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Are you headed to Sunriver and looking for things to do while you are there? How about exploring some of the beautiful nature that surrounds this part of Oregon? Central Oregon is full of wonderful hiking opportunities and hiking trails that simply cannot be missed! If you are looking to explore some of the best hikes near Sunriver, Oregon, check out the trails we talk about here!
Central Oregon can easily be described as a paradise for outdoor enthusiasts, explorers, and hikers. There are many trails here for hikers of all skill levels from novice to pro! Whether you are looking for a trail that will lead you to a day-long adventure through the mountains, you want to find yourself under the trees, enjoying canyon views or walking along the river, you will find that you will have plenty of outdoor adventures and opportunities to find a great hike here!
Explore Some of the Best Hikes Near Sunriver Oregon
I love staying at Sunriver Resort. It is honestly one of my favorite places to vacation in Oregon. We have had countless fun memories at Sunriver in the last 25 years. It’s a great place to relax and enjoy the resort amenities like SHARC (Sunriver Homeowners Aquatic and Recreation Center), miles and miles of biking trails, local rafting opportunities, and more. It is also a great starting point to check out all of the wonderful hikes in the great outdoors in this area of Oregon.
We love to stay in Sunriver for the many adventuring opportunities, then come back to our vacation rental to soak in the hot tub and enjoy the resort. We also almost always visit the High Desert Museum when we take family trips to Sunriver. It’s only about 20 minutes from the resort and our kids have always loved that museum.
Here below I have talked a little bit about some of my favorite hikes in the area.
*Tip Before You Go
Be sure and make a quick stop at the Deschutes National Forest Service Interpretive Center when you hit the Cascade Lakes Highway. Here you can buy a recreation pass, and parking passes, but you can snag some informative brochures on the local hikes. You can also find information here on the relatively new Central Cascades Wilderness Permit System.
Paulina Creek Falls
Paulina Creek Falls is located near Paulina Lake, which is outside of the Newberry Caldera. It’s a double waterfall and drops roughly 80 feet over volcanic cliffs onto massive rocks below. This beautiful trail is an easy hike (roughly 1/2 mile) that leads to picnic areas with an overlook of the falls. If you love hiking though, you can continue on to a 5-mile hike around Paulina Lake.
Paulina Falls hike is a short distance from Sunriver (just about a half-hour drive).
Looking for a day trip? If you are in the mood to take a day trip, you can visit one of Oregon’s most popular waterfalls. Toketee Falls is near Idlelyd Park, Oregon which is about a 2-hour trip from Sunriver. It’s a scenic hike that is relatively easy. It is a pretty short trail and generally takes people less than half an hour to complete. Expect to run into other hikers though!
Tumalo Falls is a stunning waterfall located about 30 miles Northwest of Sunriver. I’ve mentioned this before, but this is the first waterfall hike we ever did in Central Oregon and it is stunning!
This is an easy hike for sure as I did it while carrying my then 2-month-old child. One thing to pay attention to though is the weather conditions, the road to Tumalo Falls is often closed during the winter months, so plan accordingly!
Koosah Falls and Sahalie Falls
I absolutely love this little hike because you get two falls in one!! When you hit the Koosah Falls and Sahalie Falls loop trail, you are going to be treated to views of old-growth forests and roaring rivers in addition to the breathtaking 100-foot tall Sahalie Falls and the 70-foot tall Koosah Falls! This easy hike is a two-and-a-half-mile long loop, which has been rated as easy with an elevation change of just 400 feet.
This hike is about an hour and a half away from Sunriver, so prepare yourself for a bit of a drive.
Dillon Falls trail is less than 15 miles away from Sunriver. The waterfall is a popular spot for fishing, kayaking, and hiking, and the trail offers stunning views of the Deschutes River and the surrounding landscape. The waterfall is also a great spot for photographers looking for some beautiful nature shots!
Dee Wright Memorial Trail
If you have never been to the Dee Wright Observatory, you should absolutely make this stop! It’s such a unique spot in Oregon, I highly recommend everyone check it out. Here you will find fully-paved accessible trails and flat terrain for those looking for an easy walking trail.
On these trails you’ll be surrounded by lava rock from one of the most recent lava flows in the country. Additionally, be sure and check out the interpretive signs which point out many spots in the Cascade Mountains that you’ll see views of.
Steelhead Falls is a scenic waterfall and rapids located just over an hour north of Sunriver. Steelhead Falls is a popular spot for fishing, swimming, and kayaking, and the area is also home to a variety of wildlife, including bald eagles, osprey, and river otters. The falls themselves are about 20 feet high, and the water flows over a series of basalt ledges and through a narrow canyon before continuing downstream.
Benham Falls Day Use Area
Benham Falls is not a traditional waterfall, but wow is it a great option for your next destination for hiking near Sunriver! It’s located along the Deschutes River just about half an hour north of Sunriver and features powerful rapids and cascades.
Salt Creek Falls
Salt Creek Falls is a little over an hour Southwest of Sunriver, but perfect for a day trip! Salt Creek Falls is a spectacular waterfall located in the Cascade Range of Oregon, United States. It is located about 26 miles southeast of the city of Oakridge and is easily accessible via Highway 58.
At a height of 286 feet, Salt Creek Falls is the second-highest waterfall in Oregon. It is fed by Salt Creek and flows over a basalt shelf into a large pool below. Visitors can view the waterfall from several viewpoints, including a wheelchair-accessible overlook at the top of the falls and a steep trail that leads down to the base of the falls.
Salt Creek Falls is part of the Willamette National Forest and is a popular destination for hiking, picnicking, and sightseeing. The area around the falls is home to a variety of wildlife!
Smith Rock State Park
Smith Rock State Park is located 42 miles north of Sunriver and is a great place to spend a while enjoying all that Central Oregon has to offer! Smith Rock is great for hikers, rock climbers, or for those who simply want to sit back and enjoy the views! If you are an early morning person, I highly recommend visiting then! Fewer crowds and those sunrise views are amazing.
There are trails here for anyone! Whether you are looking for difficult climbs, a moderate hike or even just a short, flat trail. You will find something to do here to fit your needs.
Cline Falls is a scenic waterfall located on the Deschutes River in Central Oregon, United States. It is situated about 6 miles northwest of the town of Redmond and can be accessed from Cline Falls State Scenic Viewpoint.
The waterfall is not very tall, with a drop of only about 10 feet, but it is wide and picturesque. The Deschutes River flows over a series of rocks and boulders before cascading over Cline Falls and then continuing downstream through a deep canyon.
Visitors can view Cline Falls from a scenic viewpoint located on the west side of the Deschutes River. The viewpoint offers stunning views of the waterfall and the surrounding canyon. It is also a popular spot for fishing, picnicking, and hiking.
Upper Proxy Falls and Lower Proxy Falls
Proxy Falls is a beautiful waterfall located in the Three Sisters Wilderness area of Central Oregon, United States. It is situated about 6 miles east of McKenzie Pass and can be accessed from a trailhead off of McKenzie Highway (Highway 242).
The waterfall has a height of approximately 226 feet and is fed by Proxy Creek. It is known for its unique appearance, with two separate streams of water cascading over a mossy cliff and joining together at the base of the falls.
Visitors can reach Proxy Falls via a 1.6-mile round-trip hiking trail that winds through lush forests of old-growth Douglas fir trees. The trail is well-maintained and features several viewpoints that offer stunning views of the waterfall and the surrounding wilderness area.
Diamond Creek Falls
Just over an hour’s drive from Sunriver, you’ll find Diamond Creek Falls. The waterfall is approximately 75 feet (23 meters) high and consists of multiple tiers that cascade over the rocks. The water flow here comes through a narrow chute before plunging into a pool at the base of the falls.
This hike is not for beginners though. The Diamond Creek Falls Trail is approximately 1.2 miles (1.9 kilometers) long. The trail is considered moderate in difficulty, with some steep sections and rocky terrain.