If you think you have to travel outside the city limits to recreate, well, think again, sucka! Look around! We live in Bend for a reason! Aside from dog parks and breweries, we are also lucky to have impressively close and convenient opportunities for outdoor entertainment. Sure, we’ve got Smith Rock, the Upper Deschutes and hundreds of miles of top-notch singletrack accessible from just outside town, but you needn’t even go that far to find shred-able terrain.
Not convinced? To get your kicks locally, you need to get creative and think outside the box, in order to have fun within the box—the imaginary line around Bend known as the urban growth boundary.
Of course, there’s the obvious: running, golfing, longboarding as well as good ol' pick up games which can be played at many of Bend’s fine parks. But you’re likely looking for something more. Here, I’ll help.
Summer is a great time to add whitewater to your life. Upside—it’s so close you can get in a couple of runs after work to cool off. Downside—none. If you still paddle a Dancer and you’re into getting enders and pirouettes, you can easily entertain yourself at the First Street Rapids, accessible at the end of First St. you can also lazily float the river or, for an actual workout, get on your stand up paddle board and work your obliques, or whatever.
Pine Nursery and COCC offer the best courses in the way of local disc golf. Pine has a nine-hole course as does COCC, though the college course requires some route finding and many of the fairways are shared, so keep your head up out there.
Humorous tidbit from Wikipedia: “Urban golf is seen by many as social commentary on the nature of golf and its traditional opinions and attitudes. Considering golf pompous, dogmatic and quite often inaccessible, urban golfers worldwide have adopted many different urban environments as their new course to engage in this recreational pastime.” In our Old Bend neighborhood, I’ve recently spotted a number of resourceful youngsters knocking around tennis balls and hollering, “Fore!” All you need are a couple of secondhand clubs and a tennis ball to make this casual pursuit a reality. And if you’re crafty, you can pack some beers for your urban round. Bonus! If this makes sense, keep it local and play urban. Enjoy, but be kind to your neighbors.
If I revealed all the good rock inside the UGB, the Bend climbing community would scalp me. There are, however, a number of underutilized bouldering zones that Timberline mountain guide C.J. Wright has authorized me to run in print.
The Depot, located upstream of Farewell Bend Park on the eastside of the Deschutes, offers a long traverse as well as some ball-tingling classics, including the tall overhanging arete, “Ginsu,” (V5).
Across the river and accessible from Mt. Bachelor Village are the Bachelor Boulders. This cluster of rocks also boasts a lengthy traverse, which, according to Wright, is even more challenging if you follow it around the obvious corner. Scare yourself on the high-ball crack problems and be sure to explore the rocks further downstream for more local bouldering adventure.
Secret mountain bike trails
There are miles of singletrack in town, but you’ve got to be creative or know where to find them. COCC is home to the most overlooked trails in Bend. Accessible from the top of College Way or from Mt. Washington Drive, the college’s serpentine network of trails is a great cold-weather asset, as it’s rideable most of the year. It’s also relatively technical, by Bend standards, and offers enough climbing and descending to make the short trip worth it. If you are snickering at this notion, ask yourself, “How many times have I ridden up and down Skyliners Road?” I rest my case. Look for other sweet, albeit short, sections of one-track behind the Athletic Club of Bend, throughout Awbrey Butte (the Phil’s trail of old), and on Overturf Butte.
And just outside the UGB: Hutch’s new Strava Challenge
Hutch’s Bicycles is behind what’s sure to both tickle and infuriate area mountain bikers. The local bike shop is hosting a virtual race where, upon riding a predetermined segment of trail, mountain bikers with GPSs—Garmin makes the most popular models—can upload their ride onto Strava, a social networking sight for endurance nerds, and compare times. Every other week Hutch’s will post two new trail segments—a fitness segment and a gravity segment—for folks to challenge themselves on. After a summer of 10 sessions, Hutch’s will throw a season-ending party where they will pull a participant’s name from a hat. The lucky winner will walk away with a new Garmin Edge 500. Though billed as a non-race event, the Strava Challenge should serve as yet another outlet for Bend’s hyper-competitive athletes. The first session has already been posted at hutchsbicyclestest.com. Enjoy, and again, be kind to your neighbors out there. Not everyone is racing.