On an overcast morning during my stay at Sunriver Resort, just outside of Bend, Ore., I decided to look for a hike instead of a golf course.
I was directed to Benham Falls, the trail for which started just on the edge of the sprawling and heavily forested Sunriver property. It turned out be one of the best travel audibles, and hikes, ever.
The hike begins with a tranquil stroll through the forest over a paved trail until at about the 2-mile mark you cross a wooden bridge over the Deschutes River. This is an optimal place to admire the scenery of central Oregon and even glean a little history of the river. There are educational signs posted along the banks about the discovery of the area, logging, etc.
Once you cross the bridge, it’s about 500 yards to that movie moment where you can hear the falls but not quite see them. In another 100 feet or so, you can get close enough to the river to see it turning turbid. Beyond that, you’re free to follow the beauty and power of natural unleashed for miles through towering canyon falls lined with pine trees and giant logs strewn across the river.
Not anticipating there’d be so much to follow and actually see (and I did have a later tee time to keep), I only tracked the falls through the first of its few dramatic and scenic turns in the river, but the trails give you some awesome and varied perspectives to do so. Those natural landings and outcroppings allowed for the videos that follow.
This was the first time I’d hiked a falls, and it made it immediately memorable and among the best I’d taken.
The short list of memorable hikes:
Sweetheart Rock in Lanai
Smith Rock (same trip – more on this in a later post)
So if you get to central Oregon, definitely hike the falls, and those to follow. It surely will be as memorable for you as it was for me.