Day 1- After making the scenic drive out from Portland (enjoying views of the majestic Mt Hood), we dove right into our first hike at Smith Rock State Park. We did the Misery Ridge loop (4 miles, steep with switchbacks), which certainly lived up to its name, but rewarded us with incredible views, especially of the "monkey face" rock. It was neat to see all the rock climbers in the park, as it is a mecca for rock climbers. After our hike, we were pretty beat and headed to our friend's grandparents' house, where we were staying while in Bend.
Day 2- We woke up and headed to the trailhead to hike to the Tamolitch Blue Pool. Arriving early and on a weekday, we had almost the entire trail to ourselves along the McKenzie River, which felt magical. The pool at the end of the hike was incredibly blue and clear- truly a sight to see. In the afternoon, we grabbed a bite at Pine Tavern Restaurant and Bar, then decided to embark on the Bend Ale Trail and hit up some breweries. The Bend Visitor Center promotes local breweries by offering visitors who get stamps from 10 breweries to get a commemorative Bend "silpint" (silicone pint glass). No purchase is necessary- just a stamp (though we certainly sampled beers at each brewery). You can swing by the Visitors Center for a passport, or there is a downloadable phone app that you can virtually stamp. Among others, we visited Boneyard Beer, Deschutes, Crux Fermentation Project, Bend Brewing Company, Craft Kitchen & Brewery, Sunriver Brewing, Immersion Brewing, and Silver Moon Brewing. We had dinner at 10 Barrel Brewing (awesome pizza) and finished the evening at Goody's in downtown Bend, a local ice cream parlor.
Day 3- Crater Lake National Park! We woke early to drive the ~2 hours to Crater Lake from Bend. We paid the $25 to enter the park and drove around Rim Drive, a 33-mile road that loops around the caldera with multiple viewpoints and pulloffs. We completed the brief but steep hike up the Watchman Overlook for a stunning view of the lake. Crater Lake is such a deep, magnificent blue! Truly so gorgeous. We also hiked the Plaikni Falls Trail, an easy 2-mile hike through a forest to a waterfall. We grabbed dinner at the TP in Chiloquin (home of the giant Hippo burger) for tasty burgers and then spent the night at Crater Lake Resort- pretty bare bones, but clean and got the job done.
Day 4- We returned to CLNP to hike the Cleetwood Cove trail, the only place where it is safe and legal to get down to the lakeshore. The trail is 1.1 mile long and drops nearly 700 feet down to the lakeshore. The water was freezing, so we did not jump in, but it was neat to see the lake from the shore. After, we headed to nearby Toketee Falls and Umpqua Hot Springs. Toketee Falls was a 1-mile, easy hike, and the waterfall was very neat to see, with its basalt cliffs. Next, we went to the Umpqua Hot Springs, which were absolutely gorgeous and felt amazing. The hike to the hot springs is brief but steep. The lower the pool, the hotter the water was. There were only a few others with us at the springs, and some chose to be nude, just as an FYI. Unfortunately it did seem that the hot springs were not treated super well by some members of the public, who had left trash and melted wax near the pools. But it was still incredibly gorgeous and enjoyable. Afterward, we drove back to Bend.
Day 5- In the morning, we had booked slots at the McMenamins Old St. Francis School soaking pool in Old Bend, which was perfect for our sore legs. We walked around the Old Mill district riverwalk, stopping by Naked Winery for a wine tasting. We then stopped by the Bend Visitor Center to claim our prizes for completing the Bend Ale Trail- a silpint and a Bend Ale Trail sticker. Afterward, we went to check out the last remaining Blockbuster in the US- so nostalgic! We rented a movie and purchased candy, reminiscing on the old days. On our way home, we drove up to Pilot Butte to catch the sunset- breathtaking. When we returned to my friend's grandparents', we popped in our Blockbuster rental and enjoyed a relaxing final evening in Bend.
Day 6- We woke up and drove back to Portland to catch our flights home. Tired but happy! We will definitely return to Portland/Bend again in the future- beautiful landscapes, delicous craft beer/food, and a funky vibe make Oregon an amazing place to visit!