One of my favorite fall rides is along the Deschutes River Trail, west of Bend. In mid-October, the brilliant fall foliage contrasts beautifully with the blue sky and water and the nearby black lava flows.
The Deschutes River Trail is also a fun ride in spring and summer, with excellent views of the river and the lush vegetation it supports.
Along the way, you’ll see several rapids created by the ancient lava flows on the east side of the river.
Thousands of cubic feet of water per second crash over basalt ledges to create Dillon Falls and Benham Falls, both spectacular destinations along the trail.
The Deschutes River Trail roughly parallels the river and has five trailheads with room for horse trailers arrayed along its length. The trail is popular with bicyclists, hikers, and dog walkers, though dogs are required to be on leash from May 15th to September 15th.
From Lava Island to Dillon Falls, you’ll find separate trails for horses, hikers, and bicyclists. From Dillon Falls to the Slough trailhead, the horse trail skirts around Ryan Ranch Meadow to the west on a closed forest road that has gates at both ends. From the Slough trailhead to Benham Falls, all users share the same trail.