Although some people do fish the Upper Deschutes River from the bank in the area around Sunriver, most anglers use drift boats. If you don’t have a boat, consider fishing the Fall River, off Route 43 (Century Dr.) southwest of Sunriver.
You can get equipment, licenses, advice, or a fishing guide at the Sunriver Fly Shop (56805 Venture Lane, Sunriver, 541/593-8814), located near the Chevron station in the business park–shopping area across the road from the entrance to Sunriver.
Families are catered to by Garrison’s Fishing Service (541/593-8394, www.garrisonguide.com), which features pontoon boats with padded swivel chairs that cruise the lakes and rivers of Central Oregon looking for the big ones.
Three 18-hole courses and a family-oriented nine-hole course are found at Sunriver Resort (541/593-4402 or 800/801-8765, www.sunriver-resort.com). The Meadows Course ($49–109) is many golfers’ favorite at the moment. The Woodlands Course ($49–109) has water, abundant bunkers, and constricted approaches to the greens, making club selection and shot accuracy very important. The private Crosswater course (over $100) is touted by the management as the best course north of Pebble Beach. You must be a resort guest or member to play on it. The nine-hole Caldera Links ($45 adults, $20 youth 12–17) is the newest course, designed to introduce new players to the sport.
A nearby and more economical championship golf course alternative is Quail Run (16725 Northridge Dr., La Pine, 541/536-1303 or 800/895-4653, $55 for 18 holes, $35 for 9 holes), a nine-hole course in La Pine. Sand traps, ponds, and tree-lined fairways challenge golfers of all levels without seriously challenging their pocketbooks.
For many visitors, a visit to Sunriver is a chance to ride a bike. The gentle off-street bike paths provide the perfect way to get around the resort area. It’s also possible to ride along paths and back roads from the edge of Sunriver to Benham Falls on the Deschutes River.
Sunriver’s Bike Barn (541/593-3721) can set you up with a rented bike. Village Bike and Ski (541/593-2453), in the Sunriver Mall, is another good place to rent a bike.
If you like to bike but would rather have gravity do all of the work, consider the Paulina Plunge (541/389-0562 or 800/296-0562, www.paulinaplunge.com, May–Oct., $60), a six-mile downhill mountain bike ride. They provide high-quality mountain bikes, helmets, experienced guides, and the shuttle transfer from Sunriver and back. The action starts at Paulina Lake, where you begin your coast down forested trails alongside Paulina Creek.
You’ll pass by 50 waterfalls on your 2,500-foot descent, as well as abundant wildlife and varied vegetation. Three short nature hikes are necessary to experience the waterfalls and natural waterslides that make this trip famous. (Yes, you will want to plunge into the water!)
You may bring your own bike, but this will not afford you a discount from the tour price. Bring your own lunch and water or $8 for a sack lunch, $2 for a water bottle.
The Sunriver marina (541/593-3492, 11 a.m.–3 p.m. daily May–June and Sept.–mid-Oct., 9 a.m.–4 p.m. daily July–Aug.), on the Deschutes River west of Circle 3, rents canoes, kayaks, and rafts; offers kayak classes; and leads float trips on the Deschutes. Aspiring anglers can also rent a fishing rod here.
During the spring and summer the Sunriver Stables (541/593-6995, www.sunriver-resort.com) offers rides ranging from short pony rides to eight-hour trail rides; riding lessons are also available.
About an hour south of Sunriver near Fort Rock is Cabin Lake Campground (Deschutes National Forest, 541/383-5300, www.fs.fed.us/r6/centraloregon), an exceptional spot for viewing a wide variety of birds and wildlife.
There is no lake at Cabin Lake, and the campground is pretty marginal, but the Forest Service has built two small ponds that blend in with the natural surroundings. Permanent wildlife-viewing blinds made of logs, built and donated by the Portland Audubon Society, are adjacent to the small 12-site campground and give close visual access to the ponds. In fact, the blinds are so close that binoculars aren’t really needed.
Since there is little water in this 3,000-foot-high meeting of desert and mountain biomes, both mountain and desert birds are regularly attracted, usually in large quantities. The red crossbill, an increasingly rare member of the finch family, is a regular visitor to this avian oasis. The pinyon jay is another fairly uncommon bird that can be seen here with frequency. Woodpeckers, including Lewis’ woodpecker, the common flicker, the white-headed woodpecker, and the hairy woodpecker are also often sighted.
Park checklists show the California quail, bluebirds, chickadees, flycatchers, sparrows, warblers, and the Western tanager making appearances too. Best viewing times are in the morning, but birds can usually be seen all day long.
by Judy Jewell and W. C. McRae from Moon Oregon, 8th Edition, © Elizabeth & Mark Morris and Avalon Travel