…i choose this…

Pam

73 comments

  1. She’s just kidding everyone; this place is terrible and the people you meet here are even worse! Okay, but, seriously, your photos?! They actually come close to doing these hikes justice, which is the best I can say about anyone’s CO (you’re gonna have to swap that acronym from ‘Colorado’ to ‘Central Oregon’) because it’s so hard to capture their majesty! Now excuse me, I need to go tear off another page of my ‘Pam in Bend!’ countdown calendar… *squee*

    Liked by 1 person

      1. My daughter is lobbying hard for a PNW trip next summer. We have about 300,000 southwest points to use so we gotta get flying. You may see us sooner than you want. Hmmm. Mountain bike while on vacation. Not so sure that’s a good idea after Eli broke his hip in Maine.

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  2. I have friends and family in the Bend area!
    …yes I did find the rock climber (that is insane) …and it is not horrible north of 55 😁 Although I do tread carefully over rocky terrain!

    Beautiful photos, enjoy your new home Pam!

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    1. Thanks Lisa, if you make it there, reach out and lets grab a coffee! I am already north of 55 and can feel myself slowing down a little. Trying to do bootcamps to stay fit – it helps a little! I would like to be hiking/running/biking well into my 60’s. Life is the best it’s ever been at the moment – super happy. The rock climber on the wall kind of makes me want to puke. I will climb at the gym, but that wall is a bit extreme for me. Love watching them to their thing. Have an awesome day Lisa!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s been in the works for over a year now, but it’s about to become real! I’m scared, but at the same time, thrilled. It’s a great place – every time I go, I see something new. Thanks for sharing in the excitement!

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  3. No wonder Bend frequently tops the list as one of the best places to live in the United States as it is surrounded by volcanoes, alpine lakes, and vast wilderness areas, and that’s why I can easily see why you are so excited about moving to Bend Oregon as there are many reasons to love it. Wishing you all the best with the move 🙂 Aiva xx

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Aiva! Yes, it always does top the lists! Many people are moving there because of it. I can attest, it’s pretty incredible. And thanks for the well wishes. I’ll probably cry the whole way from Colorado, but I’ll be fine when we settle in 🥰🥰🥰

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  4. I have a sister in law in Sisters Oregon who took us to a few places between there & Bend. I decided right then that Oregon (never seen Colorado) was the most beautiful state in the US. You’ll have fun for a long time!

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    1. It is a beautiful place!!! Sisters is a really cute town also. Love driving through there. PS trying to comment on your Mexico post, but having troubles. Great post by the way. I love Mexico and all of the sometimes sad things that go with it.

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  5. Looks like you’re moving to an area that will suit you perfectly. I love the look of the scenery in Smith Rocks in particular – amazing rock formations! Do you follow Siobhan at Bend Branches (https://bendbranches.com/)? If not you should definitely check out her posts for more great ideas on things to do in that area!

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    1. Thanks for the link! I think I have seen her over the years but don’t follow her – I will though! Yeah, the place pretty much ticks off all of the important things for us. However, I will miss Colorado for sure.

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      1. We sure are! The cold weather is moving in so that will be hard to cope with after twelve years in California. But we love our house, our neighborhood, and the slower (and more affordable) pace to life.

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks! We turned 56 this year….slowing down a little, but I’ve been doing a bootcamp 3 times a week to build some strength and endurance. This is the 1st birthday, where I have genuinely felt blessed to be alive for another year. So dramatic. lol

      Liked by 2 people

  6. So glad you had a (more than) satisfying trip; I could feel your trepidation about the move, but even though it’ll still be hard, you have so much to look forward to. I’m glad Smith Rock lived up to my rave reviews, and you added some stuff we will try when we are out there next time!

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    1. Thanks for the support lady! I’ll have all kinds of cool stuff for us to do when you all come up :-). And yes, Smith Rock was incredible. Next time I’ll do the Misery Loop, I just didn’t have all of my gear to do that safely. I think I may need a stick to navigate some of the steep spots!

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  7. Your future home looks and sounds amazing. I can see the appeal of it. You make a good point about aging and doing what you can while you feel physically able to do it. Plus, slowing down around all this natural beauty wouldn’t be a bad thing.

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  8. Peggy and I will be in Bend on Wednesday, Pam ,and will definitely be out exploring some of the trails. The two of us will be picking up a small trailer and are planning to hit the open road for 4-5 years, mainly focusing on Ameica and Canada’s wilderness areas. Glad to see you are really enjoying Bend. Oregon is absolutely filled with beautiful areas to explore. The Three Sister’s Wilderness is one! Peggy and I backpacked through it three years a go as part of my 750 mile trek on the PCT to celebrate my 75th birthday. Yes indeed, there is life after 55. 🙂 –Curt

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    1. Shoot, I wish I was going to be in town to buy you lunch! You 2 are my heros – ALWAYS. I want to be backpacking in my 70’s!!!! So excited for you both on the next grand adventure. What are you doing with your home?

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  9. Wow sounds like a life-changing move going from Colorado to Oregon. But your photos make Bend look like a wonderful place to be based for exploring the state and that part of the United States. Looks a beautiful area.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It will most definitely be life-changing….We have not been as nomadic as you all in a LONG time, so it’s a bit stressful!! BUT, we are excited for a change, and it means we will not be working much, if any, at all. That’s pretty cool. 🙂

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  10. Looks like you’ll have lots of cool stuff to explore in your soon-to-be new home. How exciting and good for you to make this change. For some reason, you dropped off my follow list, but that has been remedied now.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, we are excited and scared! Yes, a ton to explore up there and We will hopefully be mostly retired. Thanks for the re follow 😉. I’ve been in and out of WP during Covid, work was kicking my butt.

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