Snowshoeing: If you find yourself missing the snow, head to higher ground and bring along a pair of snow shoes. The closest trails can be found along the Cascade Lakes Highway at both Virginia Meissner and Swampy Lakes sno-parks. Be sure to read up on trail etiquette, as many of the routes are shared with cross-country skiers.
Cougar hot springs: Two hours from Bend, Cougar hot springs is nestled in the Willamette National Forest under a cover of mossy trees and plants. For $6.00/day visitors can enjoy one of 5 rock-walled, stair-stepped pools, that sit between 90 and 112 degrees. Rain or shine, it makes for a very relaxing “spring” getaway.
Golf: The spring golf season is here. Lost Tracks Golf Course, located off China Hat Rd, offers a practice facility open to the public. Whether you’re a pro golfer or just want to try a new sport, heading to a public driving range is a great way to enjoy the sunshine for people of any age. Etiquette and attire are important at golf courses, so be sure to get familiar with them before hitting the range.
Dog friendly places: If you have a dog, or just want to see some dogs, Bend is the place to be. While nearly all hikes are dog-friendly, that doesn’t necessarily mean off-leash. Pine Nursery Park, off Purcell Blvd., offers an enclosed off-leash field and trail. Other parks with off-leash areas include Hollinshead Park, Riverbend Park, Hillside Park, and Big Sky Park. Always bring a leash just in case.
Climbing (Smith & Gym): Whether you enjoy climbing inside or outside, Central Oregon has you covered. Bend Rock Gym, located on Centennial Ct., provides a facility for beginner and expert climbers. The gym is a great place to visit when spring weather is less than desirable. Smith Rock State Park, located in Terrebonne, Or., has a variety of climbing, hiking, and biking trails. Hike in the morning or afternoon, or even catch the sunrise from the top of Misery Ridge. Be sure to bring your Oregon State Parks Pass when staying their for the day or overnight.
Skiing/Snowboarding : Mount Bachelor will remain open until Memorial Day weekend – weather permitting. Be sure to get your spring passes before April 2. The operation hours of the Mountain will change on April 3, so be sure to check their website before heading up. Get in an extra 56 days of spring skiing in at one of the best mountains in Oregon.
Cycling: Central Oregon is home to a variety of trails to explore. Though snow continues to scatter many of them, get your gear ready to started riding. Trails throughout Phil’s Trail, Shevlin Park, and Swampy Lakes areas provide many cyclists with a variety of trails for both beginners and experts. Road cyclists can also begin riding the roads clear of snow – Mount Bachelor to Bend is one of the many challenging routes you can begin to travel on, plus a quality way to begin training for the 2017 Pole Pedal Paddle.
Belknap hot springs: 59296 N Belknap Springs Rd., McKenzie Bridge, OR 97413
Belknap Hot Springs is a staple Oregon hot spring location located off of the Mckenzie River. Belknap Hot Springs includes a mineral hot spring pool, lodging, camp sites, and a secret garden. There is a lower, upper, and hot springs source available to everyone. To use the pools, it is $15 per person 9am-9pm all year. For hotel or guests camping or staying in their cabins, the pools are kept open on the weekend as well until 10 pm. Visiting for the day to just explore the gardens and trails along the campsites is free. Whether you are staying as a guest in a hotel or cabins or just visiting for a day, Belknap Hot Springs is a unique place home to Oregon that everyone should visit.
Umpqua Hot Springs: Address: 18782 N Umpqua Hwy, Glide, OR 97443
Umpqua Hot Springs is a 2 ½ hour drive from Bend located above the North Umpqua River. A short but steep quarter mile hike from the parking lot leads to natural soaking pools that have a view of the Umpqua river below while being surrounded by trees. As a warning, clothing is optional at this hot spring. As well as a designated parking lot, there is a bathroom near the hot springs along with campsites and picnic tables located next to the parking area. Umpqua Hot Springs is relatively cheap and fun Spring Break road trip with a small fee of $5 for parking. The breathtaking views and natural hot springs makes the trip and hike well-worth it.
By: Olivia Webb, Alicia Welbourn, hannah Welbourn and Katya Agatucci | The Broadside