When thinking about recreating in Central Oregon, don’t overlook Redmond. Bend gets most of the press, but we recently drove to the town to our north for a weekend hike and were not disappointed. With gas prices being sky high, we are doing much more urban hiking closer to home.
We combined walking the paved Dry Canyon trail and then walked back through downtown and some residential neighborhoods for a good mix of rural, urban and suburban hiking all rolled into one 9 mile hike. Beth and I parked our car at the southwest terminus on Quartz Avenue and headed north. It was a very hot late-June day, and we started the hike mid-morning. The actual paved trail is 3.8 miles each way.
Dry Canyon trail passes through several local parks along the route. One of the parks has a climbing wall next to the soccer fields.
At the busy intersection of the trail and Hwy. 126 (Highland Avenue), the trail passes under the road through a tunnel near American Legion Park. The smooth, asphalt trail is suitable for bikes, in-line skates, skateboards, and wheelchairs as well as a walking path.
Further north, the canyon narrows and takes a couple of sinuous bends. According to interpretive markers on the trail, the sides of the canyon are rimrock basalt which overlays the Deschutes Geologic Formation, which is over 4 million years old. However, the floor of the canyon is from more recent flows from the Newberry Volcano to the south (approx. 75,000 years old). It is thought that the canyon was carved by the Deschutes River, which abandoned this channel about 75,000 years ago when eruptions of viscous lava blocked the river upstream near Bend and diverted it into its present channel. Some of that lava oozed into Dry Canyon to smooth out the bed of the canyon.
There are points where one can access the trail from the roads above. The official trail ends at the sewage treatment plant to the north. You can then turn around and walk back to your car using the path, or take one of the side exits and walk your way back on city streets. We chose to do part of the trail back and take a closer look at the Maple Avenue Bridge.
The Maple Avenue Bridge is 70 feet tall and was constructed in 2007 using three 210 foot arch spans. Since Central Oregon is a Mecca for outdoor enthusiasts, climbing bolts have been anchored to the underside of one of the arches.
From a distance, the underside of the bridge looks like it has a lot of bird nests built on the underside of the bridge. However, we noticed that all of the “bird nests” were only on ONE section of the bridge, which piqued our interest. It is not likely that nests would only be built on one span. We walked the 100 yards or so, and on closer inspection saw that these “bird’s nests” were hand holds that were placed there by humans, and there were clip-ins so that climbers could practice climbing “negative slope”.
Further south, we climbed up the access stairs to Fir Street and headed back into town. Notice the narrow groove in the side of the stairway, for easily walking your bike up and down the stairs. Lots of folks choose to ride their bikes on the trail instead of walking.
At the top of the stairs you enter an established neighborhood. The house on the corner of Fir and 10th was nicely landscaped, so we snapped a picture to remember it.
It’s interesting to walk in older neighborhoods. Most don’t have sidewalks, but if neighborhood expansion happened at a later date, often the newer regulations called for sidewalks. Curiously, this sidewalk only lasted one block and then we had to walk in the street again. Redmond streets are laid out in a grid pattern, with named streets which run east-west placed in alphabetical order. It’s hard to get lost unless you don’t know your alphabet.
A few blocks of walking east from the Canyon will bring you to 6th street, one of the main North/South roads that brings you through the heart of town. We hung a right turn and headed south into town. The City of Redmond went out of their way to make the roadside visually appealing and welcoming to tourists with banners and flower pots.
Once you enter downtown there are several places that you can go for either shopping or eating. Since we have previously enjoyed lunch and refreshments at General Duffy’s Waterhole on 5th street, we opted to try someplace new.
We first passed by Centennial Park and took a short break and people watched. Kids and families were enjoying the sunny day and playing in the water fountains to beat the heat of a hot day.
We continued walking south on 7th street and stopped by Cascade Lakes Brewing for lunch. It is just north of the Fred Meyer store on 7th street. We found a shady table outside and enjoyed a healthy lunch and a cold brew.
Right next door to Cascade Lakes Brew Pub is Hutch’s Bicycles. We didn’t stop in, but did take a picture of the Dad joke that they had on the company sign board.
A short block north of the Brew Pub and the Bicycle shop is the intersection of Highland Avenue, a busy East-West road. It had good sidewalks and we hiked back west towards the Dry Canyon Trail. Highland is one way street near the middle of town, but turns into a wide four lane road with center turn lanes just a short distance from the downtown core.
Like the rest of Central Oregon, Redmond has grown a lot in the last two decades. Walking lets one take in all of the changes. Bike lanes have been added to Highland Avenue, as have been many new businesses. We enjoyed nice views of Cline Buttes and the Cascade Mountains in the background. New pedestrian friendly crosswalks with signals have been installed recently, making it a hassle free walk. We chose to walk on the south side of the street, where we might occasionally get some shade from trees next to the north- facing sidewalk.
We took a left on the road right before where the trail passes under Highland Avenue. Just a few blocks to the south, we saw a dirt path that would put you back on the Dry Canyon trail.
Just less than another mile and we were back at the southern terminus on Quartz Avenue. There is ample on-street parking to access the trail.
All in all, we walked just over 9 miles for the day, on mostly flat land except for a couple of flights of stairs. You can make this walk as short or long as you like. Redmond also has some mountain bike trails outside of town. Located about 17 miles north of Bend and situated several hundred feet lower in altitude, Redmond’s micro-climate is somewhat drier than Bend’s. If you are flying in from other parts of the country, your plane will be landing in REDMOND! So, if you are recreating in Central Oregon, don’t overlook this small city that has a lot to offer!