With 300 days of sunshine a year and fresh, dry, fluffy powder in the winter, the high desert country of Central Oregon is an idyllic playground for sports lovers. Central Oregon is an ideal location for vacation offering world famous golf at more than 25 unique courses, fly-fishing at over 150 rivers and lakes, and outdoor adventures including hiking, rock climbing at Smith Rock and an abundance of snow sports at Mt. Bachelor, the sixth largest ski area in the nation. Add to that a thriving urban community with an impressive selection of restaurants, breweries, cafes, events and art galleries and some would say you have paradise. This is Central Oregon.
Sunriver has plenty of activities and attractions to keep the family busy for the entire vacation. Stay in one of our Sunriver vacation rentals, cabins, or hotel suites, and enjoy access to:
- Four golf courses
- A luxurious spa
- Multiple dining options
- Water activities at the marina
- Horseback riding at the Sunriver stables
- Fly-fishing on the Deschutes
- Swimming pools
- 35 miles of biking paths
- A nature center and an observatory
But if you are looking for attractions outside of the immediate Sunriver area, Sunriver Resort is the perfect base camp to explore all of the Central Oregon attractions. Below are just a few of the 'Things To Do' when during your vacation in Central Oregon:
CENTRAL OREGON ATTRACTIONS
Lava Lands Visitor Center
Lava Lands Visitor Center (5 minutes north of Sunriver Resort)
Located just off U.S. Hwy. 97, a few minutes north of the Resort, Lava Lands offers nature walks, interpretive programs, and displays on the geology, volcanology and the cultural history of Central Oregon. Take a walk over the 7000 year-old lava flow from Lava Butte, or meander through a young ponderosa pine forest. A hike up 500 ft. to the top of Lava Butte offers a panoramic view of Central Oregon, including a spectacular view of the Cascade Range and the northwest flank of Newberry.
High Desert Museum
High Desert Museum (10 minutes from Sunriver Resort)
The High Desert Museum offers close-up wildlife encounters including: river otters, porcupines, bobcats, birds of prey and a number of reptile exhibits. The museum also includesliving history exhibits, art and culture workshops and classes for all ages. It is nationally acclaimed for inspiring and fostering stewardship of the natural and cultural resources of the High Desert. Located just 10 minutes from Sunriver on South Highway 97, the museum is a "must experience" when on vacation in Central Oregon.
Newberry National Monument
Newberry National Volcanic Monument (10 minutes south of Sunriver Resort)
Newberry National Volcanic National Monument includes 50,000+ acres of lakes, lava flows, and incredible geologic features. Two sparkling alpine lakes, East Lake and Paulina Lake, sit in the Newberry Crater offering some of the best trout and salmon fishing in Central Oregon. The highest point is the summit of Paulina Peak (7,985 ft.), with incredible views of the Cascades and the high desert. Hiking, biking, fishing and boating are favorite activities in the summer. During the winter months, the Newberry area is accessible by snowmobile or cross-country skis only.
Mt. Bachelor Ski & Summer Resort (20 minutes west of Sunriver Resort)
Celebrating its 50th anniversary during the 2008‐2009 season, Mt. Bachelor is the sixth largest ski resort in North America, offering 3,683 acres accessible by lifts. The mountain features 7 Express Quads, 3 Triple Chairlifts, 2 Tubing lifts and a Wonder Carpet, with an average annual snowfall of 370 inches. Mt. Bachelor also features terrain parks, 56K of groomed and tracked cross country trails, snowshoeing, tubing and dog sled rides.
During the summer the mountain offers hiking, a disc golf course and chairlift rides to 7,800‐feet with spectacular views of the Central Oregon Cascade range.
Cascade Lakes Highway
Cascade Lakes Scenic Byway (10 minutes west of Sunriver Resort)
The Cascades Lakes highway is one of the most scenic in Oregon and was named one of the nation's 10 most important byways by ‘Scenic America'. As you drive past Mt. Bachelor and the many Central Oregon alpine lakes, including Todd Lake, Sparks Lake, Cultus Lake and Crane Prairie Reservoir, you will want to make frequent stops, so allow at least 4 hours for the 66 mile loop.
Be sure to fill up the tank before you go and be aware that the road beyond Mt. Bachelor closes in the winter (usually November - May).
Paulina Peak (20 minutes southeast of Sunriver Resort)
At an elevation of almost 8,000 feet, the summit of Paulina Peak is the highest point on the Newberry Volcano and offers a stunning view of most of Central Oregon. From the top you can see: Three Sisters and Cascade Range, the Oregon high desert to the southeast, Paulina Lake, East Lake and the Big Obsidian flow. If you're lucky enough to make it to the top on a cloudless day your view includes Mt. Adams in Washington to the north to Mt. Shasta in California to the south.
Smith Rock State Park
Smith Rock State Park (55 minutes north of Sunriver Resort)
Just north of Redmond, OR, this spectacular State park at 3,000 feet encompasses over 600 acres in the high desert plateau. The Park offers numerous hiking trails, with incredible 360 degree views from many peaks, but it is best known for its rock climbing. With over 1,600 climbing routes in and around the park there are climbs for every level of expertise; from beginner to some of the most technical routes in the world. The major rock faces are composed of compressed volcanic ash reaching a height of up to 550 feet.
The park and campground are open year-round but because of the extreme temperatures in summer and winter, fall and spring are the best times to visit. Dogs are permitted on leash and there is a $3 day use fee at the park.
Crater Lake National Park (2 ½ hours south of Sunriver Resort)
With its dramatic sheer cliffs surrounding a 2,000 foot deep lake, Crater Lake is like no place on earth. It is a "see it to believe it" destination, which over half a million people do each year. Oregon's only National Park is well worth the 2 ½ hour drive (during summer) from Sunriver. With over 500 inches of annual snowfall, travel in the winter can be a little tricky but the scenery is stunning if the roads are open.