Monday, October 30, 2023

Hike: North End of Forest Park 25, Portland, OR

Wrong view, different hike

Getting There

Take NW Skyline Blvd north from NW Germantown Road. The Skyline Blvd Trailhead is 1.6 mi and a parking are available on right (east) side of the road.

The Hike

Length: 4.53 miles
Elevation Gain: 1,020 feet

Ha. The picture at the top is from Dec 26, 2023 and it from a viewpoint lower than where I turned around on this hike. 

I just wanted to record this hike in the blog for continuity. It was my first hike after my trip to Bend. My foot was unhappy so I didn't do the full loop. I was only able to north end of the BPA Road just before it descends steeply to Hwy 30.

It was good to make an effort and get outside but I knew I was hobbled to some extent.

Thursday, October 5, 2023

Hike: Tumalo Mountain, Bend, OR

Getting There

From Downtown Bend (Drake Park), find your way to SW Century Drive and head 19 miles east toward Mt Bachelor. The trailhead/parking lot is across the road on your right, 0.3 miles after the turnoff for Sunrise Lodge. There is room for maybe 30 cars, parallel and perpendicular spots. There's a vault toilet on the north end of the lot, near the start of the trail.

I'd kind of wanted to hike Mt Bachelor and confirmed via AllTrails that the hike is similar in difficulty to Dog Mountain. Plus, it's a ski resort to you can ride the gondola back down if you so desire. Unfortunately, both lodges were closed to the public, presumably they're getting ready for the upcoming winter ski season. I knew Tumalo Mtn wasn't a tough hike but the views were grand, so it was on!

The Hike

Length: 4.52 mi
Elev. gain: 1,434 ft
Highest Elev.: 7,779 ft
Moving time: 1:50:49
Avg pace: 24:31
Calories: 1,117
Total time: 2:11:30

I found the start of the route just past the vault toilet. The trail is very well kept with few rocks and many trenches for erosion control, at least lower down. The trail climb pretty steadily over the 2 mile ascent, about 1,434 ft of elevation again. It starts out in the dense forest but thins out as you climb. There a couple switchbacks about 1/2 way up, then 4-5 more in the last 0.3 miles.

There are ample opportunities for views from all side of the top: Newberry Caldera, Bend, Smith Rock, all in the distance and to the west and northwest is Mt Bachelor, South Sister and Broken Top. My knowledge of other peaks is limited but the entire landscape is dotted with high points.. a.k.a. future hikes! When I drove the Cascade Lakes National Scenic Byway, I saw at least a 1/2 dozen trailheads that piqued by interest: Devils Lake, Sisters Mirror, Six Lakes, Lucky Lake, Deer Lake, Many Lakes. ... but I digress.

The summit of Tumalo Mtn has a nice loop trail so even with several other hikes, you still got a sense, albeit brief, of solitude. Near the southeast corner, there are concrete footings that look like their from a former hut or fire lookout tower.

Mt Bachelor

South Sister and Broken Top

Southeast view

At just around 25 miles from Bend, I'm sure this trail gets busy. The road changes from SW Century the scenic byway just after Mt Bachelor, so I'm guessing it's open year-round.


When I got back to the car, I was feeling good but craved some more elevation but didn't look for any more hikes. I did, however, make time to visit nearby Sparks Lake via the rather rough road, a.k.a. Mr. Toad Wild Ride. There are loop trail there, Ray Atkeson Memorial Trail but I only walked until the asphalt ended.

Wednesday, October 4, 2023

Hike: Green Lakes via Fall Creek Trail, Bend, OR

Broken Top, Green Lakes

Getting There

From Bend, take SW Century Drive to Mt Bachelor until it changes to and continue on Cascade Lakes National Scenic Byway: it's about 25 miles out of town. Pull into the Green Lakes/Soda Creek Trailhead parking lot.

The Hike

Distance: 9.84 miles
Elevation Gain: 1,221 feet
Highest Elevation: 6,576 feet

For this hike, a Central Cascades Wilderness Permit is required for both day use and overnight stays from this trailhead between June 15 and October 15.


After my relatively short hike with little elevation gain along the Deschutes River the day before, I was craving something a little more challenging. Plus, I was eager to get a closer look at South Sister and Broken Top since I saw them upon arriving to Bend and they are visible from all over.

Just after leaving the parking lot, you cross a primitive log bridge. The Fall Creek Trail follows the creek and climbs steadily, with many opportunities to see the many waterfalls. Only in hindsight did I realize I'd seen Fall Creek Falls.

Fall Creek Falls

You cross a couple more bridges before getting to the west edge of the moraine. The trail sort of level off and you see the foliage along the river changes to deciduous trees and bushes in full fall colors.

I decided to take the side trail to Broken Top and veers away from and above Fall Creek.

Suddenly, Broken Top and the small lake beneath it come into view. Spectacular!

Broken Top

South Sister

Broken Top

There are several options of trails to get to the large Green Lake. South Sister towers above the valley. It's awe-inspiring to be saddled between these two mountains.

I continued on toward a spit of land with trees to get a look at the large lake. Another wow moment! There were several people already there enjoying the views and result of their hike. The water was all around with South Sister revealing more of her eastern flank.

While it certainly wasn't crowded, when more people arrived, I decided to find somewhere else to have lunch and frankly, it was a bit chilly in the shade with a moderate breeze. As I left, I found another place to photograph Broken Top.

South Sister

Broken Top

I retraced some of my steps and made my way back to the smaller lake and a trail marked Broken Top. There were a few marked campsites (#7, #8). I found a place to have my sandwich and soak in the views.

I wasn't going to make a summit attempt but I thought I could go for a little bit. I hesitated since I didn't have my Keen hiking boots. There was a trail going down the water on the south side. I found a tiny plastic duck. I returned to the detour. (It's a good thing it didn't go any further because that wasn't the summit trail, it just passes the mountain and continues south of Ball Butte.

I wanted down the shoreline on a narrow trail and noticed more horse hoof prints than footprints. I found a tiny plastic duck. I had to take a picture of the little guy before putting it in my pocket. Leave no trace!

I had a great descent back to the trailhead on the Fall Creek Trail. The light had changed from earlier so I didn't bother with any photos.

Tuesday, October 3, 2023

Hike: Benham Falls & Lower Deschutes River Trail, Bend, OR

Getting There

I was already at the Lava Lands Visitor Center off US-97. Take NF-9702 northwest for 4.0 miles to the Benham Falls East Trailhead. There are enough parking spaces for about 10 cars. Pay $5 for a day pass or use your America The Beautiful or Northwest Forest Pass or other qualifying pass.

The Hike

Distance: 4.73 miles
Elevation Gain: 280 feet
Highest Elevation: 4,188 feet

I had no idea what I was in for. I just enjoyed the beautiful landscape along the Deschutes River: trees on one side and rugged lava on the other. I studied the large area map-sign for a bit and looked at possible destinations. 

Across from the trailhead parking lot

From Benham Bridge, near the parking lot

Beyond Benham Falls, there were several spots along the route. I was prepared for a longer hike but also wasn't sure about elevation and time. It looked like I could reach Dillon Falls.

The trail between where I was parked and Benham Falls was pretty flat and straight but you could see through the trees at the rugged lava field across a slow-moving river. As I got closer the the falls, the noise of the rushing water got louder and louder.


As I got closer the the falls, the noise of the rushing water got louder and louder.

I found a side trail that lead down closer the water and suddenly the river took a turn and was rushing downhill through a narrow gully. The falls weren't so much a long drop as a series of cascading drops. To my surprise I came to the West Trailhead and a small parking lot accessed by a dirt road. I wondered where this road started from.

I found the lookout and snapped a few more pictures, then continue on the trail.

After a short distance and a few more turns, the water was much more calm and there wasn't any whitewater. It was still pine trees on one side and lava rock on the other.

I reached a section of deciduous trees and other foliage. I was a blast of fall colors: oranges, yellows, reds, browns and quite a contrast to the coniferous trees I'd been walking through.

I reached another parking lot with a pit toilet and picnic tables. The water was glassy. I thought it made a good spot to eat lunch.

Slough Day Use Area

From Slough Day Use Area

I met a couple that were also checking out the view and we chatted for a bit about Newberry and I shared comparisons to MSH. When they continued their hike, I picked a table and took off my pack.

It was peaceful besides a few people nearby yelling at their dog that it was time to go. LOL. The pupper didn't want to get out of the water.

As it turns out, I was at the Slough Day Use Area. I still didn't know where this dirt road originated but it didn't matter. I decided this was my turnaround spot. I wasn't planning to do a long hike. I still had time to visit the High Desert Museum before it closed at 5pm.

I put 1/2 my sandwich away and started back to the trailhead. If I understood the signage, the side of the monument was on closed at 5pm. I didn't want to get stuck behind the gate. I guessed the dirt road gave 24/7 access to the area.

Back at the car, I finished my sandwich and drove back to US-97.

Hike: Trail of the Molten Land, Bend, OR

Getting There

From Bend, OR, take Hwy US-97 south for about 10.9 miles to the Newberry Nat'l Volcanic Monument. Take the exit for the Lava Lands Visitor Center (NF-9702).

The Hike

Distance: 1.12 miles
Elevation Gain: 132 feet
Highest Elevation: 4,620 feet

This was my first stop at Newberry Nat'l Volcanic Monument. It didn't occur to me until later in the week that this wasn't the place that I'd seen from the pictures when I was researching my trip.

Nevertheless, the lava field was an incredible sight to see. The lava field and Lava Butte (cinder cone) are visible from the road. I quickly found that the visitor center was closed until Friday. I was looking forward to introducing myself and an unofficial ambassador from the Mt St Helens Institute.

I quickly found the Trail of the Molten Lands, a paved trail, partially wheelchair accessible. The signage was really helpful to get oriented and I marveled at the unique landscape.

The viewpoint was incredible and gave a bird's eye view of the lava field and the adjacent treeline.

It was a short trail so I was done in less than an hour.

The viewpoint was incredible and gave a bird's eye view of the lava field and the adjacent treeline.

It was a short trail so I was done in less than an hour.


In the 1960s, NASA sent astronauts to the area to test equipment for the upcoming moon landings. 

I was stoked to explore this part of the monument. On my way back to the car, I noticed an area map and bike trail: The Sun-Lava Path. I would have loved to bike this path but luckily Crawford Road (NF-9702) lead to a trailhead.

To be continued... (in the next post).