Redmond, Oregon could easily be described as Bend’s little sister. It sees fewer visitors, is listed on fewer travel websites, and is significantly smaller, however, we feel this makes it even more worthy of a visit!
The city itself is a fantastic place to stay. It has a thriving culinary scene, with plenty of places to grab a bite to eat or enjoy a more refined dining affair.
There are accommodation types to suit a range of budgets, a buzzing downtown, and plenty of events throughout the year; plus, it is a wonderful place to base yourself to explore Central Oregon and enjoy the many things to do in Redmond.
Things to Do in Redmond Oregon
1. Smith Rock State Park (Most Famous Thing to Do in Redmond, Oregon)
The legendary ‘Seven Wonders of Oregon’ may not be quite as well known as the wonders of the world, but those who live in Oregon are pretty fond of them, and so they should be! Smith Rock State Park has earned a place on this coveted list and is one of the most incredible places to go climbing in the state. Many routes are available, making it a great option for climbers at all levels.
Don’t worry if climbing is not your thing. There are plenty of other activities on offer in the park. Why not try your hand at bouldering, go for a hike, or just take in the views? There are miles of hiking, mountain biking, and equestrian trails, with favorites including the Misery Ridge Trail, which may seem short at 2.2 miles, but the climb is hard!
You will have steps to help you up, and when you reach the summit, the panoramic views of the park will open up in front of you. Plenty of wildlife call the park their home, so if you’re quiet, you might be able to spot golden eagles, river otters, and mule deer.
The park’s beauty is evident as soon as you step out of your car. The cliffs are a rich rust color, and the Crooked River winding around the cliffs below starkly contrasts the dusty surroundings.
READ MORE: A Guide to Smith Rock State Park’s Hikes, Misery Ridge Trail & More
2. Steelhead Waterfall
Just half a mile from the trailhead, you’ll stumble upon Steelhead Waterfall. It offers a great opportunity to leave the city, stretch your legs, and observe nature’s finest. Not far after you set off from the trail, you should find a bonus view of the canyon surrounding you before you head down into it to the falls!
The path is pretty family-friendly, although it can be uneven in some places, so watch your step. It won’t be long before you can hear the crashing of the water, and then the 20-foot Steelhead Falls will come into view.
Sure, it is not the most magnificent of all Oregon waterfalls, but the fact that it is such a short distance from the trailhead, close to the city, and has incredible surroundings, definitely helps it deserve its place on the list of best things to do in Redmond, Oregon.
Although there are no picnic tables around the base of the falls, there are some large flat rocks, and we have seen plenty of people pack a blanket to create a picnic spot. It’s a great place to snack before returning and up the canyon. In the warmer months, the base of the falls is also a popular swimming spot, with the cold water a very refreshing finale to the hike.
3. Ochoco State Park
Sitting right on the shores of Ochoco Lake sits Ochoco Lake Country Park. Open throughout the summer; it is a beautiful place to camp for the night. Take a walk around the lake, or take a kayak or paddle board out onto the water, with easy access to the lakeside.
You’ll also find some nice trails and old hidden mines around the Ochoco!
The neighboring Ochoco Wayside State Park is just down the road. This park provides what many would describe as one of the best views in Redmond. It is easily accessible and has incredible views out over the whole town. It is a lovely little spot to retreat to if you need a break from the hustle and bustle of everyday life without traveling too far out of the city.
READ MORE: Your Guide to The Ochoco National Forest
4. Peter Skene Ogden State Scenic Viewpoint
If you are traveling along Route 97, it is worth pulling up at Peter Skene Ogden Scenic Viewpoint. Scenic is definitely the right word for it. From this viewpoint, you will get a dramatic look out over the Crooked River Canyon.
The canyon falls 300 feet down into the gorge, with the river and a shining blue ribbon at the bottom. There are walking trails and interpretive panels where you can learn more about the area, picnic areas, and, if you are feeling daring, even bungee jumping!
The viewpoint also offers a great view of the three historic bridges over the canyon, the Oregon Trunk Line Railway Bridge, the Crooked River High Bridge, and the New Highway Bridge. Parking is available, as well as restrooms, making it an easy place to stop and stretch your legs and a perfect thing to add to a list of things to do in Redmond.
5. Redmond Caves
If you have had enough of exploring above the ground for a while, why not venture underneath it? The five caves you can visit at the Redmond Caves Recreation Site were made from a lava flow from the nearby Newberry Volcano. Although incredible to witness, it is also fascinating to hear about the history of the caves and how the Native Americans used them over the past 6000 years.
Surprisingly, you won’t have to go far out of town to explore the caves, as they are located just at the southern end of town. Just be sure to bring sturdy shoes and some form of light, as the caves have yet to become a major tourist attraction, so they don’t have any lights or facilities. Also, watch out for rattlesnakes! They are the last creature you want to come face to face with in the dark.
6. Cline Falls State Scenic Viewpoint
Located along the banks of the Deschutes River is Cline Falls State Park. The beautiful area has various viewpoints allowing you to take in the scene from different angles. The viewpoint has restrooms, tables, and plenty of parking. Access to the river makes it a popular spot for people to put in their raft or inner tube and head downstream.
Why not take a picnic and enjoy lunch with a view? There are even a few grills in the park, so you can take your lunch up a level.
You may be surprised to know that the waterfalls are not actually at the viewpoint. To get to the waterfalls, you will have to take a short hike on some dirt paths for a while. Although not an incredible waterfall, the 20-foot drop over a basalt ledge is nice and scenic, providing a lovely way to stretch your legs. Although if you want to see the waterfall at its best, try to visit in spring or winter.
7. Black Butte Hike
If you know Central Oregon, then you know Black Butte. This prominent peak makes itself known in the landscape just outside of Sisters, and the hike is one of the best in the region. The volcano juts 3000 feet into the air, calling out to those who get a kick out of a climb.
The volcano stands largely by itself, meaning the views from the top are breathtaking. From the top, a vast expanse of the state is visible, offering a clear view of the surrounding mountains.
To the peak, you are looking at a 3.9-mile out-and-back hike, and although the peak does look unforgiving, you will be pleased to know the trailhead starts about halfway up the slope. You can’t miss the dirt path from the parking lot as it heads through thick forests.
Continue to climb for just over a mile, and soon you will emerge from the trees and onto the open slope. This is where the views begin. Ensure you stay to the right until you reach a large clearing, which is the volcano’s peak.
On a clear day, the views are breathtaking. If you look north, you should be able to see Mt Hood and Mt Jefferson. You should also be able to spy the Three Sisters, and still further away, you might be able to see Broken Top and possibly even Mount Adams, which is an incredible 125 miles away.
READ MORE: Hiking the Black Butte Trail Just Outside of Sisters, Oregon
8. Tackle the Bike Trails
For a fun-filled, adrenaline-fuelled day out, you could have a go at tackling the bike trails. There are routes for all abilities, making them some of the best things to do in Redmond, Oregon. If you are starting out on two wheels, you should give one of the easy trails a go, such as the Maston Outer Loop or Maston Inner Loop. There are also 16 intermediate trails and then two difficult trails if you are up for a challenge.
The Maston Trail Use Area is where most of the trails can be found, including the challenging Cline Butte #1 Downhill trail. Only tackle this one if you are at an advanced level, as it is a quick downhill run that will be over before you know it. The Cline Butte Loop is a recommended trail in the area, offering some challenging ups and downs but incredible views of the Cascades.
The other two areas where Redmond bike trails can be found include The Redlands and Dry Canyon Park. The Dry Canyon Trail here is rated as intermediate as it is slightly technical and great for building up your skills on a trail.
9. The Cove Palisades State Park
Cove Palisades State Park encompasses Lake Billy Chinook, the true gem of the park. The park has day-use areas, hiking trails, cliffs, boat launches, campsites, wildlife, and more. One of the most popular trails in the park is the Tam-au-lau trail.
The hike will take you up 6.5 miles to The Peninsula, a large lava plateau. You can take in the views of Lake Billy Chinook and the Cascade Range, the Three Sisters, Broken Top, and Mount Jefferson from the top.
The Scout Camp Trail is another good one, as you will drop down into the Deschutes Canyon or the Cooked Creek via Otter Bench, which will take you along the river with views not dissimilar to the Grand Canyon.
It’s not just hiking—You can enjoy in the park. During the summer, there are 30 miles of flat water to explore, and spring and fall are good times of year to take a guided kayaking trip. From April to October, you can head out onto the waters of Billy Chinook Lake for all sorts of water fun or relax on its sandy shores!
READ MORE: Your Guide to Cove Palisades State Park
10. Cascade Lakes (Our Fav Thing to Do Near Redmond, Oregon)
Why have one mountain lake when you can have 14? The Cascade Lakes are a series of 14 lakes within the Cascade Range and can be reached via the Cascade Lakes Scenic Byway, which is filled with incredible views. All through the route, you will pass dense forests and incredible volcanic landscapes, and that’s before you have even started hiking.
The first lake you will likely come across is Todd Lake, as it is one of the easiest to access, although it is actually the highest of the Cascade Lakes. The views are incredible as it sits at the base of Broken Top with Mount Bachelor opposite. Although motorized boats are banned, you can still take your kayak, paddleboard, or canoe out, or you can swim if you think you can brave the cold weather. The trailhead for Broken Top starts here, but you would have to be a seriously avid hiker to tackle this one.
Sparks Lake is also popular within the range, boasting incredible views. Kayaking on this lake is the real draw, as you can either head out onto the water or stick to the marshes and check out the waterfalls. When it comes to hiking, the most popular hike is the Ray Atkeson Loop, with several scenic beaches on the route where you can rest and take in the views.
Devils Lake is known for its stunning turquoise waters, which look their best in the sunshine. The water is just over 3ft deep, making it a popular swimming and sunbathing spot in summer. People also bring their paddle boards down into the still waters. A beautiful trail takes you all around the lakeshore, or if you are up for a challenge, the trailhead of South Sister Trail is nearby.
Elk Lake is one of the more popular lakes largely because it has the most facilities. You can stay in the range of accommodation around the facilities and explore the area from here.
READ MORE: Exploring The Cascade Lakes in Oregon—Hiking, Camping, & Water Sports
11. HooDoo Ski Area for Winter
In the winter, the HooDoo Ski Area is the winter wonderland that dreams are made of. People come from all over the state to hit the powdery white slopes and enjoy the recreation that the area has to offer.
The HooDoo area offers night skiing, Nordic skiing, a tubing park, a ski-and-ride school, and a range of trails. In total, the HooDoo ski area has 36 ski trails serviced by six ski lifts, with a huge 806 acres available to ski on. When it comes to snow, the area isn’t lacking either! On average, it sees 13.7 meters of snowfall every single year.
One of the best things about this ski area is much less crowded than some of the larger, more well-known resorts in the area, so you won’t have to wait a long time for a lift. It is one of the best things to do in Redmond in the winter for some outdoor adventure.
Equally as close and also great in winter is Mount Bachelor. This is another epic ski area in Oregon that’s worth visiting if you’re here trying to hit the powder!
RELATED: Winter in Oregon: Your Guide on Where To Go & What To Do
12. Sisters, Oregon
Named after the imposing peaks that sit west of the city, Sisters, Oregon makes for a great day trip from Redmond. Despite the quaint small-town vibe, there are plenty of things to keep you entertained in this vibrant town.
The town is charming, made up of 1880 facades, which makes just strolling through the houses and downtown a pleasant experience.
In town, take your pick from the artsy cafes and tempting restaurants. The downtown district is scattered with interesting and eclectic shops calling you to come in and browse. There are also many lodging options suitable for a range of budgets.
Festivals dot the annual calendar, so chances are you will be in town when something fun is going on. Of course, the major appeal to this unique city is the incredible outdoor adventures available in its surroundings.
READ MORE: 12 Awesome Things To Do in Sisters, Oregon
13. Bend, Oregon
What can we say about Bend? Bend is known for its perfect balance between city life and the great outdoors. You could be in an award-winning restaurant one minute, then out paddling on the Deschutes River the next.
You will always find something new to do in Bend, but favorite activities include sipping on an ice-cold craft beer or taking the Bend Ale Trail, relaxing in a spa, learning something new at the High Desert Museum, or enjoying one of the many events.
The city enjoys 300 days of sunshine a year, so there is a good chance you will be blessed with beautiful sunshine during your visit, perfect for exploring the incredible surrounding landscape.
Regarding accommodation, there are options for all sorts of budgets and desires, making it a great base to explore the great outdoors beyond the city. It has more of a city vibe than neighboring Sisters, which is distinctly smaller.
READ MORE: An Adventurer’s Guide to Things to Do in Bend, Oregon
14. Skylight Cave
This is one of the best things to do in Redmond! The Skylight Cave itself is a lava tube formed an unimaginable time ago. The cave’s ceiling has partially collapsed, creating the opening that lets in that iconic beam of light.
To get down into the cave when you reach, you will either be lucky, and you will find a ladder there ready to use, or you will have to make do with tree trunks to clamber down. To the right, there are around 900 feet of the cave to explore, whereas, to the left, three small holes in the cave ceiling let in the light.
If you are there at the right time, you will see three perfectly formed beams of light reaching to the cave floor, the perfect natural skylights. Try and come on a clear day and in the afternoon for your best chance of witnessing the strongest beams.
READ MORE: How to Get to Skylight Cave in Oregon
15. Proxy Falls (Best Waterfall Near Redmond, Oregon)
Proxy Falls provides the opportunity to take one of Oregon’s most epic waterfalls trails. Oregon is known for its waterfalls, and this one will not disappoint. The waterfall itself is stunning when you reach it, but it’s not uncommon for visitors to be a little confused when they get there. Rather than the water flowing into a pool of water when it reaches the ground, instead, it sinks through the porous rocks below and continues its journey under the earth.
The loop hike used to reach the falls should only take an hour or so, making it the perfect short and scenic stop. The first part of the trail takes you through an ancient lava field before plunging you into the forest’s lush green. At one point, you will notice the trail splitting; if you have the time, it is worth taking the short detour to Lower Proxy Falls to check it out before heading back to the main trail and up to Upper Proxy Falls.
READ MORE: Proxy Falls Hike—Central Oregon’s Most Epic Waterfall!
16. The McKenzie River Trail (One of The Best Hikes Near Redmond Oregon)
The three incredible natural wonders below make up part of the McKenzie Trail, but if you don’t have time to tackle the whole thing, you can easily see each element individually (more on this below).
The McKenzie River Trail is, without a doubt, one of the best hikes in Central Oregon, and Redmond makes a great base to explore it. It is a stunning trail that nicely leads to a series of natural wonders, such as waterfalls and crystal clear lakes, hot springs, and scenic viewpoints.
Overall the whole trail is 26.4 miles, so chances are you will not be able to do the entire thing in a day. That’s why several campgrounds and resorts are dotted along the trail for a bit of R and R before you continue.
Seeing as the trail has several trailheads, you could also tackle separate parts in several different trips, so you get to know the area in different seasons.
One of the best ways to soothe those aching muscles after a long hike is to relax in a hot spring. The Cascade Mountain area is known for its forested hot springs, and there are a couple just off the trail.
READ MORE: Your Guide To Hiking The McKenzie River Trail
17. Koosah and Sahalie Falls
The Koosah and Sahalie Falls Trail takes you through a canopy of towering trees alongside the McKenzie River. At 2.6 miles, it won’t take you long to visit, and although it is considered an easy hike, you should be ready to tackle some stairs.
You can decide which falls to start at, as both have parking lots and then there is just a short hike between the two. Both falls are awe-inspiring, with water rushing over the solid lava flows and into the river below. The trail takes you to both waterfalls and then joins you up with the McKenzie River Trail, so you can always continue the hike further if you are feeling up for it.
Sahalie Falls is about a 100-foot drop of foaming white water when flowing at its fullest, and when the water is at its highest, there may even be a second flow of water. Koosah is only slightly smaller at 70 feet, but it is no less impressive.
The waterfall comprises two smaller cascades that join up to one mass of water when the falls are at their highest. A few different viewpoints along the trail allow you to take in the waterfalls from a few different angles, so don’t miss this off your list of things to do in Redmond, Oregon.
READ MORE: Exploring the Sahalie and Koosah Falls Hiking Loop
18. Clear Lake
It is not surprising how Clear Lake got its name. Whether walking around the shore or paddling on the waters, you will be in awe of just how breathtakingly clear it is. It is so clear that you can see the petrified tree snags below the water, relics frozen in time. The lake is relatively new by volcanic activity standards, having formed 3000 years ago when a lava flow from Sand Mountain flowed down and dammed the McKenzie River.
You can easily make a loop of Clear Lake; it makes a beautiful hike, broken up with several narrow bridges crossing creeks. At one point, you will pass Great Spring, another incredibly clear body of water but this time a vibrant blue color. It is quite a sight to see. The hike is fantastic in all seasons, but we especially love it in the fall when the leaves start to change color, and the trail is relatively less busy. The winter can be fun too, but make sure you have packed your skis or snowshoes.
If you would rather get out on the water, although motorized boats are not allowed, you can hire cute little row boats and spend a few hours relaxing and enjoying the views. As the lake sits on a section of the McKenzie River Trail, mountain biking is also a popular activity in the area,
READ MORE: Your Guide to Exploring Clear Lake, Oregon
19. Blue Pool
Also on the McKenzie River Trail is the INCREDIBLE Blue Pool. This is something you have to do in Central Oregon. You can guess why the pool got its name, although some people also know it as Tamolitch.
It’s a lovely, short hike to reach the pool, which is a must-visit if you are in the Redmond area. This beautiful lake was formed where the river seeps from under lava and back up through the ground. In the spring, you can see water tumbling over the lava, causing Tamolitch Falls, making the whole area even more impressive.
The hike is short and easy. You will go through the rich forests of Douglas Firs, with the McKenzie River bubbling next to you. It is easy to see why people come back, again and again, to walk the trail and admire this gorgeous pool.
For a while, you will move away from the river and instead walk through lava rocks but don’t worry, it is a very clear and well-maintained trail, helping to earn its easy status. Once you reach the pool, the surrounding rocks make a fantastic place for a picnic, so you can linger a little longer and admire the sparkling, freezing water.
READ MORE: Hiking to Tamolitch Blue Pool in Central Oregon
Where to Stay in Redmond
- Juniper Preserve – Immerse yourself in nature and luxury at Juniper Preserve. Surrounded by towering juniper trees and sweeping vistas of the Cascade Mountains, this eco-friendly hotel offers a tranquil escape from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. With beautifully designed rooms featuring modern amenities and eco-friendly touches, you’ll feel right at home in this serene setting.
- Brasada Ranch – Discover a world of rustic luxury at Brasada Ranch, a breathtaking hotel with panoramic views of the Cascade Mountains, this stunning resort offers a unique blend of western charm and modern amenities. From the beautifully appointed rooms and suites to the world-class dining options and endless outdoor activities, Brasada Ranch has everything you need for a truly unforgettable vacation.
- Dreamy Cottage – This cozy home offers the perfect blend of comfort and convenience with all the amenities you need for a relaxing and memorable stay. Step outside into the backyard and immerse yourself in the natural beauty of the Pacific Northwest, with a fire pit and BBQ grill perfect for evening gatherings with friends and family. Inside, the home’s warm and inviting interior is filled with natural light and cozy furnishings, perfect for unwinding after a day of adventure.
- Mountain View Cabin – Escape to a cozy and rustic log cabin for a serene getaway in Central Oregon! Enjoy the privacy of 5 acres of land while taking in breathtaking views of the Cascade Mountain range. This 3-bedroom, 2-bathroom cabin is furnished with modern amenities and rustic decor, offering the perfect combination of old charm and modern comfort. Take in the views and natural light from the cabin’s large windows and relax by the wood pellet stove or on the porch swings.
I hope this helped you find what to do in Redmond and you can better plan your trip!
Oregon native and explorer at heart. Loves tackling expeditions around the world and drinking a good beer at the end of the day. PNW obsessed, VW nerd, and surf or snow riding fanatic.