You would think that after living here for as long as we have, we’d eventually become immune to the beauty of the area, but once you begin your Oregon vacation, you’ll understand why we don’t. Forests that are green and lush offer trails for hiking and biking, majestic mountains hold miles of ski trails in the winter, and the Deschutes River allows for hours of watery entertainment all year long. Our landscape is a true paradise, and we wouldn’t choose to live anywhere else in the country. Fort Rock Park near Sunriver, OR is one of the more scenic spots, and one of our favorite places to play in our time away from work. It is one of the Sunriver, Oregon things to do that you should move to the top of your vacation itinerary list!
A Little Bit of a Drive
Fort Rock Park near Sunriver, OR is located off US 97 and OR-31 about 55 miles away from your Sunriver Pines vacation escape. The drive will take you through some of the prettiest Oregon landscape—it’s so pretty, your children won’t complain and ask if you’re there yet! They even may be disappointed once they get to the end of this particular journey, but when you remind them that this state park offers examples of the earliest human inhabitation, chances are they will be eager to get out of the car and start exploring the area.
Circling What Once a Prehistoric Sea
Jagged red rocks arranged in a circle that was once a pre-historic sea have created a natural area that is a unique and fascinating place to explore. This is where Oregon’s first inhabitants lived, creating a community out of the natural caverns hidden in the rocky outcroppings. A pair of sandals that are about 9000 years old (possibly even older) were once found in one of the caves in the area.
Tours of Fort Rock Cave are occasionally offered, costing $8 per person and lasting about an hour and a half; call 541-536-2428 for information on tour dates and times.
There are plenty of Sunriver, Oregon things to do and the hiking trails throughout the Fort Rock Park near Sunriver, OR give you the opportunity to imagine what life would have been like for the Native Americans that once made their home here. Close your eyes and picture the waters that were once the center of this circle and listen for the echoes of paddles sweeping through the waters as the inhabitants crossed the sea in wooden canoes. Pack a sandwich and some snacks in your backpack and stop for a picnic midway through your hike; the quiet beauty of the tuff ring (the rocks that you see circling around you) will make this meal more special than any five-course dinners at a restaurant! Keep your camera phone at hand and watch for the opportunity to catch a hawk in flight; the wildlife that inhabits Fort Rock State Park near Sunriver is protected and plentiful!
While You’re in the Area
You’ve made the drive to the park, why not take some time and explore other Sunriver, Oregon things to do around Fort Rock State Park? The Fort Rock Homestead Museum is located just about 5 minutes away from the park, and after spending time exploring the great outdoors, it offers a glimpse into the way earlier settlers lived. Located on Old Fort Rock Road, the museum isn’t just one building, it’s a collection of buildings that once were actually used as churches, schools, and homes; the schoolhouse maintains its original wood burning stove and belfry for the school bell and the church has the original pews. Open Thursday through Sunday from 10 AM until 4 PM, it often does double duty as an event spot as well; the next upcoming event is a musical one starring Hunter Noack on September 8th at 5:30 PM.
Time for Dinner
Your Fort Rock explorations and adventures will be exciting and as the sun sets over the mountains, your thoughts will certainly turn to food and drink, and a visit to the Waterin’ Hole Tavern will definitely be in order. Located at 61983 Pitcher Road in Fort Rock and serving the pub grub that will make your taste buds fall in love, it’s a local favorite for a reason! The red barn exterior and woodsy interior gives the Waterin’ Hole a casual and friendly ambience, and the scent of burgers grilling and ice-cold beers being poured will titillate and thrill! Another family favorite restaurant found here in town is the Fort Rock Restaurant & Pub located on Fort Rock Road. Serving comfort foods and some of the best pies in the state, a full bar allows adults to enjoy a refreshing beverage and for those that stick to the softer drinks, we can vouch for their fresh iced tea!