Volcanoes, lava flows, and waterfalls make the hiking along the Deschutes River Trail at Lava Island one of the most interesting hikes in Bend, and although you will still run into a few people along the way, chances are it will still appear that the scenic landscape that surrounds you is yours and yours alone. We live here year-round and we have yet to get tired of the beauty that we see every day: tall trees standing guard over tranquil waters, colorful wildflowers nodding their delicate heads in the breeze, and rocky outcroppings that help turn the calm waters of Lava Island Falls into rapids that are fun to conquer.
Formation of the Falls
Waterfalls are created when there is a layer of hard rock covering a layer of soft rock. Water then flows over the soft rock. The soft rock erodes faster than the hard rock and this forms a step. As the water flows it causes the rock to erode more and make the plunge pool larger. With time, the hard rock that sits over the soft rock collapses. As the hard rock collapses, rocks and boulders are formed. Eventually there is enough erosion to form a deep gorge.
For the Accomplished Hiker
The trail that leads up to Lava Island Falls is a relatively easy one, but the falls themselves may be difficult to reach for less accomplished hikers. The climb to the top is a steep one, but worth the journey if you are careful and willing to put the effort in. If not, there’s no need to worry; the hike along the river is worth it for the views, and you’ll have other days and other falls to see throughout your stay! Photo opportunities are limited, as it is difficult to see the falls unless you are under them looking up, so it’s not necessary to bring your expensive camera. The camera on your phone will serve you just fine.
Don’t Forget the Bug Spray!
Although our summer temperatures rarely rise over 83 degrees, it’s still imperative that you bring along plenty of water and don’t forget your insect repellant when you visit this fun thing to do in Bend, Oregon. Mosquitos run rampant on the trails during July and August, so it’s better to be safe than sorry. As we get closer to fall, the cooler temps kill off the mosquitos and hiking once again becomes more comfortable. As you get closer to Lava Island Falls, however, the mosquito population tends to die down; they prefer the calmer waters along the trail!
White Water Rafters
Lava flows on Lava Island have made the falls more difficult to navigate for rafters, as the hardened lava from previous eruptions has blocked a portion of the river. These class 5 rapids are potentially dangerous, and novice and moderate rafters should avoid these falls at all costs; just viewing the falls from the banks of the river is an adventure in itself.
If you are going to try rafting, you should know that there is no ramp for backing trailers on the river to release rafts. There is, however, an area to exit the river here.
Amenities at the Falls
Parking is available at the falls if you have a recreational pass from the Forest Service. Unfortunately, there is no way to obtain a pass at the falls. You must obtain the pass from The National Forest Service office or from a vendor. A day pass is $5.00. A selection of annual passes is also available. There is no drinking water available at the site, so bring your own. Port-a-Johns are available at the site. Dogs are welcome, so long as they are on a leash. There are several picnic areas available near the falls.
If you are in Bend, Oregon, travel west for 7.9 miles on Cascade Lakes Highway until you get to Forest Road 41, and then travel 0.8 miles east on Forest Road 4120.
There are a few great places to eat right near Lava Island Falls. The area is popular, so it is always a good idea to arrive early.
A Broken Angel Food Cart
This fabulous little cart is a great place to stop for breakfast. They offer such unique entrees as grilled artichoke tostadas and a spicy roasted potato hash. The cart is located at 643 NW Colorado, Bend, OR 97701.
The Phoenix Restaurant
If you are looking for a moderately priced restaurant with a relaxing atmosphere, you will definitely want to check out The Phoenix. Be sure to try the spinach and artichoke dip that comes with fresh tortilla chips. The place offers some great pizzas and a wide selection of salads and sandwiches. If you are in the mood for something a bit more substantial, try the ginger salmon or the angel hair pomodoro pasta. You won’t want to pass up one of the bar’s cocktails or one of their decadent desserts.
As Beautiful as It is Outside
The interiors of our Bend Vacation Rentals are so much more so, making it difficult for you to leave at the end of your stay. Rustic and charming, classic and elegant, colorful and fun whatever your taste you will find something to love about our homes, but only if you remember to reserve yours today! Life is too short to stay in shoddy vacation homes!
Contact us to learn more about other things to do in Bend, Oregon.