Thursday, September 20, 2007

Shevlin Park-Bend, Oregon

Just outside of Bend lies this very nice park for hiking, biking or picnicking. Trails criss-cross the park, but the two main trails are the Tumalo Creek Trail and a loop trail of 4.7 miles (ignore the signs that say it's 6 miles, we measured it with a GPS unit). Drive the center road to reach the various stream side picnic areas and a covered bridge at Hixson Crossing. The paved road ends at the Fremont Meadow picnic area—large RVs will have difficulty turning around there.

To take the loop trail, drive west on Shevlin Park Road from Bend and turn left into the park just after crossing Tumalo Creek. Park in the parking lot adjacent to the road. Walk past the entrance gate and immediately turn left onto a trail that begins through an aspen grove. Take the left fork, which crosses the creek via a foot bridge. Follow the loop trail signs to climb to the valley rim which, for nearly the first mile, straddles a 1990 fire line. After joining a wider path for about ¼ mile turn right, then fork right, back into the unburned ponderosa forest. After 1.8 miles, veer right again to descend to a creekside meadow and a short footbridge. The trail then climbs before descending again to cross another, longer footbridge. Look for American dippers on the rocks and, if we were better at botany, we could pick out the rare Engleman Spruces here.

Just past this bridge, the trail begins its loop back. At a confusing intersection near the bridge, follow the trail pointer in the direction of the park entrance, left of the dirt road. Climb gradually to the opposite valley rim. You will see the paved road to your right most of the way back and get a view of the covered bridge. Continue on the trail without getting confused with a dirt road to a supply yard. (The trail is skinnier). The trail then gradually descends to the paved road. Turn left to return to your car. Download a park map here.

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