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Neighborhoods: East Side Promenade

A bike route through the Larkspur neighborhood offers hidden adventure

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From my front door on NE Lotus Drive, adjacent to Pilot Butte, there's a paved bikeable foot path that tracks all the way to Reed Market Road, straight through the heart of the Larkspur neighborhood—no stop lights and very few street crossings. Its two variations are known as Larkspur and Coyner Trails, however, I informally refer to the network as the Eastside Promenade (Prom). 

"The Coyner Trail extends between Juniper Park and Ponderosa Park," describes Bend Park and Recreation District on its website. "Paved and off-street, it gently rolls along the west of Bear Creek Elementary School from park to park." The Larkspur Trail, meanwhile, "runs through the heart of east Bend," BPRD describes.

Left, the start of the author's jaunt, at the north end of the 'hood. - K.M. COLLINS
  • K.M. Collins
  • Left, the start of the author's jaunt, at the north end of the 'hood.

Heading north, what I call the Prom terminates on Neff Road at Pilot Butte Middle School. Heading south, it passes through the park at the base of Pilot Butte. It has a jungle gym, an extensive grassy knoll and a quarter-mile jogging track (which I like to use for roller skating and cross country skiing a couple times a year when the snow is deep enough). From this park, multiple trails to hike Pilot Butte's circumference or summit are accessible. 

One of my favorite features of the Prom is the carless underpass just southeast of Pilot Butte. Passing under Highway 20 in a huge, corrugated metal tube is one of the most urban experiences I've had in Central Oregon. I always like to call out from my bike and listen back for the tunneled echo. Popping out of the underpass at the Lava Lanes bowling alley never fails to put a smile on my face, with the signature '500 Club' plastered on the karaoke bar windows. 

Eventually the path crosses Bear Creek Road with a small traverse to reconnect. From there it travels down a friendly high desert scrub neighborhood alley. The vibe is cheery as families, gangs of elementary kids and the odd lonesome jogger—denizens typical of Larkspur—pass. Toward the southern terminus, before you reach Reed Market Road, there are plenty of sneaky off-road dusty mountain bike exploration opportunities. 

9th Street Village is a haven for food carts and beer in Larkspur. - KYLE SWITZER
  • Kyle Switzer
  • 9th Street Village is a haven for food carts and beer in Larkspur.

Tracing back to Bear Creek Road, if you were to have headed west a small piece instead of connecting on the trail to the east, you would have caught the Coyner Trail fork of the Prom, just past Bear Creek Elementary. This trail's terminus in Ponderosa Park—and it isn't a stretch to say this—offers something for every inner-city outdoor recreationalist. Organized teams love this park for its stacked fields; pet goers enjoy the fenced dog park and it's a skateboarder's paradise with two separate skate parks to maneuver through. 

Hot tip: There's even some sweet Black Lives Matter graffiti visible from the dog park. 

Although the mountains often call and epic bucket-list adventures are only an hour or two from Bend, mini daily adventures, literally in your backyard, are also critical for those moments when you have a limited time slot. In these moments, I'm stoked to live near the Eastside Prom.

Larkspur's Ponderosa Skate Park is a big draw for youth—and adults alike... snow notwithstanding. - K.M. COLLINS
  • K.M. Collins
  • Larkspur's Ponderosa Skate Park is a big draw for youth—and adults alike... snow notwithstanding.

Neighborhood: SE Bend, Larkspur, Old Farm neighborhoods

Who lives here: Families & young professionals. (Dominant demographic is health care workers, social assistance workers, retail workers and construction workers).

Housing stock: Primarily single-family homes, townhomes, multifamily and apartments. Mobile home parks prevalent as well.

Median sales price: Old Farm District $550,000, SE Bend to Knott Road $450,000 and Larkspur District $463,000

Reasons why people move here: Proximity to employment, golf, shopping, schools. Many established neighborhoods with larger lots.

Parks: Stone Creek, Foxborough, Sun Meadow and High Desert, Larkspur Park, Ponderosa Park, Kiwanis, Vince Genna Stadium and Bend Senior Center. It should be noted that 37-acre Alpenglow Community Park is currently under construction.

Public schools: Bear Creek, Juniper, Silver Rail and R.E. Jewell Elementaries, High Desert and Pilot Butte Middle Schools and Bend High primarily with a small portion of the Larkspur District at Mountain View High School. It should be noted that the high school boundaries will be changing for 2021-2022 and the new Caldera High School is slated to be completed for Fall of 2021.

Report summary provided by : Christin J Hunter, Broker, Duke Warner Realty

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