McKenzie River Trail
Although many of the popular higher elevation hikes are still snowbound, now might be a great time to enjoy one of America's top rated trails within an easy drive of Bend. The McKenzie River Trail offers 26 miles of terrain that can be easily section hiked in many areas. From old growth forests to waterfalls and deep pools, the trail is a popular destination for hikers and mountain bikers. About 60 miles west of Bend, the Sahalee Falls parking area on Highway 126 to Eugene provides a good starting point to begin explorations as does nearby Clear Lake, headwaters of the river. More information can be found here: www.mckenzierivertrail.com.
Oregon Hikers Online
Oregonhikers.org hosts a number of online forums that provide valuable information about hiking anywhere in the state. In the interest of promoting hiking, organized hikes are also listed and can be viewed on its website at www.oregonhikers.org. Trailkeepers of Oregon hosts the hikers' forum online for Oregon hikers. TKO helps maintain, restore and build new trails throughout the state to help ensure a hiking tradition for generations to come. TKO is 100 percent volunteer-run, and is always looking for individuals interested in getting involved.
Another opportunity for hikers to enjoy the Cascades in May is offered by Central Oregon Community College. Four field sessions are being offered from May 18 to June 8. Each of the four hikes is selected to include different wild landscape variations. These hikes cover 6 to 10 miles with moderate to significant elevation changes, but are paced at about two miles per hour. They begin at 8:30 a.m. and return around 4 p.m. The cost for the four outings is $139. Call 541-383-7270 or register online at www.cocc.edu/continuinged.