Without a doubt the best way to appreciate the natural beauty of Central Oregon is on foot. Not surprisingly, there are enough hiking trails here to keep any avid walker happy for a lifetime. Your home at Milepost 1 will be a trailhead for one of the best – the ever-popular and growing River Trail. (Resist the urge to charge your friends a parking fee when they come over.)
The River Trail meanders south past powerful Lava Island, Dillon and Benham falls all the way to Sunriver, as well as north to downtown Bend and beyond. When you want to explore somewhere else, you’re just a short drive from Pilot Butte and its spectacular 360-degree view, a leisurely stroll along Tumalo Creek in Shevlin Park, or any number of rewarding hikes in the Three Sisters Wilderness.
Local Insight: With a little advance training, you could work your way up to tackling the Big Kahuna of Central Oregon hikes – the 10,358-foot summit of South Sister. The trail gains 4,900 feet in elevation and is 5.5 miles to the top. Yet no special climbing skills or technical equipment are necessary. Plan your trip for mid-August to late September when weather and trail conditions are at their best. And try to avoid weekends when the trail is most crowded.
In 2009, Mountain Bike Action magazine named Bend, Oregon its top Mountain Biking town in the country. And it’s only gotten better since then.
Volunteers with the Central Oregon Trail Alliance are constantly expanding the vast network of single-track trails and keeping them in immaculate condition. You’ll find everything from smooth-rolling beginner trails to gnarly lava-rock descents. And it’s all easily accessible from your back door at Milepost 1. In fact, a newly paved bike path now parallels the highway across from Milepost 1, connecting the nearby Cascade Lakes Welcome Center with everything in Bend.
Local Insight: You can ride year-round in Central Oregon. When the nearby river trail and the popular Phil’s Trail complex are limited by snowfall, head east to the Badlands, or north to the Smith Rock area.
It should be readily apparent that every day at Milepost 1 is a feast for the senses. And that includes your sense of taste.
In recent years, a new group of sophisticated restaurateurs has settled into Central Oregon. They are some of the top chefs in the country, who have been-there-done-that in the big city and are now choosing to ply their trade in a town where quality of life means as much as the quality of their sauces. How lucky for the rest of us!
You can sample for yourself at many local eateries, including Solomon's, Ariana, 5 Fusion, Joolz and Zydeco.
Local Insight: When you’re out having a blast on the river, the golf course, the trail or the slopes, it’s not easy to shut down the fun in time for a dinner reservation. That’s why the Bend dining scene has become dominated by the local brewpubs and other casual come-as-you-are eateries.
Thanks to recent expansion, waits at Deschutes Brewery are usually more tolerable these days. There’s always room for more around the fire pit at 10 Barrel Brewing Co. If you want something quicker and closer, Cascade Lakes Brewing is just two roundabouts away from Milepost 1. But to discover the new local favorite for any time of day, check out Jackson’s Corner between downtown and the Old Mill District.
They call it “Mt. Bachelor” because it stands apart from the other Cascade peaks, and stands alone among ski resorts in this part of the world. With a peak at more than 9,000 feet, Mt. Bachelor gets dryer snow and more sunshine than most Pacific Northwest ski areas. And its well-designed collection of high-speed quad chairs consistently ranks among the top five lift systems in the country.
Milepost 1 is the closest community to Mt. Bachelor, easily less than 20 minutes away. For Nordic skiers and snowmobilers the groomed trails of Virginia Meisner and Wanoga Sno-Parks are less than 10 minutes up the road. So enjoy hitting the snooze button or having an extra cup of coffee in the morning. You’ll still be the one making first tracks.
Local Insight: Wind can be a factor on the slopes of Mt. Bachelor. Luckily, it has some of the best tree skiing in the country. After the woods get tracked up, hike up Cinder Cone. It has the perfect pitch and you can always find good, untouched powder, even four or five days after a big storm.
In the last two decades, Central Oregon has exploded onto the national golf scene. With two dozen courses designed by the likes of Jack Nicklaus, Tom Fazio, Robert Trent Jones, Jr., John Faught and David McLay Kidd, it’s like Palm Springs with Ponderosas.
Within a 45-minute drive, you can tee off on desert-style courses at Pronghorn and Juniper, classic mountain layouts at Black Butte Ranch and Aspen Lakes, wetland courses in Sunriver and Prineville, or a Scottish-style links course at Tetherow. But we have a gut feeling your favorite Central Oregon course of all will be Widgi Creek – the one that’s only 50 yards from your future home at Milepost 1.
Local Insight: If you’re playing Widgi Creek, leave your driver in the car. The course demands precision, not power.
The popularity of paddle sports in Central Oregon has grown by leaps and bounds in the past few decades. First came the canoes. Then kayaks in all shapes, sizes and colors. And now, it seems like every other car or SUV in town is carrying a stand-up paddleboard or two.
For flat water paddling, you can put in at any number of spots along the river and even paddle right through the heart of town. For even more fantastic voyages, head up to the Cascade Lakes. It’s no secret that Sparks Lake is one of the most incredible paddles in the Northwest, as well as one of the closest at only 25 minutes away.
If you’re into whitewater adventures, there are plenty of world-class rapids on the Deschutes. In fact, you’ll find everything from Class I to Class IV rapids and some fun play waves within ten minutes of Milepost 1.
Local Insight: Sparks, Hosmer and many other Cascade lakes are even more magical in the moonlight. Wanderlust Tours of Bend offers four-hour group excursions on evenings surrounding the full moon in each of the summer months. But if you’ve got a vessel and a PFD, why not arrange your own tour? Bring a friend and a bottle of wine, and enjoy spectacular late night where the full moon is your flashlight.
Central Oregon is a fly-fishing paradise if there ever was one. The place is teeming with great rivers like the Deschutes (just a five-minute walk from Milepost 1), Fall River near Sunriver, the Crooked River near Prineville, and the world-famous Metolius beyond Sisters. Dozens of high-mountain lakes are well stocked with giant Rainbows and Kokanee as well — some as big as 30 lbs!
So grab your rod and see what’s the catch of the day. You may have to release the fish. But you’ll treasure the experience forever.
Local Insight: Fly-fishing for beautiful native Redsides on the lower Deschutes should be on every angler’s bucket list. The Salmon Fly hatch is epic. Plan your next trip around it, usually in early June. That stretch of river is also famous for its steelhead runs. And it’s just an hour from Milepost 1.