Walking Among the Fishermen

Mileage (Roundtrip): 4.8 Trail Conditions: Smooth dirt trail.
Hike #: 1 Scenery (1 "Meh" to 10 "Amazing, Wow"): 6
Sullivan Hike #: 42 Difficulty (1 "Easy" to 5 "Difficult"): 1
Hike Name: Fall River Region: Bend/La Pine

Driving Directions: The trailhead is reached by driving 16 miles south on Highway 97 if you are coming from Bend or 13 miles north on Highway 97 if you are coming from La Pine or other areas to the south of Bend. Between mileposts 155 and 156, turn west on Vandervert Road (look for a sign to Fall River). After 1 mile, turn left onto South Century Drive for 0.9 miles and then turn on Road 42 (Cascade Lakes Highway) and travel for 9.7 miles. A bit beyond milepost 15, turn into the Fall River Campground. Park at the day use area on the right overlooking the river.

Bring: Wading shoes if you want to walk in the river. A fishing pole if you want to catch trout.

Other Things to Know: There are hikes upstream and downstream from the campground. We hiked downstream. There is a historic cabin upstream that can be rented between May and October. More details on www.recreation.gov.

This was a super mellow hike with very little elevation gain, perfect for walk with our dog Zoe on a hot June day. We started our hike with a quick peak at the scenic footbridge just upstream of the campground.  The water of Fall River is very clear but we saw no sign of fish in the river, and after a brief walk along the trail on the south side of the river (the “shoreline path” mentioned in Sullivan’s guidebook) we returned to the day use area and headed downstream. After walking through the Fall Creek campground which was full of small RVs but otherwise deserted, we reached the trailhead for our easy 4.8 mile hike. The forest along the trail was a nice mix of Lodgepole and Ponderosa Pines with a healthy carpet of wild strawberry and other plants and shrubs.Fall River, swimming, dog

Sullivan’s guidebook mentions a few landmarks along the downstream hike  (including a parking lot at 1.2 miles, a cinder road, and a roadside pullout at 2.1 miles) but we were out for a simple amble and didn’t pay attention to when we arrived at these features and instead enjoyed the solitude and peaceful surroundings.  The river is slow flowing along this stretch and evidently more people visit this stretch for fly fishing than hiking (the only people we saw during our walk were in the river fly fishing).  This stretch of the Fall River seems to be much quieter than the stretch through La Pine State Park (see Hike #2). All in all a nice walk and definitely a spot we would visit again with Zoe.  The mosquitos were out on this day in June but I imagine mosquitos and other biting bugs are not bad most of the year.  This could be a nice trail run and I might return in September for another look.

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