IMG_5656Are you looking for a good hike in the Bend, Oregon area with some fantastic views of the Deschutes River, and some waterfalls? Well if you are grab your CamelBak, other Hydration Pack or Hydro Flask and head out to the Deschutes River Trail.

The Deschutes River Trail is an extensive trail system that follows the Deschutes River in the Bend, Oregon area. One part of the trail system that is one of our favorites is the hike to Benham Falls.

Please note: For most of the trails along the Deschutes River you may have to deal with a lot of mosquitoes during the months of July and/or August. It depends on how early the weather warms up for the summer as to when the mosquitoes will be bad. Keep this in mind and either bring insect repellant, or try hiking some of the trails along the Cascade Lakes Highway instead, as the mosquitoes are more active in the higher elevations during the month of August.

The trailhead that we use is located about five miles downstream from Sunriver (the Deschutes River flows north), and this part of the Deschutes River Trail provides a spectacular view of untamed rapids along the Deschutes River, several lava flows, and the beautiful forests of Central Oregon.

To get to the trailhead from Bend, follow Highway 97 south 11 miles and turn right at the Lava Lands Visitor Center. Follow the road on your left for approximately 3 miles to the parking and picnic area. After parking follow the trail north to the footbridge that spans the Deschutes River, cross the bridge and follow the trial as it makes its way along the river.

The hike to Benham Falls from where we parked is an easy half-mile walk, and is mostly along an easy, fairly level trail that is also used for mountain biking. On an earlier visit to this trail my wife and I rode our mountain bikes along the same route, only just to Benham Falls, and not to the point that shows on the GPS map below.

After reaching Benham Falls, the trail turns into a hiking trail that meanders along the Deschutes River, and goes all the way to central Bend if you have a second car parked there, and are up to a longer hike.

While the hike to Benham Falls from where we parked is not a challenging hike, it does provide beautiful views of the Deschutes River and the surrounding area.

If you feel like more of a hike, this part of the Deschutes River Trail continues north for many miles, passing by Dillon Falls and Lava Island falls.

Deschutes River trail to Benham Falls Photo Gallery

View photo gallery of the Deschutes River trail to Benham Falls near Bend, Oregon.

Please note: The Northwest Forest Pass is required at some trailheads on National Forests in Oregon and Washington. These passes are distinct from the wilderness permits. Go to the Recreation Passes & Permits page for more information on the Northwest Forest Pass, including cost and how to get a pass.

Deschutes River Trail to Benham falls


View Deschutes River Trail to Benham falls and beyond in a larger map

Hydration Packs, Hydro Flasks & Hiking Tips

Hydration Packs help Outdoor enthusiasts stay hydrated without having to carry a water bottle. and give the hiker hours of hydration. You can find a wide variety of hydration packs at Amazon.com that will suit the need of almost every hiker and outdoor enthusiast.

If you prefer not to carry a hydration pack, but instead prefer to carry a couple water bottles, I recommend purchasing a Hydro Flask from Amazon.com. Hydro Flasks will keep cold drinks cold for up to 24 hours, and hot drinks hot for up to 12 hours. Perfect for hiking.

What do I carry? Well both, because I like having lots of water on a hiking outing. And don’t forget to check out this list of hiking tips for some of the other essential items you should always have when out hiking.