Central Oregon Hikes

Map of Central Oregon Region
Central Oregon is known throughout the West as a recreational mecca—skiing, mountain biking, kayaking and hiking. It attracts visitors from the urban areas of Oregon, Washington and other states. As a result, the forests and deserts within 50 miles of Bend are heavily-used and impacted. But beyond this 50-mile radius are thousands of acres of federally-owned lands that are less visited.

Download (PDF, 280 KB): Central Oregon Regional Map

These more remote lands in Central Oregon are divided into two distinct natural landscapes, each defined by elevation and the amount of rainfall it receives:

Palisade cliffs at Clarno, Central Oregon
Sagebrush and Juniper Steppe
• Lower elevation lands (below 4,000’)
• 8-12 inches of rain per year
• Expanses of sagebrush with scattered juniper forests
• Mostly in the public domain and managed by the BLM
• Few paved roads, campgrounds or water sources

Ponderosa Pine and Fir Forests
• Higher elevation lands (4,000’ to 8,000’)
• 20-30 inches of rain per year
• Mountainous terrain with mixed pine, fir and larch forests
• Mostly publicly-owned and managed by the Forest Service
• Good road networks, campgrounds and water supplies

While the sagebrush country of Central Oregon offers many wonderful and remote day hikes, we feel the national forests here are the more appealing choice — especially during the hot summer hiking season of June through September. Thus, our Central Oregon hikes focus on these three, less-visited national forests:

> Hikes in Malheur National Forest

> Hikes in Fremont National Forest

> Hikes in Ochoco National Forest

NOTE: Deschutes National Forest is absent from this list, due to its proximity to Bend and the intense trail use it receives. However, if interested in less-traveled explorations within a day’s drive of Bend, see our sister website: Central Oregon Geographica

To locate hikes in Central Oregon, click on your area of interest:

Page last updated: 12/17/11