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.