Spring options in Central Oregon
As the weather warms up, many outdoor recreational opportunities open themselves up here in Bend, Oregon. We asked a handful of Central Oregon Community College faculty where they like to go when the sun shines and the mercury rises.
“Getting out to any of the parks is a great option for students,” said professor of psychology, Matt Novak.
A favorite location of his is the Larkspur trail in northeast Bend. During these months Novak and his family go mountain biking on this trail, as well as riding up Pilot Butte. Novak enjoys spending the warmer months during a variety of family oriented activities.
Another favorite place to get out to is Mountain Bachelor. He enjoys nordic skiing at Virginia Meissner Snow Park where there are accessible trails for the family.
Michel Waller, professor of Anthropology, likes to head east into the desert towards Fort Rock, Oregon. While out there, Waller hikes along the continuous trails. A favorite of his is the Pike Creek Trail.
“It is only a couple miles, but it is a more strenuous hike,” Waller said.
Another location Waller recommends is the Painted Hills in Wheeler County. The near two hour drive from Bend allows for a scenic drive to view unique areas in the John Day Fossil Beds.
Amy Howell, Early Childhood Education, appreciates the High Desert scenery during the spring.
“It’s a great time on a college campus, everyone has a hint of spring in their step,” Howell said.
As spring approaches, Howell tries to get outside as much as possible. One of her favorite locations to spend the days is Shevlin Park. Her and her family enjoy exploring the many trails at the park.
A recurring favorite of each faculty member, is Mountain Bachelor, located nearly 20 miles west of Bend. Whether they are skiing, snowboarding, or just hanging out with their families, each one says it is a great spring hangout location.
Although the Cascade Lakes Highway is currently blocked by snow, Jennifer Cruickshank, instructor of health and human performance, likes to nordic ski on the trails to any of the lakes. Her favorite: Elk Lake.
“When the snow melts it is a great place to go swimming or hang out with the family. Everywhere is super dog friendly, which is also very important,” Cruickshank said.
One of Cruickshank’s favorite places to hike is Smith Rock located in Terrebonne, OR. “It’s too hot and crowded during the summer, so getting out there during the spring is the perfect time to go,” Cruickshank said.
Cruickshank also recommends heading out to the McKenzie River trail to visit the different falls (Sahalie and Koosah Falls) and trails. These trails are available to hikers, runners, or even mountain bikers and they provide a variety of trails and trail lengths. When out near the trail, Cruickshank is also able to visit Belknap Hot Springs. At Belknap, there are plenty of different attractions, such as the hot springs, public pool, gardens, and different campgrounds.
When the sun is down Cruikshank recommends the Pine Mountain Observatory to go to look at the stars at night.
Though there are numerous places close by to visit as the weather gets warmer,
“It’s key to remember that there are great areas to go that are still close to town,” Cruickshank said.
Olivia Webb | The Broadside