Trail it up in Bend, Oregon
** Updated 3/27/20 — Central Oregon National Forests Temporarily Close All Developed Recreation Sites **
Update from USFS:
“All developed recreation sites, including trailheads, for all activities are closed. We are desperately urging people to follow the Governor’s executive order and Stay Home and Save Lives. Under the order people can do dispersed recreation on the forest, but we still are urging people “to do the outdoors from your back door”. We know for all the avid recreationists in Central Oregon this is a tough pill to take, but we are consistently seeing people gather in large numbers at our recreation sites. The longer people continue to gather in such a way the longer this might last for all of us.”
- Bend Trails – COVID-19 Trail Use Updates
- Central Oregon Trail Alliance – Forest Service/BLM Closures & Restrictions
- Central Oregon Daily – COVID-19 Closures & Cancellations
Get Outside – At A Distance
We can still get outside for fresh air and exercise, you just need to stay closer to home and continue with social distancing measures. Ride your bike, walk, or run to open trails from your home, or take up urban hiking around your neighborhood.
COTA has received clarification from the USFS/Bend office:
- Trailheads are closed; do not drive to or park nearby.
- Forest Service roads and singletrack trails are still open at this time.
- Ride, walk, or run from your back door only. Skip shuttling or carpools, or driving out to trails.
PLEASE follow these suggestions:
- Ride, walk, or run solo (or if with 1-2 others, maintaining 6+ feet physical distance between you!)
- Ideally, ride forest service roads INSTEAD of singletrack. Some trails are still experiencing freeze/thaw soggy conditions. Plus you simply can’t pass safely on singletrack without riding wide. Don’t do it. Protect yourself, protect others, protect nature.
- Take it easy….the ER & Urgent Care Centers do NOT want more customers.
In a time of social distancing, we can still remain healthy and enjoy our beautiful outdoors; exercise is not only good for the soul, but the vitamin D is helpful for immune systems.
Many experts agree; it’s okay to go outdoors for fresh air and exercise — to walk your dog, go for a hike or ride your bicycle, for example. The point is not to remain indoors, but to avoid being in close contact with people.
So, for now, getting outside – avoiding crowded locations – seems like a healthy thing to do.
In Central Oregon, “Spring” can be warm and sunny, or, it can be cold and snowy, so locals jokingly call this time of year “Spring-ter. This year we’ve experienced a late snowfall, so there is snow on higher elevations and in town, though it’s still a good time to get outside and explore. (But, let’s face it; we Oregonians will head outside whatever the weather…)
Whatever the weather, before you head outside it’s a good idea to check current trail conditions and plan accordingly.
If you’re visiting Central Oregon, you’ll see why we locals are proud to call it home. The amazing views we get to see every day are almost unreal. From the mountains, to the rivers, to the wooded forest land, to the amazing waterfalls, each trail you hike (or run, or bike) offers its own charm, beauty, and ‘personality’. And, it doesn’t matter how many times you explore the same trail, it never ever gets old.
Hit the trails: Around Town
Hike, bike, or run, we’ve got you covered with 65+ miles of managed trail in town and hundreds more throughout Central Oregon, so there’s always a new adventure to be found.
One of our personal favorites, and a favorite to many locals and visitors alike, is the Deschutes River Trail. You can hop on the trail at numerous ‘starting points’ and go as far as you’d like – a mile or 10+ miles. And, no matter how far you go, the scenery along the way doesn’t disappoint. The great thing about this river trail is that it hooks up to many other trail systems around town, so you can start at the Old Mill District shopping area and ultimately en up in the middle of the woods. Or, do a quick 3-mile loop past Farewell Bend Park, along the river, and back to the Old Mill area/Riverbend Park.
** Updated 4/16/20 — Bend Park & Recreation District is implementing a temporary rule change to the popular South Canyon section of the Deschutes River Trail. ** Per BPRD’s website:
To support the public with opportunities to get outside and recreate on trails while maintaining appropriate distancing, the Bend Park & Recreation District is implementing a temporary rule change to the popular South Canyon section of the Deschutes River Trail.
The change designates one of the most heavily used stretches of the river trail as a one-way route and prohibits the use of bikes on that section. The change for the section of the Deschutes River Trail is from Farewell Bend Park and Riverbend Park to the South Canyon Bridge.
Trail users will see signage and directional markers placed this week indicating the appropriate one-way route of travel. In addition, bikes are prohibited to avoid user conflict on the narrow trail. New signs include reminders to maintain 6 feet for distancing and to keep dogs on leash. Maps of the directional loops with approximate distance and time for travel will also be posted.
- Trail directory | Bend Parks and Recreation District
- Shevlin Park trail system
- Pilot Butte
- Popular Bend running trails
- Popular Bend hiking trails
- 12 Best Running Trails in America, According to People Who Run for a Living
Hit the trails: Snowshoeing
With snow covering trails in higher elevations, you may want to strap on some snowshoes and explore. Make sure you have the correct gear (all available to rent or purchase in town ) and head up to the trails for some peaceful – or heart-pounding – snowy adventures away from the hustle and bustle.
For those looking to break fresh tracks on their own, there a number of retail stores that rent equipment and sell trail maps. All five Sno-parks along or near Century Drive allow snowshoeing. Be courteous to your cross country ski friends and make your own tracks alongside the established ski trails. (Source: Visit Bend)
You can even experience a guided snowshoe tour during the daytime, in the moonlight, around a bonfire, or with beer (because, Bend).
Map – Snowshoe rentals in Bend, Oregon:
Hit the trails: Mountain + Fat Biking
Central Oregon is a mecca for bike riders all year long. With more than 300 miles of singletrack throughout the area – from Sisters to Prineville, Sunriver to Bend to Redmond – mountain bikers come to town to take advantage of the plethora of trails.
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. Other users are excluded sometimes (bikes, horses, motos) — but never foot users. Some trails are prone to high-speed bike traffic and have short visibility corridors — so eyes forward and ear-buds out for safety. (Source: BendTrails.org)
Map – Bike rentals in Bend, Oregon:
- Tips on fat biking in Central Oregon
- Central Oregon groomed fat bike trails
- Central Oregon mountain bike trails
Whichever trail you choose to explore, please don’t forget your manners. We take trail etiquette pretty seriously around here, so know the rules before you head outside.
And, please continue to exercise and explore the outdoors in accordance with social distancing guidelines. The CDC and the Oregon Health Authority websites remain your best and most accurate sources of information for up to date mandates and news.
Happy, and healthy trails to you.