Bend and Central Oregon, A Photographer's Paradise

Bend and Central Oregon, A Photographer's Paradise There is so much you can do in the summer in Central Oregon. Kayaking, River Rafting, Mountain Biking, boating, looking for wildlife, rock climbing, horseback riding, shopping in downtown Bend (GREAT restaurants like Zydeco, and so many convenient and cute shops to select from), golfing, tennis, exploring Ghost towns and the John Day Fossil Beds (AND the Painted Hills), swimming in the Deschutes River from the Bend City Park-where the water is quite pleasant. During our week vacation there recently, we go to do quite a few of those on that list....and one that I didn't put on. Caving.

This is the entrance to the Boyd Cave.Boyds Cave Bend Oregon

I had been in caves before when my younger brother lived at our parents' house in Sunriver. He had taken me on short little junkets, but I thought taking my son on a more exploratory adventure would be worth having a guide. It was. We went with Wanderlust Tours, a great outfit that offers all types of adventures.

This shows the group. We were in the cave for about 2 hours and at one point had to crawl on our stomachs thru fine sand (for about 8 feet). Lucky I'm not claustrophobic.

Lava Tube Volcanic Caves in Bend Oregon

This shows my son looking up at the exit.

Oregon Cave Explorer Wanderlust Tours

Upon exiting, we were back to heat. Going from 50 degrees to 90 in seconds. But what a view of the Cascade Mountains and Sage brush.

Sage Brush and Pine tree photo in Bend Oregon

Another wonderful feature in Central Oregon is Smith Rock State Park in Terrabonne, about a 15 minute drive from Redmond. Great for walkers and rock climbers

Smith Rock State Park Terrabone Oregon

We stayed at Eagle Crest resort. It has three golf courses,Eagle Crest Golf Course Redmond Oregon

4 swimming pools (1 indoor), tennis courts, bike paths, many gorgeous homes and views like this one of the Three Sisters and Cascades.3 Sisters Cascade Mountains in Redmond Oregon

The Deschutes River flows from the mountains, going through Bend (where it makes a great place for kids to swim in Drake Park in downtown Bend since its flowing very slowly and is quite pleasant in temperature), Eagle Crest resort and eventually to Lake Billy Chinook near Madras and on to the Columbia. Here is an image from Cline Falls (not much a waterfall) State Park in the early morning.

Deschutes River, Cline Falls State Park Redmond Oregon

At Eagle Crest, from our deck we had a great view of the canyon (about 400 feet below) where one gets to hear the Deschutes River flowing by.

Deschutes River at Eagle Crest Lodge and Resort Redmond Oregon

Plus wildlife that literally came up to our deck.

Prairie Dog at Eagle Crest Resort in Oregon

A doe appeared with her two fawns. While the fawns were shy, the Mule deer doe was so used to people, you could feed her.

Spotted Mule Deer Fawn photos

We took the Cascade Lakes Highway road. Normally closed in the winter, it weaves through the high lake mountains of Central Oregon.

Offering stunning views of the Three Sisters, Broken Top and Mount Bachelor -a ski area that is often open 8 months a year (Mt. Bachelor is where we spread my father's remains, as he loved to ski that mountain), the drive takes you to various lakes and two resorts as well.

This is Sparks Lake and the South Sister.

Sparks Lake and the South Sister Oregon pictures of mountains

This picture of a kayaker is taken from Elk Lake Lodge and Resort, showing the view of Broken Top.

Broken Top Mountain in Bend Oregon of the Oregon Cascades photos

You can rent kayaks, canoes and paddle boards from the resort. For food options, the resort offers delicious food-which was a pleasant surprise.

Kayak and Canoe pictures Oregon

Another unique photo of a lake is Devils Lake, where the water color is turquoise.

Devils Lake so turquoise green in color in the Cascade Mountains in Oregon

Here is Cutlass Lake, from Cutlass Lake Resort. There were jet skis and motor boats, along with sail boats and paddle boards.

Motor speed boat in Oregon Cutlass Lake Resort

On Independence Day, I left early to pick up my daughter who was at the Washington Family Ranch in Antelope for a Young Life high school camp. These flags were taken in Prineville.

american flag pictures Oregon

I then drove to the John Day fossil beds, in the Painted Hills division.

flowers in the desert photo

The Painted Hills are actually all volcanic rock in different layers. While its best to photograph the Painted Hills in the evening, I didn't have that option this time, so I tried to utilize various angles to make up for it.

John Day Fossil Beds park Central Oregon

Although the hills look like velvet:

velvet hills of central Oregon photo of Painted Hills

The rocks upon closer view are loose.

Close up of lava rocks photos oregon

This area can easily be damaged, so they have built a few ramp loops to give visitors a closer look.

Painted Hills state park picture of the ramp

It also offers you views that make you think you are in another world. Here you can see the texture of the rocks in the photograph.

Painted Hills pictures in Oregon

This scenic photograph was taken from the Painted Hills overlook.

Painted Hills, John Day Fossil Beds state park in Mitchell Oregon, a panoramic pictures

Leaving Mitchell, I went to Richmond, one of Oregon's Ghost towns. This was the old school house.

Richmond Oregon, old school house

Although there were quite a few old buildings and cars to photograph, they were adjacent to current homes where people live, so it didn't have the Ghost Town feel.

Old deserted falling down building in the Ghost Town of Richmond Oregon

Driving near Fossil, this view of a family ranch in Central Oregon was too hard to pass up.

Family cowboy ranch in Central Oregon, Bend and Central Oregon, A Photographer's Paradise

I would encourage you to explore Central Oregon. There is a lot of variety -not only of terrain, but of things to do and great picture taking opportunities.

Bend and Redmond area is a place for the whole family to enjoy.

Bend and Central Oregon, A Photographer's Paradise