Explore the Natural Wonders of Central Oregon

Deciding what hiking trail to explore is the greatest challenge faced by hikers visiting and living in Central Oregon.

Sunriver is an incredible jump off place to explore nearby trails and those a short drive away. Alpine lakes, majestic Ponderosa pines, breathtaking waterfalls, volcanic vistas and incredible mountain views await beginning to advanced hikers.

Hiking checklist

Before you venture to a hiking trail,

  1. Check the weather. It can be sunny in Sunriver and snowing 10 miles up the road. Weather can be unpredictable in Central Oregon.
  2. Pack a backpack with snacks, water, First Aid kit, extra clothes and socks and a flashlight.
  3. Tell someone where you are going and when you expect to be back.
  4. Pick up a season or day pass. Before you head to a hiking trail, make sure you have a recreational pass. Visit https://www.recreation.gov/pass/ for passes to Oregon’s central Cascade Mountains. The U.S. Forest Service will require permits starting May 28 for some of the most popular trails in the Mount Jefferson, Three Sisters and Mount Washington wilderness areas.
  5. Talk to the locals. Stop by any of the recreational stores in The Village to ask questions about hiking trails. The Sunriver Hiking Club explores Central Oregon Trails and can be reached at sunriverhikingclub@gmail.com.

Hikes for every level

With 34 miles of paved paths, a hike in Sunriver will take you alongside the Deschutes River, past golf courses and among towering pine trees. Stroll across the Cardinal Landing Bridge, near Circle 5, to the new Sunriver Trails. While designed for mountain biking, the trails are open to hikers and trail runners.

The Sun-Lava Trail, a 5.5 mile paved bike path, connects the Sunriver Resort with the Lava Lands Visitor Center. Or if you prefer, drive to the Lava Lands Visitor Center and hike the loop (1.1 miles), to Benham Falls (6.6 miles) or the Deschutes River Trail (4.7 miles).

Moderate day hikes near Sunriver include the Tumalo Falls Loop, Soda Creek Trail, Paulina Plunge, Todd Lake and Fall River Falls.

If the mountains are calling your name, try the South Sister Trail, Broken Top, Green Lakes, Moraine Lakes and Crater Ditch Trails. 

Sunriver provides convenient access to the Cascade Lakes National Scenic Byway. Starting in Sunriver and ending in Bend, the scenic drive offers beautiful scenery as it circles Mt. Bachelor. Along the way, you can hike to one of the many mountain lakes. You’ll also find rustic resorts equipped with convenience stores and/or restaurants as well as overnight cabins for rent. Serious hikers can leave their cars at trailheads along the highway and enjoy a more rugged backcountry experience in the nearby Three Sisters Wilderness Area.

If you are hiking in the Wilderness you will need to fill out a Wilderness permit before entry and remember group sizes are limited to 12 people. The Cascade Lakes Scenic Byway is closed during the winter and usually does not open until Memorial Day weekend.

To learn more about the local trails in the Deschutes National Forest, go to fs.usda.gov/main/Deschutes or visit Sunriver Books & Music in The Village at Sunriver to purchase hiking books and maps.