5 Ways To Hit The Trails In Central Oregon

Got trail?

You’re never far away from a trail in Central Oregon. Hike, run, bike, or ride, we’ve got hundreds of miles to explore and unlimited adventures to experience!  Physical distancing measures remain in place on the trails and with the seasonal weather that can change almost hourly, before you head outside it’s a good idea to check current trail conditions, possible trail closures, and plan accordingly.

New for the 2021 season, the United States Forest Service (USFS) has implemented a limited entry permit system to help keep our wilderness “wild”. Beginning the Friday before Memorial Day and ending the last Friday in September, overnight permits will be required within the Mt. Jefferson, Mt. Washington and Three Sisters Wilderness. Day-use permits will be required on 19 of the 79 trails in those wildernesses. Reservations for permits are open now – Learn more about this new system and how it works at VisitCentralOregon.com.


Here are 5 ways to hit the trails in Bend and Central Oregon:


1. Hiking & Running

We’ve got you covered with 65+ miles of managed trail in Bend and hundreds more throughout Central Oregon, so there’s always a new adventure to be found and a trail to explore.  Please remember to practice distancing and follow all posted signs as some trails are following a one-way system during the pandemic.

Distancing on the trails done right:

  • Visit less popular trails at less busy times – most BPRD trails are open 5 am to 10 pm. If crowded, go elsewhere or at another time
  • Use wide trails to stay 6 feet from others while passing
  • Offer a wide berth when passing and if approaching from behind, say a friendly “hello, passing on your left”
  • Keep your dog on leash – it’s the law in Bend.
  • Go only with members of your household or a small group – no large groups
  • Wash your hands before and after a visit
  • If you’re sick, stay home

Source: Bend Park and Recreation District


There are many in-town short running routes, but for those craving longer workouts, explore Shevlin Park, which includes 647 acres of diverse old-growth forest with Tumalo Creek as the central feature. The Green Lakes Trail, off the Cascade Lakes Scenic Byway, offers heavenly views and gentle climbs. There are also a number of trails at Smith Rock State Park in Terrebonne, promising ultra-runners extreme elevation gain and challenging terrain.

Source: Visit Bend


In Redmond, the Dry Canyon Park winds through the center of Redmond, offering recreational amenities as well as traditional park services, including a pavilion, benches, picnic tables, water fountains, a dog park, tennis, pickle ball, softball, 3.7 miles of trails, and more.

Source: Redmond Chamber of Commerce


If you are interested in connecting with a local running club check out either the Central Oregon Running Klub or the Central Oregon Track Club.  Or, head to FootZone in downtown Bend, a local’s favorite – no matter your skill level or pace – for getting all the gear and learning directly from running gurus.


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2. Fat Biking & Mountain Biking

Central Oregon is a destination for bike riders all year long. Central Oregon MTB trails are roughly grouped by region and include over 900 miles of single track. If you’re not familiar with Bend, start by looking at the Bend mountain bike trail map — or just pick a trail, and start exploring.

The meticulously maintained trails cater to riders of all abilities and disciplines, from beginner and kid-friendly cross country, to downhill and dirt-jumping. All trails are multi-use trails in that hikers, runners and walkers can use any trail they want.

Source: BendTrails.org

However you enjoy the trails, we take trail etiquette pretty seriously around here. Please share the trail, practice responsible recreation, and have fun!

  • Descending riders stop for others: We all love the downhill, but skidding out of control is not cool. Expect some uphill riders and be ready to move to one side of the trail, stopping until your line is clear.
  • Tread on trail: Thanks for yielding to other riders – but remember that riding off into the bushes widens and damages trails. Instead, put a foot down and feel good knowing that tread on the trail keeps singletrack narrow and fun.
  • Look, listen, smile: As trail users, we rely on one another. Have fun, and keep your eyes and ears open. Smile and say hello! You are in one of the best mountain bike areas in the nation.

Source: Central Oregon Trail Alliance – COTA


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3. Horseback Riding

If meandering through the trails and forest on horseback is more your thing, we’ve got you covered in Central Oregon with miles and miles of trail and beautiful scenery as you explore the Deschutes National Forest horse riding trails. Take a day trip, an overnight camp, or experience an incredible horseback adventure through the ​High Desert with a guided trail ride.


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4. Snowshoeing

Trails were made for exploring in all seasons! When the snow falls, the forest becomes a magical playground with an abundance of options for fun.

If you’re looking to head out on your own, there are many local stores that can help with equipment rental and trail map, and there are several Sno Parks off the Cascade Lakes Highway that allow snowshoeing.

Try marked snowshoe routes at Virginia Meissner and Swampy Lakes Sno Parks off of Century Drive just outside of Bend. These are two main areas where snowshoers can find trails, warming huts, and solace in the Deschutes National Forest. Source: Visit Central Oregon

Wherever you go, make your own tracks along the established ski trail and be mindful of trail etiquette along the way.

Or, take your snowshoeing adventures off-trail and experience Bend’s snowy winter wonderland with a professional tour guide. Wanderlust Tours offers snowshoe tours for all ages, experience levels, and interests. From exploring under the stars to daytime views and brews, there’s a tour guide ready to show you the beauty of Bend in the snow!


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5. The Bend Ale Trail

After a long day of exploring the trails around Central Oregon, why not experience a trail that’s a little more delicious: The Bend Ale Trail, the largest beer trail in the west. You must be 21 to participate. No purchase necessary… but let’s support our local breweries and enjoy some tasty craft beer! Get the full details about the BAT, download your trail passport, and read the rules for how to participate this year at Visit Bend.


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Happy trails to you!




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About Keeley Mannila

As the co-founder and owner of Fred Real Estate Group, Keeley is the driving force behind company culture, branding, and creative marketing strategy.