In late December of 2017 Riley Ranch Nature Reserve, one of the Bend Park and Recreation District’s newest parks opened to the public. Riley Ranch Nature Reserve is located in north Bend on 184 acres of former private ranch land along the east side of the Deschutes River, and offers you several hiking trails, from easy to more strenuous. Riley Ranch Nature Reserve is also the only Bend park where dogs and bicycles are prohibited, so please keep that in mind if you usually take your dogs with you. Also, when visiting Riley Ranch please follow the speed limit along Glen Vista Road! There are several residences along the road and children may be in or along the road, so please drive safely at 25 mph.

Sound good? Well grab your favorite Hydration Pack or Hydroflask, check out some hiking tips, and hit the trail!

The Canyon Loop Trail is the longest, and most difficult hike at Riley Ranch. If you take the trail along the Deschutes River for a bit towards Tumalo State Park like I did, the Canyon Loop Trail is about a 4.25 mile hike. This distance includes the walk from to and from the parking area to Robin’s Run, the trail that takes you down into the canyon and connects to the Canyon Loop Trail which is about 1.25 miles in length by itself. The hike down Robin’s Run and the Canyon Loop trail is more difficult and strenuous than the Juniper and Sage Flats loops, and are more traditional hiking trails than the wide packed gravel ADA accessible trails you find in other areas of Riley Ranch Nature Reserve (see map below).

Riley Ranch Nature Reserve Photo Gallery

View photo gallery of hiking the Riley Ranch Nature Reserve.

Canyon Loop Trail at Riley Ranch Nature Reserve Photo Gallery

View photo gallery of hiking the Canyon Loop Trail at Riley Ranch Nature Reserve.

The most difficult section of the Canyon Loop Trail hike is the short connecting trail called Robin’s Run. This short trail is only about 755 feet long, but there is an altitude difference of about 120 feet from beginning to end. Of course that 755 feet going down isn’t very difficult, but coming up is more difficult, especially for folks not in shape, or with some kind of a physical limitation. Please keep this in mind before descending down to the Canyon Loop Trail, remember, you will have to come back up.

If you look at the map below and pan out you will see I almost got to where Tumalo Creek flows into the Deschutes River, but there wasn’t a sign telling me how far it was to the state park, so I turned around because I was wasn’t sure how far it would be, and didn’t want to run out of daylight because I hadn’t planned ahead. I will definitely go back and hike all the way to Tumalo State Park real soon (spring maybe?).

This trail gives you fantastic views of our local mountains from the upper area before you descend into the canyon, and you get some fantastic views of the Deschutes River while on the Canyon Loop or the trail that goes to Tumalo State Park. You will also see many different kinds of plants and a variety of wildlife including deer, elk, bobcats and more while on the trail, so be sure to bring your camera and take your time and enjoy the view.

Another interesting item you will see along the Canyon Loop Trail is the remains of two different buildings from the past, including a small cabin and what appears to be an out building of some kind. Both areas are surrounded by a wooden fence to keep people away, so please, please do not go into those areas and disturb or take anything from them, they are both historical areas and need to be left alone so everyone can enjoy them.

Trails: Just click a link for more information on each trail.

If you go:

Riley Ranch Nature Reserve

19975 Glen Vista Rd., Bend, Oregon 97701


Sunrise to sunset

Riley Ranch Nature Reserve video

Canyon Loop Trail at Riley Ranch Nature Reserve Map

A map of the Canyon Loop Trail at Riley Ranch in Bend, Oregon


Sources: Bend Park and Recreation District website.