Exploring the Pacific Northwest: Sunriver, Oregon

The Deschutes River

The Deschutes River

You know it was a good trip when the first thing you do when you get home, is to jump on VRBO to book the next one. That was Sunriver. It was that good.

Hiking around near the Deschutes

Hiking around near the Deschutes

Sunriver is in Central Oregon, about 3 and a half hours from Portland, just outside of Bend. It’s located in the Deschutes National Forest and the gorgeous Deschutes River weaves through the area. Plus, it boasts 300 days of sun per year. (And so what are the odds that the first day we were there was cold and cloudy? Thankfully, the sun redeemed itself the rest of the time.) We went with friends – none of us knew too much of the Sunriver details, but just expected to have a great time. And that we did!

Deschutes River in Sunriver

We didn’t stay on the Sunriver Resort, instead we rented a big house with a decent amount of land in a nearby residential neighborhood. It fit the budget and our party of nine just great. And it came with a firepit and an unending stockpile of firewood.


During the day, we drove 5 minutes to the resort to bike, hike, swim and chill. My highlight – biking with the fam! We brought our bikes, which meant we bought a bike rack and now our car looks like it belongs in Oregon.

There are several bike rental options in Sunriver too. They rent all types of bikes and kid trailers too. There’s something like 37 miles of paved bike trails weaving throughout the resort. Which I think is the draw of staying in the resort – you really could hop on a trail and walk or bike everywhere.

Biking through Sunriver Resort. The tunnels were a huge hit for the kids.

Biking through Sunriver Resort. The tunnels were a huge hit for the kids.


Biking through Sunriver Resort

Biking through Sunriver Resort

I highly recommend taking a ride (or run) on the River Loop – it’s approximately 5 miles of paved trails that run along the Meadows Golf Course, airport and Deschutes River. It’s flat and great for young bikers. We rode it with the kids and brought our bike trailer so they could ride when they got pooped out. It’s so darn pretty!

Riding on the River Loop

Riding on the River Loop


The River Loop Trail

The River Loop Trail

Deschutes River

We did a Bike & Hike on the Benham Falls trail. We rode out from the Sunriver trailhead, but there are also parking lots closer to the falls if you’re not up for the bike and/or hike. The trip was about 6 miles total. It’s very family friendly with minimal elevation gain. We rode until we got to the bridge over the Deschutes (2 miles) and then hiked the rest of the way (1+ mile). It was a great, smooth ride and an easy and beautiful hike. Do it!!

View of the Deschutes River from the Benham Falls trail

View of the Deschutes River from the Benham Falls trail


Along the Benham Falls trail. This is where we left the bikes and took off on foot.

Along the Benham Falls trail. This is where we left the bikes and took off on foot.


Hiking to Benham Falls

Hiking to Benham Falls


Exploring the forest along the Benham Falls Trail

Exploring the forest along the Benham Falls Trail


Benham Falls

Benham Falls


The kids taking a rest in the trailer on the way back from Benham Falls

The kids taking a rest in the trailer on the way back from Benham Falls

When we weren’t biking, or making huge bonfires, we played on the rock walls, rode horses and swam at the SHARC. The rock walls were great (i.e. free). The pony rides were fun and worth the $15, mostly because of the setting and the smiles on the kid’s faces. The SHARC is a pool complex with indoor and outdoor pools, slides and other water fun features. For the cost ($25 for ages 4 and up), I thought it was overrated and overcrowded. The kids had fun, of course, but they would had fun if we had just snuck into one of the other resort pools without the bells and whistles. Some of the vacation rentals within the resort include SHARC passes, so keep your eye peeled for that. Oh, and the fellas golfed. There are lots of courses to choose from in and around the Sunriver area.

Saying "hey" to the horses at Sunriver Stables

Saying “hey” to the horses at Sunriver Stables


Pony rides and huge skies.

Pony rides and huge skies.


Sunriver Stables

Sunriver Stables


The SHARC outdoor pool.

The SHARC outdoor pool.


Climbing to the top at the rock wall park

Climbing to the top at the rock wall park


Rock walls at a park in Sunriver.

Rock walls at a park in Sunriver.

There’s a little town center with restaurants, a grocery store, retail shops and coffee shops. We brought a lot of food (it’s how I roll) and did most of our eating at our compound. But, we did have the chance to eat dinner at Sunriver Brewing on Friday night – good food and drinks. Other than that, we did this. And it was awesome.

Girls who grill

Girls who grill

I was really looking forward to spending some time on the Deschutes floating and paddling. But, it just wasn’t warm enough. Which means we may have to make another trip in August to do just that. The Marina (which you can bike to) rents kayaks, rafts and stand up paddle boards. So, next time we will be hitting that up.

Sunriver Marina

Sunriver Marina

We had an amazing time and I can’t wait to go back, hopefully this Summer. And I’ve heard it is a real winter wonderland once the snow comes in. Regardless, it’s on our list of favorites.


Have you ever been? I’m surprised by all the people I’ve heard mention they grew up going there. Not a bad place to grow up vacationing, if you ask me!

You Might Also Like

No Comments

Leave a Reply