Hiking to Benham and Dillon Falls – Bend, OR

Bend, OR

Spring time in central Oregon is also “bug” time, which means the front of your vehicle becomes covered with them if you drive any distance.  We were especially impressed with the motorhome pictured below after it was driven from Klamath Falls, about 135 miles south of Bend.

One Saturday evening we met friends, Vic and Pam, at Craft Kitchen and Brewery, located in the Old Mill District overlooking the Deschutes River.  We first met them in Florida when they were still full-timing.  Since then they sold the motorhome and bought a home in Bend, where they are now enjoying life.  We enjoyed a delicious craft beer, some good food, and a couple of hours of great conversation.

Another day we drove south of Bend for a hike on the Deschutes River Trail.  After driving about ten miles south of Bend on US-97, we turned west at the exit for the Newberry National Volcanic Monument.  The road goes by the monument and led us to the parking area for the trail (called the Benham Falls East Trailhead on Google maps).

True to its name, the Deschutes River Trail runs along side the river.  At times the river is very tranquil, but the trail passes by two interesting points where the water goes through narrow passages in the surrounding rocks, Benham Falls and Dillon Falls.  We found both to be more aptly called “rapids” rather than “falls,” as there is no steep drop off at either site.

Benham Falls

Old tree makes a good catapult (what strength!)

Tranquil spot between the rapids

Dillon Falls

Lunch with a view

At times the trail is right next to the water

Bridge back to the trailhead

This was a very nice, easy hike that turned out to be a bit longer than we had anticipated.  The sign at the trailhead states that it is 3.5 miles to Dillon Falls.  We found the distance to actually be 4.6 miles one way, adding over two miles to the hike.  Fortunately, the trail follows the river so it is fairly flat with no energy sapping elevation changes.

Next up, a hike in Smith Rocks State Park!  More on that later…

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31 Responses to Hiking to Benham and Dillon Falls – Bend, OR

  1. Laurel says:

    That’s a good long hike at just over nine miles. So happy to see that the weather is cooperating for you and that you’re able to get out on the trails (no more snow!!). And you’re even hiking in shorts! We’re in long pants and fleece here on the Oregon Coast. But that’s probably how we’ll be dressed the entire summer. I’m impressed by your display of strength, John. :-))

    • placestheygo says:

      There is still a lot of snow, Laurel, and we won’t be able to complete many of the higher elevation trails before we leave. Several areas just opened for the holiday weekend. The Cascade Scenic Road isn’t completely open yet. We are returning at the end of August to hike the areas we will miss. The weather has warmed up quite a bit so shorts are now our attire.

  2. Debbie L says:

    How beautiful were those falls-I mean rapids! We love the sounds!

  3. Gay says:

    Aaahhhh…the sound of running water. Great lunch spot! I love the picture of Bentham Falls. Vic and Pam look awesome! Tell them we said hello.

  4. Sue says:

    Wow, those bugs are incredible! At first glance I thought the picture was your motorhome! Don’t you just love that area? The water, the mountains, the trees…but perhaps there aren’t enough rocks for you.
    Vic and Pam look great, I think we sat at that same table with them, such a beautiful view.
    As usual, I’m impressed with John’s feats of strength.

    • placestheygo says:

      While our motorhome hasn’t been bug covered, our Jeep has. Every time we travel south, we return with the windshield and front of the Jeep covered completely in bugs. Luckily, they don’t bother us. It is a nice area, but I do miss the rocks.

  5. We biked that trail to the falls. Better than a 9 mile hike! It’s so scenic there along the river.

    • placestheygo says:

      We did see a couple bikes on the trail. They were smart and started at Dillion Falls and did the uphill part first than road downhill on the return. We should have thought of that!

  6. heyduke50 says:

    Hmmmm, didn’t know about that trail… will have to add it to the list!

  7. Speaking of bugs in the spring…we visited Bend in June (I think) one year (before RVing) and went up into the mountains to do a hike. There were still quite a few drifts of snow around and when we opened the door we were SWARMED with mosquitos. Also tons of mosquitos on the melting snow on the Paulina Peak trail. Bug spray is definitely required if you do any hiking near melting snow!

    • placestheygo says:

      We did see a couple mosquitoes on the falls trail when we stopped in a picnic area. But so far the bugs have only been on the car. I did buy some bug spray for us to carry. Thanks for the warning.

  8. geogypsy2u says:

    Hard to take photos through that buggy windshield. I haven’t seen that much flowing water in way too long. Really need to get to the PNW this fall and your adventures are adding to my list.

  9. Jodee Gravel says:

    It might take a whole box of dryer sheets to get that rig clean – ewe!! The rushing river is so beautiful. How fun to have a nice hike along its banks. Nice job on the tree John. Perhaps that’s how the town was named?

    • placestheygo says:

      That fellow with the bugs didn’t waste any time hiring a group to come in and clean his MH. Our Jeep has looked like that after both our trips south into the lower end of the Newberry National Volcanic Monument. We could barely see when we arrived home.

      Now that is a clever idea, Jodee! That just might be how the town got its name…after a super human tree bender!!!

  10. Diana says:

    That is a truly disgusting quantity of dead bugs!

    • placestheygo says:

      I agree, Diana! Our Jeep looks the same way after we have been south to the Newberry Caldera. We can barely see when we get home. Luckily, they don’t bother us.

  11. Flowing water makes the hike better–is this the one where the nimble hiker read the map wrong?? :))))

  12. libertatemamo says:

    You are making me SO nostalgic for the PNW with all these shots. So pretty!


  13. Jim and Barb says:

    Gotta love all that raging water in the rivers! This is the first year since we started that we are not going to make it to Oregon and we are already missing it. We do not however, miss those bugs!

    • placestheygo says:

      The high water everywhere has been quite the treat this spring as are the heavily snow covered mountains. The bugs are very strange. You don’t see them when hiking but they love the warm car and cover the hood especially when it sits. It must be a higher elevation area that they live because we only get them when we travel in the forest south of here and start to get about 2,000 ft higher.

  14. pmbweaver says:

    Oh my gosh.Your MH looked like our car when we were there.We had to stop at a gas station and clean the windshield before we could head down the road.

    I love seeing the water photos. It just makes the hike more exciting and beautiful. John is the man for sure. I can tell he has been working out.

    Great photo of you two with Vic and Pam.

  15. LuAnn says:

    Seeing your photos brings back some lovely memories. Bend is still one of our favorite western cities.

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