In January we traveled to Bend, Oregon following the promise of good beer and even better hiking. For quite a long time we have been hearing about all the excellent breweries and hiking opportunities in the Bend area, but what we didn’t count on was the small town feel and friendly culture of the region. Over 81,000 people call Bend home but it still has a small town feel with minimal traffic and a cozy vibe. In preparation we had a list of the hikes we wanted to accomplish along with the breweries we hoped to visit throughout the weekend.
Our first stop in the Bend area was at the Newberry National Volcanic Monument where we walked the interpretive trail of the Lava Cast Forest through lava rocks and twisted pines.
The trail is ten miles south of Bend near the Sunriver Resort. There is a wood plank trail that leads over an expansive field of lava rocks and formations.
In its entirety the trail is approximately 2.5 miles long. The first thing we noticed were the many large lava holes that were so big we could climb inside.
Another thing that fascinated us was the twisted and seemingly mangled trees that appeared to be tortured by the molten lava flowing around them. At every great viewpoint opportunity there was a nice bench to take in the view out across the expansive lava beds. After taking in the panoramic view at the windy peak of the trail we turned the corner heading back toward tree protection. The lava fields are a great introduction to the volcanic history of the region and a good way to get our trip started.
On the way to our weekend lodging we came across the High Desert Museum which was also on our checklist of things to accomplish. The museum is fun for all ages and is especially great because it predominantly features animals found in the region. We walked around looking at snakes, spiders, owls, eagles, turtles, and lizards. Outside they have an old west village that you can walk through. The day we went through the park was “Spirit of the West Day” where volunteers dressed up as old west characters and sat in front of their display to talk about life in the old west. There was an old bearded miner who taught us the trick to finding gold by identifying quartz. We also met an old west school teacher who taught us to write with a quill pen and dipped ink. One of the most unique features of the museum is a large room with several exhibits that document the history and teach about brewing beer in Oregon. It was both informative and a good way to get us excited for our upcoming beer trip.
Once we finished at the museum we finally made our way to Bend. Our lodging for this trip was a bed and breakfast called the Mill Inn. We chose the Mill Inn for its location and proximity to the many things we hoped to see in town. It also has a rich history in the community originally serving as lodging for the mill workers in the early 20th century.