Set along the Cascade Range outside Bend, Oregon, Deschutes National Forest is a go-to for all outdoor activities. This scenic recreation area includes numerous alpine and evergreen forests, lakes, and streams, extensive nature trails, and five designated wilderness areas. Spend a day or enjoy camp overnight in the warmer months.
The 1.6-million-acre (647,500-hectare) Deschutes National Forest is a year-round natural playground. In summer, outdoor enthusiasts come for fly fishing, hunting, river rafting, hiking, mountain biking, ATV riding, and camping at one of the park’s 125 sites. Winter sees skiers and snowboarders flocking to the area to zip down the fresh powder on the mountains, namely at Mt. Bachelor Ski Resort. The forest’s diverse landscape is not to be missed—explore various meadows, caves, lakes, and even desert areas.
Things to Know Before You Go
- Deschutes National Forest is ideal for lovers of the outdoors.
- Some facilities require a day-use fee or pass.
- Book campsites in advance during peak times.
- Wear comfortable shoes and layers to explore the rugged terrain.
- The visitor’s center, the Newberry National Volcanic Monument, and select hiking trails are accessible to wheelchairs and strollers.
How to Get There
Located in central Oregon just a few miles outside of Bend, Deschutes National Forest is best visited by car due to its vast size. Various state roads—including Highways 20, 126, 242, 97, and 58—traverse the forest, making it easily accessible from cities around the state.
When to Get There
The forest is open and accessible year-round. Winter months are typically cold and can be wet, with average temperatures around 43°F (6°C). Summer brings hot and dry weather, as well as more visitors—yet the vast area rarely feels crowded.
Stay Overnight in the Forest
Deschutes National Forest is easily accessible for action-packed and nature-filled day trips from Bend. If you have more time on your hands, spend the night in the forest at one of the many cabin rentals or campsites. Plan ahead for peak times by booking online in advance.