Bend metropolis parks supply straightforward, accessible out of doors adventures


One of the best things about visiting Bend is the abundance of outdoor opportunities nearby, including the slopes of Mt. Bachelor, the rugged wilderness trails, and the beautiful Deschutes River that flows right through town.

But you don’t have to leave the city for an outdoor adventure; With several beautiful parks in the heart of the city, there are plenty of easily accessible places to get outside.

Managed almost entirely by the Bend Parks & Recreation District, these parks center primarily around the Deschutes River, which attracts visitors and residents alike who come to explore its banks and paddle its waters. Serpentine paved paths offer more accessible options for hikers and cyclists, with lawns, playgrounds and other attractions along the way.

Those who live in Bend will no doubt be familiar with the many neighborhood parks around the city, but visitors will likely be more interested in this smaller selection of city parks that offer longer trails and better views of the high desert landscape.

For those who want to get outside without leaving the city, these are a place to visit on your next trip to Bend.

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A boardwalk crosses Mirror Pond in Drake Park in Bend, which was built for pedestrians and cyclists.Jamie Hale/The Oregonian


The crown jewel of the city park system, Drake Park is a 13-acre green space surrounding Mirror Pond, a reservoir of the Deschutes River located near the main hub of downtown Bend. Paved pathways run along the riverfront for nearly half a mile, with a stately wooden footbridge crossing the water to the other side of town. Restrooms, picnic tables, and lawns make it a great place to linger, especially on a summer afternoon or crisp fall evening.

Open daily from 5am to 10pm; 777 NW Riverside Blvd.

Turn Parks

A fall day at Farewell Bend Park, a small city park on the Deschutes River in Bend. Jamie Hale/The Oregonian


Farewell Bend Park is a major hub of the Deschutes River Trail (the one in town, not to be confused with the nearby trail in Deschutes National Forest). It covers 22 acres on the east bank of the Deschutes River on the south side of town. Paved pathways lead to a boardwalk and over a footbridge that provides access to Riverbend Park across the river. Beaches provide launching pads for kayakers and paddleboarders, and a playground provides space for kids to run around.

Open daily from 5am to 10pm; 1000 SW Reed Market Road

The Deschutes River Trail is currently closed south of Farewell Bend Park due to a construction project that will last through Spring 2023.

Turn Parks

A fall day at Riverbend Park, a small city park on the Deschutes River in Bend. Jamie Hale/The Oregonian

Riverbend Park

Located directly across from Farewell Bend Park, Riverbend Park is a 13-acre expanse of expansive grassy areas and paved pathways leading to the Old Mill District to the north and the Deschutes River Trail to the south. The riverfront beaches are good launching points for boaters, and the park is a popular destination for major events in the summer.

Open daily from 5am to 10pm; 799 SW Columbia St.

The Deschutes River Trail is currently closed south of Riverbend Park due to a construction project that will last through Spring 2023.

Bend Whitewater Park opens onto the Deschutes

Bend Whitewater Park is heavily used by paddlers, although park and trail construction continues into the summer of 2016.


One of Oregon’s most distinctive urban parks, Bend Whitewater Park is designed for kayakers, paddle boarders and floaters of all skill levels and offers the public easy access to the city’s man-made rapids on the Deschutes River. The park is divided into three channels: the gentle Fish Ladder Channel, the more intense Whitewater Channel, and the protected Habitat Channel, which is closed to the public.

Open daily from 5am to 10pm; 166 SW Shevlin Hixon drive

People at a viewpoint with mountains in the background

Views and scenes from Pilot Butte State Scenic Viewpoint in Bend, where dozens of people gathered on a sunny September Sunday afternoon.Jamie Hale/The Oregonian


Operated by the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department, the Pilot Butte State Scenic Viewpoint is on the east side of town, with dirt trails leading up and around the old volcanic cinder cone. A paved road (closed in winter) also leads to the top of the Butte, where visitors can get a good view of the surrounding Cascade Peaks. A city park at the base of Pilot Butte offers access to hiking trails in addition to restrooms and a playground.

Open daily from 5am to 10pm; 1310 NE Highway 20.

– Jamie Hale

503-294-4077; [email protected]; @HaleJamesB