High Desert Weekend

The temperature may have dropped, but that doesn’t mean you have to leave your van camping dreams till next spring. With the copious amounts of sunshine we get year-round, some might even say the winter season is where it’s at. No crowds. No bugs. Just all the fun. If you’re a fan of gorgeous waterfall hikes, hearty meals and relaxing hot springs… we’ve got your dream itinerary right here.

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From Bend, head your Westy South on Highway 97 and stop at the Peter Skeen Ogden Trail to stretch your legs and experience some iconic Central Oregon landscape. The trailhead starts at McKay Campground and gently climbs up through an old burn where you can see the new growth coing back strong. 

 The trail keeps to the river and waterfalls are in view as you saunter along. The total hike is 8 miles round trip, and it’s an out-and-back so you can turn around whenever you like. The trail is open   year-round and in the winter months there can be snow on the trail. Always remember to pack water, warm clothing and a snack when you venture out. 

The trail keeps to the river and waterfalls are in view as you saunter along. The total hike is 8 miles round trip, and it’s an out-and-back so you can turn around whenever you like. The trail is open   year-round and in the winter months there can be snow on the trail. Always remember to pack water, warm clothing and a snack when you venture out. 

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  After you’ve worked up an appetite, pile back into the van and continue on to the most unique and mouth-watering meal ever.  The Cowboy Dinner Tree  in Silver Lake is open year round and by reservation only, so call ahead to place your order. (And bring cash because these folks don’t take plastic.) The meal options are a whole roasted chicken or a 30 oz top sirloin steak. Between the main course and the soup, salad & melt in your mouth sweet dinner rolls that come along with it - it’s safe to say you’ll have leftovers for days. Before you leave, make sure you try your hand at tossing the lasso out front for the complete cowboy experience. 

 After you’ve worked up an appetite, pile back into the van and continue on to the most unique and mouth-watering meal ever. The Cowboy Dinner Tree in Silver Lake is open year round and by reservation only, so call ahead to place your order. (And bring cash because these folks don’t take plastic.) The meal options are a whole roasted chicken or a 30 oz top sirloin steak. Between the main course and the soup, salad & melt in your mouth sweet dinner rolls that come along with it - it’s safe to say you’ll have leftovers for days. Before you leave, make sure you try your hand at tossing the lasso out front for the complete cowboy experience. 

 After you’re stuffed to the brim, head on down the road to  Summer Lake Hot Springs  to set up camp, soak in the mineral springs and do some serious star gazing. In the morning, explore the 145 acre resort, do some yoga, walk down to the Summer Lake basin or hike along Winter Rim. If you’re feeling extra adventurous, hike up to Picture Rock Pass and look for petroglyphs. 

After you’re stuffed to the brim, head on down the road to Summer Lake Hot Springs to set up camp, soak in the mineral springs and do some serious star gazing. In the morning, explore the 145 acre resort, do some yoga, walk down to the Summer Lake basin or hike along Winter Rim. If you’re feeling extra adventurous, hike up to Picture Rock Pass and look for petroglyphs. 

 On your way back to Bend, stop in at the town of Summer Lake to fill up on gas and get a few snacks (just kidding, you probably still have enough steak leftovers to feed a small army). If you are in the mood for sightseeing on your cruise back to town, take a short detour to  Fort Rock  where sandals found in a nearby cave are the oldest ever discovered, dating back around 9,000-13,000 years. Voila, you’ve discovered a few of Central Oregon’s hidden gems!   

On your way back to Bend, stop in at the town of Summer Lake to fill up on gas and get a few snacks (just kidding, you probably still have enough steak leftovers to feed a small army). If you are in the mood for sightseeing on your cruise back to town, take a short detour to Fort Rock where sandals found in a nearby cave are the oldest ever discovered, dating back around 9,000-13,000 years. Voila, you’ve discovered a few of Central Oregon’s hidden gems!