This post continues our time in the beautiful state of Oregon!
We started our morning with breakfast at the hotel’s restaurant called The Cascade Dining Room.
I had made a breakfast reservation at the hotel prior to us leaving for our trip.
The hotel offered a breakfast buffet for $30 pp.
We thought it was very expensive but the hotel offered a variety of delicious food options.
I tried several items off the buffet and they were all very good…especially the pancakes!
After breakfast, we walked around the lodge admiring the architecture and the historical aspect of the lodge.
The lodge offers year round skiing and we saw several skiers and snowboarders riding the ski lifts up to the slopes.
We had thought about riding the free ski lift to the top but decided against it.
A few shots of the hotel from the outside
After getting checked out, our first stop of the day was the nearby Trillium Lake.
The lake was located about 10 mins from the hotel.
You normally have to pay a $10 fee if you’re going to spend any time at the lake, but since I just wanted to snap a few pics, I asked if we could just drive in and take a picture and leave and they said that would be fine.
Here’s the reason I wanted a picture….if the water is still enough, you can get a perfect reflection shot of Mt Hood in the lake.
Unfortunately, the water wasn’t that calm because so many people were in the water but the views were still beautiful!
Tip: You could make your first stop Zigzag Falls..it’s 13 mins from the hotel and only 1/2 mi round trip …Trillium Lake is 20 mins from the falls. Another nearby trail is, Little Crater Lake. It’s 25 min from Trillium Lake and it’s 0.3 mi round trip.
After leaving here, we headed to our next stop called, Peter Skene Ogden Viewpoint.
It was located 1.5 hrs from Trillium Lake.
As we were driving, we passed a sign about a new hot springs resort that was opening soon called Kah-nett-ta. It looks like a cool place!
We made a quick stop to take a picture of this bridge and the canyons beneath it.
There was a sign nearby talking about the history of the Indians in this area.
I highly recommend you have a full tank of gas when making this drive and plenty of water in case you have any car issues!
The landscape slowly began to change as we got closer to Madras.
After about an hour of driving, we finally spotted a gas station so we pulled over to get gas and to purchase some water.
Gas was $4.59 a gallon for regular unleaded! It was over $5 a gallon at some places!
After getting gas, we continued our drive.
The views were much nicer now!
We passed a sign for the Pelton Wildlife Overlook.
We spotted an eagles nest at the top of a light pole!
After driving 1.5 hrs, we finally made it to the Peter Skene Ogden State Scenic Viewpoint.
The park land was once owned by the Oregon Trunk Railway and was later acquired by the State between 1925 and 1930. It was named after an explorer and fur trapper by the name of well, yes, you guessed it, Peter Skene Ogden.
There are restrooms and picnic tables located here.
However, the reason we stopped was for the incredible views of the 500 ft deep crooked river gorge!
The historic Crooked River High Bridge stretches across the canyon just north of the park. It was built in 1926 and is open to pedestrians.
The views were spectacular!
As we approached the bridge, there was a bungee jumping company set up so you could pay to bungee jump from the bridge….no thank you!!
We watched people jumping….made my feet hurt just watching!
if you look closely, you can see the basalt columns below….Basalt columns are natural pillars made of hardened lava, caused by the contraction of volcanic rock as it cools.
After spending a few minutes here, we headed to our next stop called Smith Rock State Park.
This place was pretty crowded as you can imagine and the parking was a challenge. You have to pay $5 to park.
However, if you enjoy scenic views of deep river canyons and towers of volcanic ash rising from the dust, you will definitely want to add this place to your itinerary!
Smith Rock was formed by a major volcanic eruption. Ash a 1/2 mile thick settled over the area and eventually hardened to become rock.
There’s a reason it’s one of Oregon’s 7 wonders….it’s amazing!
The views are incredible and you will definitely want to spend 2-3 hrs here!
There are several hikes in the park that you can do…from easy to challenging. This is also a rock climbers paradise and climbers come from all around the world to climb here.
Just a warning, this place is dry and hot! Smith Rock has over 300 days of sun a year! So make sure you have plenty of water!
Tip: Click here for 22 adventures near Smith Rock
We decided to walk down to the water…the walk down was a bit steep and slippery as you are walking on loose gravel!
After making it safely down the steep hill, we reached the pedestrian bridge and crossed over to the other side.
A few minutes later, we crossed back over the bridge and walked a trail alongside the river.
This place is truly amazing!
A few more shots along the way
After walking the trail for about 20-30 mins, we decided to turn around and head back to the car as we were running low on water and it was extremely hot!
Miraculously I made it back up the steep hill and headed for shade under a nearby pavilion.
While resting under the pavilion, we noticed a plaque hanging nearby that was talking about movies that had been filmed at the park.
Read reviews of the park here
After resting for a while, we headed to our next stop.
However, as we were leaving, we passed a place called Juniper Junction that served ice cream so we decided to stop.
Juniper Junction has been a must-stop for huckleberry ice cream since its inception in 1967. So, of course, we had to order the huckleberry ice cream!
It was so good!
Tip: The building next to Juniper Junction was originally built in 1975 for the set of “Kate’s Saloon” in the film Rooster Cogburn, starring John Wayne and Katherine Hepburn.
Read reviews here
We just took a couple of pics and then were on our way to our next stop, which was 40 mins away, called, Newberry National Volcanic Monument.
Once we arrived, we had to pay $5 to park.
Newberry National Volcanic National Monument includes 54,000+ acres of lakes, lava flows, and spectacular geologic features.
There is a visitor center located here but we never went inside.
Read reviews here
We headed straight for the trails that led through an old lava field.
This lava field is called, The Big Obsidian Flow…it was created 1,300 years ago and covers 700 acres.
This place was so cool!
Tip: There are 61 named volcanoes in Oregon including 5 active volcanoes…and get this, the Three Sisters volcanoes are number seven on National Geographic’s list of most dangerous volcanoes in America, just after Mount Hood.
We spent about an hour here walking the trails through the lava fields.
There were information plaques scattered all along the trails telling you about this area.
You can see the Lava Butte in the distance….this is the cinder cone that came about as the result of a volcanic eruption.
You can drive to the top of the Lava Butte however, during peak season from June 17 through Labor Day weekend, you have to take the shuttle that departs every 20 minutes from the Visitor Center.
We only realized this when we were about to leave so we decided we didn’t want to wait around for a shuttle.
Tip: The Newberry volcanic area was one of numerous locations used in the 1960s for geology field training for Apollo astronauts. During the Apollo 15 mission, astronaut James B. Irwin commemorated those events by leaving a lava rock from Oregon on the moon.
After leaving the lava field, we drove 5 mins down the road to see the Lava River Cave…however, after arriving, we saw that you had to have a reservation to visit!
The Lava River Cave is a mile long lava tube…the cave was one of the first lava tubes to be discovered in Oregon and is the longest one in the state.
Since we couldn’t see the lava tube, we decided to head to our hotel which was only 15 mins away.
After arriving to our hotel in Bend called, the Riverhouse on the Deschutes, I went inside to check in only to be told that our room wasn’t ready even though it was already 1 hr past the check in time.
Tip: Read here about 10 waterfalls near Bend that are worth a visit
They informed us that it would be about 10-15 mins before our room was ready but I had a feeling it would be longer than that after every person that was trying to check in was told their room wasn’t ready either!
I had made dinner reservations at the hotel’s restaurant called Currents but since we couldn’t get into our room to get ready, we decided to go find somewhere else to eat while we waited for our room to be cleaned.
My hubby had made a list of restaurants to try out in each of the places we were going to be visiting, so we headed for one of the restaurants he had on the list called Pisanos...it was a pizza place that served wood fired pizzas.
See their menu here
We arrived to the restaurant and had to order at the counter and then they brought it out to you.
We grabbed a table outside and shortly later, they brought our pizzas out.
They were very good!
Read reviews here
After dinner, as we were heading back to the hotel, I got a call from the hotel telling us that our room was ready….only 2.5 hrs after check in! So, I asked for a discount and they gave us $100 off the room!
Finally arriving to our room!
Note: This hotel was 2 hrs from our first hotel, the Timberline Lodge.
It was very nice and spacious but I had booked a room with a balcony overlooking the river and they put us in a bottom floor room with a view of bushes! I needed another $100 discount for that! 😉
The hotel is really nice and sits on the river but we didn’t have time to enjoy it because of getting checked in 2.5 hrs past our check in time.
Read reviews here
After getting settled into our room, we sat outside for a little while admiring the view of the bushes!
Later that evening, we called it a night!
Thanks for reading!
Stay tuned for Day 3!