Tuesday, June 24, 2014

A Scenic Drive and Biking in Bend


The 66 mile Cascade Lakes Scenic Byway takes you southwest of Bend up to Mount Bachelor and a string of mountain lakes. I’m not very good at sitting in the car for hours looking at pretty scenery, no matter how great it is, so after over 20 miles of riding a five mile hike at the first lake we came to, Todd Lake, sounded like a perfect place to stretch our legs. What we failed to consider is that there is still an awful lot of snow at 6,100 feet in June in the Oregon Cascades.

Mt. Bachelor (9,068’) from the road to Todd Lake. It was closed and gated but we parked outside the gate and walked the road to the lake.


A surprising amount of snow and even a waterfall.



Todd Lake. The trail we planned to hike was completely buried. We did manage to walk 1.5 miles to the lake and back to the car over the snow but some spots were a bit treacherous.


So we drove on a few more miles to Sparks Lake, which at only 5,400 feet was completely snow-free, and hiked the Sparks Lake trail. It was an interesting loop through volcanic terrain and circled back along the lake shore.


We did find a little snow deep in the crevices of the rock.


Now this is a picturesque lake. Because it was Saturday there were people out on the lake in every conceivable watercraft.


But it’s a big lake so there is plenty of room for everyone.



Beautiful scenery with South Sister and Broken Top Mountains as the backdrop.



We drove on a few more miles to check out Elk and Hosmer Lakes where there were lots more people kayaking and canoeing. There are trailhead parking areas all along the scenic drive but we’ll do some research and come back another day.

Mt. Bachelor and Sparks Lake from the Scenic Byway.


On Sunday morning we wanted to take a bike ride but knew our favorite trails would be crowded, so we just took off from our site to see what we could find. We didn’t realize we were just a couple miles away from accessing the Deschutes River trail at Sawyer Park. Ended up making a 19 mile loop along both sides of the river, through downtown Bend and the Old Mill area. Maybe 5 miles was on pavement, and the rest on dirt and gravel trails.

The scenery wasn’t bad, either. We did encounter quite a few walkers and cyclists around the Old Mill district but everyone was polite. Some even thanked us for telling them we were passing.


We stopped to watch these obviously experienced kayakers. Looked like they were having fun.

Bend, OR Marial's pasture2

And naturally we rounded out another weekend in Bend with beer, by meeting up with Debbie and Marial at Broken Top Bottle Shop and Ale Cafe, a beer store and restaurant that we discovered last week. They have a large selection of beers on tap and hundreds of bottles. The vegan black bean chili is excellent. I would highly recommend it!

Oh, and the cats have been behaving.


  1. Beautiful photos of a beautiful area. Elevation really makes a difference here in Oregon, doesn't it? By all means, research your routes. Reminds me of a hike with my kids when they were younger. We parked at a trailhead and hiked into a small lake, probably a couple miles, only to find lots of other people there. Since we were the only vehicle parked at the trail head, I wondered where they might have come from, only to discover that there was another trail that led directly to a campground, not more than a half mile away!

  2. Another day of amazing adventure and awesome scenery!! I love having snow capped in the background. Glad you were able to get through the snow to see the lake. Isn't it funny how a few hundred feet can make all the difference in the snow cover. I bet the water was a little cold...hope that paddle boarder doesn't fall in!!!

  3. Another great day in Paradise! A little walke... a little bikee, and a scenic drive too! Perfect!

  4. Hi, sorry we didn't get together..AOL is messing up my mail,but I hope you got it today...AOL says maybe...Gotta love it.

  5. We were there in Sept so it's especially nice to see your spring/summer photos of the area...just gorgeous!

  6. That is such a gorgeous area and Sparks lake is the best. When you walked around it, did you hear the water draining out.?