Lace 'em up because like the fall leaves, the hiking season is peaking. Whether it's an out-and-back walkabout or a hill climb, there is still time to put in miles on trails before winter officially sets in. We've compiled a short list of go-to fall hikes where you can still leave the skis at home...for now.
Upper Deschutes River Trail
Bend's classic Deschutes River Trail's Lava Island Falls and Meadow Camp, Aspen Camp to Big Eddy is the quintessential fall colors hike. Willow flats, riverside rapids, ridges and river meanders are the trail's bragging rights. The official trail starts at Meadow Camp picnic area off of Century Drive, but continuing on Century Drive and onto Forest Service Road 41 give access to a number of starting points. Meadow Camp to Benham Falls is the longest stretch at eight miles, Meadow Camp to Lava Island is just more than a mile long.
It may be the final days to access a regional favorite. Tumalo Falls is a four-ish-mile out-and-back that stays true to its name—falls. A slew of waterfalls abut the trail that follows Tumalo Creek. One signature flow is Double Falls that drops 20 feet and then 30 feet, respectively, with almost a mile stretch in between. The North Fork Trail might also be a good option if you stick to the sunny south side and don't mind a little snow and mud.
Pilot Butte State Park
As the days wane and the darkness waxes moving toward the winter solstice, there are not always enough hours in the day to get out and about, making Pilot Butte a popular two-mile jaunt. The cinder cone's summit 480 feet above Bend lends 360-degree views of the surrounding Cascade peaks. Pilot Butte makes Bend one of four cities in the U.S. to have an extinct volcano within its boundaries.
Smith Rock State Park
This iconic climbing area famed for sport climbing routes, is also highly popular on the ground and by foot. Hike beneath the cliffs and hillsides made of volcanic welded tuff and surrounding bands of columnar basalt that rim the meandering Crooked River valley—all winter long. You likely will not be alone—multi-pitch, traditional and sport climbing does not slow down in winter drawing climbers on even the shortest days. And, of course, Smith Rock is a retreat for web-footed Portlanders.