Foodies rejoice: the High Desert Food Trail is a new way to explore central Oregon’s food scene. The trail runs over 70 miles from north to south and includes some of the state’s most delicious attractions.
The High Desert Food Trail also runs through state parks and recreation sites. So if you’re looking for food and outdoor adventure, this is the trip for you.
Join us as we discover if you can hike this tasty route from start to finish.
Let’s hit the trail!
About the High Desert Food Trail
The High Desert Food Trail began in October 2021. It’s a self-guided tour of Oregon’s best food and beverage hotspots.
Organized by the High Desert Food and Farm Alliance, the route features 45 businesses. Restaurants, markets, beverage makers, farms, and ranches are included on the trail. And many of the stops are kid-friendly.
This path is a great way for food lovers to explore Oregon’s food scene. Restaurants showcase everything from upscale plant-based dishes to homemade pasta and pizza. In addition, folks who enjoy spirits can choose from a dozen wineries, distilleries, and breweries.
The seasonal produce at markets and pantry staples from artisan vendors are perfect for home chefs. In addition to tours, the farms and ranches on this route sell their specialties such as meat and eggs.
For travelers who want to experience the full trail, the High Desert Food and Farm Alliance created an efficient route. However, the way you plan your journey is up to you. Visitors can explore these destinations at their own speed. However, due to the seasonality of produce and other items, it’s best to contact businesses before visiting.
Where Is the High Desert Food Trail?
You may think of Oregon as a rainy, forested place. While that’s true of the coast, there’s a whole other world across the Cascade Mountains. Much of the state is a semi-arid desert. As its name suggests, the High Desert Food Trail is in this area.
Central Oregon’s high desert formed millions of years ago. Volcanic eruptions and lava flows created its beautiful cliffs and rock formations.
The landscape stays dry due to the Cascade Range, which keeps rain from traveling beyond the mountains. As a result, this part of the state gets less than a foot of rainfall each year.
But the lack of rain doesn’t mean the high desert is a wasteland. In fact, central Oregon is home to an array of plants, wildlife, and rivers. This part of the state is also a haven for adventurers. Hiking, whitewater rafting, bungee jumping, and ATVing are popular activities.
Know Before You Go: Discover more about the businesses along the High Desert Food Trail and choose your own adventure on their website.
Best Annual Events Along the High Desert Food Trail
The high desert of central Oregon isn’t just a great place for hiking and water sports. A variety of annual events occur in this unique part of the state. If you plan to travel the High Desert Food Trail, add one of these happenings to your route.
La Pine Rhubarb Festival
Are you a rhubarb fan? This sour, leafy vegetable is surprisingly delicious in all kinds of desserts and spreads. In La Pine, Oregon, the plant gets its own annual celebration. The La Pine Rhubarb Festival draws hundreds of attendees every year.
Over 100 vendors gather to sell delicious rhubarb items including pies, jams, salsas, and barbecue sauces. There’s even rhubarb beer and wine! In addition, attendees can enjoy live music and dessert contests. The 2023 La Pine Rhubarb Festival will take place in mid-June.
DD Ranch Pumpkin Patch
Pumpkin patches are a time-honored fall tradition. Nothing beats searching for the perfect orange gourd. That’s why DD Ranch in Terrebonne, Oregon, hosts a patch every year. Kids and grown-ups alike can find their ideal pumpkin at the ranch’s annual event.
The ranch also offers plenty of other activities. Kids can explore the hay maze and clubhouse or visit the petting zoo, cowboy arcade, and kids’ corral. Hayrides and pony rides are available too. While the kids are playing, adults can shop the ranch’s grass-finished meats and local honey.
Best Camping Near the High Desert Food Trail
There’s no shortage of fantastic camping options along the High Desert Food Trail. Whether you’re looking for an RV park with amenities or a primitive state park, Central Oregon has you covered.
Let’s look at two popular RV campsites along this route.
Sun Outdoors Bend
Sun Outdoors Bend is a well-maintained RV park in Bend, Oregon. The park takes RVs of all sizes; their largest pad accommodates up to 130 feet. Amenities include paved and gravel pads, full hookups, and trash and recycling services. Pets are also welcome.
Visitors to Sun Outdoors Bend can also enjoy WiFi and cable access, restrooms and showers, laundry facilities, and lawn games. Steam rooms and a fitness center are onsite. Nearby attractions include Deschutes Brewery and the very last Blockbuster store in the U.S. Rates start at $35 per night.
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Tumalo State Park
Tumalo State Park is an excellent option for nature camping. The park accommodates RVs up to 35 feet and features 23 full hookup sites, asphalt pads, flush toilets and showers, and picnic areas. There are options for tent and yurt camping as well, including a few fully accessible to those with disabilities.
Campers can enjoy fishing, hiking, golf, and mountain biking nearby. In addition, the park is home to the Deschutes River Trail, which follows the river to the Riley Ranch Nature Preserve. Pets are welcome, and kids can enjoy a playground onsite. Rates vary by date but start at $33 per night.
So, Can You Hike the High Desert Food Trail?
The High Desert Food Trail has gained a lot of attention in the last 12 months. This food pilgrimage across central Oregon is accessible and easy to do at your own pace.
While you could hike the trail, it may be best to explore in your car or RV. The route is lengthy and, thanks to highway proximity, can be risky to travel on foot. And though the weather is temperate, day and night temperatures can vary up to 40 degrees. Needless to say, you’ll be a lot more comfortable driving than hiking.
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