The Dry River Loop, located in the Oregon Badlands Wilderness miles east of Bend, showcases ancient juniper trees, sagebrush, bunchgrass, and interesting lava outcroppings. While many of the trails in the Oregon Badlands are very popular with hikers and dog walkers, the Dry River Loop is used almost entirely by equestrians. You’ll often have the trail all to yourself.
150 feet of elevation gain
Easy – sandy footing
A gnarled juniper grows beside a basalt outcropping.
The Dry River Loop is comprised of the Dry River Trail, which roughly follows the course of an ancient riverbed, and the aptly-named Sand Trail. The Dry River Trail offers some impressive mountain views, plus a fractured lava ridge that’s over a mile long. Be sure to do the loop clockwise, veering left on the Sand Trail at the first opportunity, so you’ll be facing the mountain views along the Dry River Trail as you return to the trailhead.
From Bend, drive east on Hwy. 20 for 4.7 miles. Turn left on Powell Butte Hwy. At the roundabout in 0.9 mile, take the first right on Alfalfa Market Road. In 9.4 miles, you’ll pass the Alfalfa Store and the road name will change to Willard Road. In 2 more miles, turn right on County Line Road. The trailhead is on the right in 1 mile. Additional pull-through trailer parking is available just past the main parking area.