Our Favorite Swimming Spots In Central Oregon

Swimming is an all-time favorite summer pastime as is exploring the beautiful outdoor areas of different locations that you visit. With this, we wanted to let you in on some local swimming holes that are fun to visit for the whole family.

Floating The Deschutes River in Sunriver

The Deschutes River in Sunriver is a popular choice for locals and vacationers alike to float, kayak, or paddle!

With 95 miles of river, the Deschutes has something for everyone. Floating the river is an extremely popular activity during the summer months. Check out this blog for our favorite Deschutes River floats!

Twin Lakes Resort

Located on the shores of south Twin Lake this favorite swimming spot offers so many water activities that’s sure to please your entire group! If you didn’t haul your own kayak or paddleboard up, you can find one to rent at this resort. After a paddle around the lake, hop into the resort’s restaurant for some lakeside dining (currently open for take out only. There are several picnic areas nearby for your take out orders to be enjoyed). South Twin Lake has a surface area of 99 acres and an average depth of 33 feet. Another perk of this smaller lake is that motorized watercraft are not permitted, making it a more peaceful mountain lake experience.

Directions: Head West on S Century Drive towards the Cascade Lakes Highway. Drive several miles until you see the brown signs for Twin Lakes Resort (on the right-hand side of the road) and take a left. This will take you to Rd 4260. Head down that road until you see the sign for the resort on the left.

Cultus Lake

This large and breathtaking mountain lake is an experience you won’t want to miss. The resort here also rents out several kinds of boat options for you to experience. Or, you can head to the day use area and play in the shallow water at the beach there. The depths of the lake can be cooler and feel wonderful on a hot day. But the day use area provides a safer and warmer area if you have younger children to entertain. Cultus Lake Resort provides another opportunity for some lakeside dining. They are currently offering take out as well as outdoor seating options. The surface area of this large mountain lake is 1,145.7 acres with a maximum depth of 211 feet.

Directions: To get to Cultus Lake, head up S Century Drive, but stay straight on Spring River Rd until you get to Upper Deschutes Rd (NF-40), leading you up to the Cascade Lakes Highway. Turn left on the Highway at the stop sign and you’ll see the signs to Cultus Lake on your right.

Elk Lake

This is a beautiful, bright blue and green lake and so worth the views. You may visit the resort for another chance to rent a kayak, paddleboard a day dock (pictured. P.S. the day docks are mobile and do float the lake) or more! Also at the resort, you will find a store and restaurant/bar. Or, check out one of their day use beaches for some great swimming and family beach time. Elk Lake has a surface area of 405 acres and a maximum depth of 192 feet.

Pro Tip: Don’t miss the Music On The Water series this summer featuring live bands playing at Elk Lake every Saturday evening! It’s the perfect way to cap off your day on the lake!

Directions: From Sunriver, follow the same route you would to get to Cultus Lake, but at the stop sign at the Cascade Lakes Highway, take a right. Elk Lake will be a ways down the highway (towards Bend), on the right-hand side.

Paulina Plunge

For an entirely different kind of water adventure, check out the Paulina Plunge. This tour offers a family-friendly mountain biking adventure the whole family will enjoy. Broken up into four 1.5 mile bike rides—and interspersed with swimming adventures—this beginner bike ride is perfect for nearly all ages.

Accessible via fat tire mountain bikes, visitors will descend more than 2,000 feet as part of a guided mountain bike tour to the Paulina Plunge. Guests ages 7 to 70 can then spend the afternoon hiking, swimming, and exploring the many waterfalls and waterslides unique to the area for an exhilarating expedition. Tandem additions can be added to your bicycle to accommodate ages 4 through 7.

Open May through September, the plunge has been named the third most popular attraction in Sunriver by TripAdvisor and is one of our favorite summer activities. For $70 – $75 per ticket, guests receive a bike, helmet, and daypack, as well as a fully-guided six-mile tour that includes a fifteen-minute shuttle to and from the plunge. The tour features a mythical retelling of the namesake that only adds to the magic and allure of the Paulina Plunge.

Once there, families can have fun plunging into the water, jumping from waterfalls, and sliding down natural rockslides while taking pictures and spending the day exploring all that Central Oregon’s great outdoors has to offer. Eat lunch by the water and wade in the waterfalls as you partake in an adventure the whole family can enjoy.

Book your reservation now to secure a spot during the busy summer months in Sunriver, Oregon.

Don’t Do A Wanderlust Tour Unless You’re Ready To Move To Central Oregon

HWY 97 Leaving Mt Hood National Forest
Leaving the Mt. Hood National Forest from HWY 97

I lived in Vancouver, WA and worked in Portland, OR for 14 years and had never experienced central Oregon. I was too busy exploring the Willamette Valley when one day my husband said to me “We should move to Bend!” After the shock had worn off and I had processed what he said, I was intrigued that my Vancouver born and bred husband wanted to move 200 miles away. I was a military brat as a child so moving wasn’t a scary idea to me. However, the only memory I had of Bend was 7 years earlier when my husband was miserably sick and I tried out snowboarding for the first time which meant I spent most of the day falling on my bottom and was very sore the next day. Thus, I had a very hard time being on board with the idea of moving.

Then, in January, my husband surprised me with a snow shoeing adventure from Wanderlust Tours. Snow shoeing

had been on my list of adventures I really wanted to do so I was extremely excited to go! Upon closer examination of my gift I noticed that Wanderlust Tours is in Bend, OR. Not only was I getting an adventure but we were going to

get the opportunity to explore Bend again! A few weeks went by and we hopped in the car and began our journey over Mt. Hood to Bend. There’s a moment of stark delineation between rain forest and high desert as you exit the Mt. Hood National Forest that’s jarring in an awe-inspiring way. We traveled from a mountainous, vibrant green, and dense forest under cloud cover into a sunny, cloudless, flat desert with actual tumbleweeds crossing the interstate. At this point, I was not convinced that moving was a good idea. However, as we got closer and closer to Bend the scenery began to change again. Buttes appeared in the distance, Smith Rock with its infamous Monkey Face ridge in the east and ponderosa pine trees peppered the view.

Monkey Face at Smith Rock
Monkey Face at Smith Rock

A sense of wonder and rugged adventure filled me as we pulled into the parking lot of Wanderlust Tours. We were greeted by friendly staff who helped us get fitted for snow shoes and had the opportunity to meander around the premises as we waited for the rest of our tour mates. When I asked if there was a water fountain to top off my water bottle, I was told that “Bend’s tap water is safe to drink.” I was skeptical of this statement but chose to fill my water bottle anyway and save a trip to the store (side note: I later found out that the statement is true and is actually one of the many things Bend takes pride in. It could also be the reason why the beer is so good). Once all our tour mates arrived, we piled into a van and made our way to Mt. Bachelor. Along the way the tour guide gave us lots of information about Bend, Mt. Bachelor, the local wildlife, etc. but I was distracted by the natural beauty of the route between Bend and Mt. Bachelor. The snow-covered hills and trees were so serene and unlike Mt. Hood, which you can see for miles as you approach, Mt. Bachelor is tucked behind a corner that makes the first vision of it spectacular. As you’re driving along you sense the rise in elevation but you don’t actually see Mt. Bachelor until you turn a corner and there he is in all his splendor. I remember saying to my husband “It looks like a post card!” It was at this point that I began to question if we could really live here. Could we make this our reality?

 

First glimpse of Mt. Bachelor from Century Drive

Our tour guide pulled into the parking lot and gave us safety instructions then our tour began. At first we moved like a search and rescue team, all spread out in a wide line but soon formed a single file as we realized that walking through the snow is much easier if you follow in someone else’s footsteps, namely our guide’s. He seemed unaffected by the elevation and snow pack and simply walk through the woods. If you’ve never done it, snowshoeing feels very similar to walking in the sand with the added bonus of never knowing how far deep in the snow your steps will plunge you. One minute your upright, next minute you’re trying not to do the splits. Soon we came to a clearing where the “brews and views” part of our “Shoes, Brews and Views” tour began. We got to know our tour mates a little better and enjoyed some local brews together in the middle of the Deschutes National Forest. On the way back from snowshoeing we talked with the tour guide about what it’s like to live in Bend and Central Oregon. From that conversation we could see the pure love he had for Bend and were a bit envious but also excited that we were actually considering moving.

 

The next day, we woke up to another beautiful sunny day with crisp mountain air that felt so cleansing to inhale.  This was a real treat since it was February and we were used to clouds and rain in the valley. On this day we decide to explore Bend a bit and went on a walk-about in the Old Mill district, Drake Park, Mirror Pond and traveled east to Brasada Ranch. This was the day I fell in love with Bend and Central Oregon.

For those of you that are wondering why we’d travel 20 miles east of Bend to Brasada Ranch, I’d like to say: “Excellent Question!” which I’ll answer for you now. On the second day of our trip my husband let me know that we were not only exploring Bend but also Brasada Ranch that day. Being the go-with-the-flow kind of gal I am, I said “Sounds good to me! But why?” to which he responded with “I have a job interview.” He got the job, I got one a month later and within two months, we became Bendites. It’s been 5 years since that day and we’ve never looked back. So, if you live elsewhere and you take a Wanderlust Tour while in Central Oregon be prepared to put your house on the market and move here. If you do move here call me and we’ll share a brew, views, and snow shoes. P.S. All Village Properties guests get a 10% discount on tours with Wanderlust Tours!

Shoe, Views, & Brews Tour from Wanderlust Tours
Taking a break during the Shoes, View, & Brews Tour from Wanderlust Tours Bend, OR

Spring Break in Sunriver

Spring in Sunriver is truly one of the best times to visit the area. Mt. Bachelor staying open through Memorial Day, combined with longer days and warmer weather, make your activity options almost endless. If you’re coming to Sunriver for Spring Break, you can plan kayaking, skiing, hiking and more all in one weeks time. Some have been known to ski in the morning and go for a kayak paddle in the afternoon.

If you’re looking for some great events to keep your crew entertained, we’ve got some ideas for you here.

Subaru Winterfest 2018

Mt. Bachelor always has an events calendar that is packed with good times in the Spring. March 16 – 18th, join fellow snow-lovers and celebrate all things winter at the Subaru Winterfest 2018. Enjoy live music, s’mores and coffee while taking advantage of daily giveaways and test out the latest gear.

Hella Big Air

On Saturday, March 31st come up to watch the 10 Barrel Brewing Co 3rd Annual Hella Big Air. There will be a Hella Big Party going on while you watch some top competitors hit a 95-foot jump. This 90’s themed party will not disappoint. Come for the entertainment, the prizes, the party and more!

Stay tuned to the Mt. Bachelor website for their 2018 Spring skiing specials.

Sunriver March Mudness

Gather your friends and family and prepare to get down and dirty. March 25th is the 6th annual Sunriver March Mudness. This 1.5 mile annual event is meant for all ages and geared towards those that want to have FUN!

There are obstacles such as tires to step through, a spider web weave, sloth crossing a mud crawl over and under different hurdles. This is truly a non-competitive and family-friendly event. It is encouraged to take your time and enjoy yourself! One of the most fun things about Spring in Central Oregon is that our weather is SO unpredictable. The weather could be wet and rainy, cold and snowy or sunny and warm. Come to the race dressed weather-appropriate. And, no matter the weather, prepare to get WET and DIRTY!

A portion of proceeds will go to the American Cancer Society – La Pine-Sunriver Relay for Life, Sunriver Citizens Patrol – Shop with a Cop, and the Sunriver Fire Department – Stairclimb Fund.

As spring draws closer, more events and activities will be popping up. Keep your eye on our event calendar for more great events this spring. We also have some great input on hikes, floats, dining and more in some past blog posts. Check out our list below:

Happy Hours in Sunriver

Floating the Deschutes River

The Most Breathtaking Late Summer and Fall Hikes near Sunriver (Also great for spring!)

Dining in Sunriver

The Bend Ale Trail Beer Tour

The Village at Sunriver – Your Holiday Shopping Guide (Or anytime shopping!)

Don’t forget to call our office and chat with one of our Sunriver experts to help you plan your next Sunriver vacation. We can recommend activities, find your perfect vacation rental and even help you find discounts.

Buy your Mt. Bachelor lift tickets at The Village at Sunriver!

Save time and skip the lines by purchasing your Mt. Bachelor lift tickets in Sunriver!

New this winter, Mt. Bachelor has an office in the Village at Sunriver mall, where you can purchase your single-day lift tickets, season passes and all other options offered through Mt. Bachelor. Beat the crowds, skip the long lines and buy your Mt. Bachelor lift tickets before you even hit the mountain! It’s a great way to get in, get out and spend even more time on the slopes.

Mt. Bachelor’s Sunriver office is located in Building 26 at the Village of Sunriver, where Sun Country Tours was previously located. This location will be open on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays, though operating hours will fluctuate with demand.

This new office of Mt. Bachelor’s is just one more reason why staying in Sunriver for a ski vacation is such a great choice! With the Northwest open, and the brand new Cloudchaser lift set to open on Friday, Mt. Bachelor is now the 5th largest skiing and snowboarding area in the United States. That’s a whole lot of POW to enjoy! So get a jump on things by staying in Sunriver for your winter trip to Mt. Bachelor. We’re even closer to the mountain than Bend, which means even more time to enjoy yourself. And many of our vacation rental properties boast hot tubs and fireplaces, so you can easily head “home” to warm yourself after a long day of play.

Click here to book your next adventure, or call 1-800-SUNRIVER to speak with a Reservation Specialist.

Book a Sunriver Ski Vacation Just in Time for Cloudchaser

We’ve been buzzing with excitement in Central Oregon since Mt. Bachelor announced the addition of the new Cloudchaser lift. Cloudchaser, a high-speed detachable quad chairlift, will provide greater protection from the elements during storms and add 635 acres to the lift-served terrain at Mt. Bachelor. With the addition of Cloudchaser, this makes Mt. Bachelor the 5th largest ski area in the United States. Cloudchaser and more terrain provide one more excellent reason to book a Sunriver ski vacation with Village Properties at Sunriver.

About Cloudchaser

Crews have been busy installing the new chairlift at Mt. Bachelor. Cloudchaser is slated to open in mid-December for skiers and snowboarders to enjoy.

  • Cloudchaser is the first new lift at Mt. Bachelor to add previously unserved terrain since the addition of Northwest Express in 1996
  • The last new chairlift installed at Mt. Bachelor was the replacement of Pine Marten Express in 2006
  • Cloudchaser adds 635 acres of skiable terrain and 6.2 miles of groomed runs, making Mt. Bachelor the 5th largest ski area in the US

The addition of Cloudchase could ease long lift lines during the busy ski season, which all visitors to the mountain will be grateful for. When planning your Sunriver ski vacation, this is definitely something to keep in mind! Shorter lift lines and more accessible terrain on the east side of the mountain add up to a great winter at Mt. Bachelor. Now, all we need to do is pray for snow!

Book Your Sunriver Ski Vacation

With the addition of Cloudchaser, it’s the perfect time to book your Sunriver ski vacation. Sunriver offers many advantages when planning your ski vacation, including:

  • Easy access to Century Dr. and Mt. Bachelor
  • Dining and shopping opportunities abound at The Village at Sunriver
  • Two breweries and a wealth of taps bring Central Oregon craft brewing culture to your front door
  • Winter sports outside skiing and snowboarding, including tubing, cross country skiing, snowshoeing and snowmobiling
  • Cozy vacation rentals with fireplaces, hot tubs and all of the essentials for a comfortable Sunriver ski vacation

When booking your Sunriver ski vacation, Village Properties offers many benefits. From discounts at local merchants to our 4th Night Free special, you’ll be happy with your choice to book with Village Properties at Sunriver. Contact Village Properties today to book your Sunriver ski vacation this winter and enjoy expanded access to east side terrain at Mt. Bachelor with Cloudchaser.