Sunriver, OR and Surrounding Areas

In the heart of Central Oregon, strung between the arid corridors of I-5 to the west and U.S. 395 to the east lies a garland of National Forest lands, in which the town of Sunriver is truly a multi-faceted ornament. The fact that it retains its small town ambiance and lies nestled in the Deschutes National Forest does not mean that Sunriver is impossibly remote. Sunriver is one of several colorful towns and villages on U.S. Highway 97. Bend, the closest large city in the area, is a short commute away and provides all of the metropolitan alternatives to Sunriver’s bucolic outdoor experience. Bend is situated at the junction of of U.S. Highway 97 and U.S. Highway 20 – which leads quickly yet scenically back to the I-5 corridor. Sunriver has its own public airport, available to private pilots, and offers glider tours of the area. Redmond, Oregon’s airport provides commercial airline access to the area, and is only 50 miles to the north on U.S. Highway 97.

Beyond the naturally provided recreations of the area — hiking, bird watching, fly fishing, kayaking, canoeing, swimming — Sunriver offers a variety of first class golf venues and idyllic opportunities for tennis and cycling. Physical activities are not the only options available in Sunriver, however. Annual cultural and sporting events include the Pacific Crest weekend sports festival (June 24 – 26, 2011, Sunriver Artists’ Faire (August 11-13, 2011), the Sunriver SUNFEST Wine Festival at Fort Rock Park (September 3, 2011), and the Family Summer Concert Series in the Courtyard (Saturdays throughout the Summer).

The desirability of Sunriver golf cannot be overstated. One of the three 18-hole courses included in the Sunriver Resort – The Woodlands – was designed by Robert Trent Jones, Jr. Two courses (one an 18-hole and the other a family-friendly 9-hole) were both designed by Bob Cupp. 54 holes of premier golfing among verdant natural features including marsh, meadow, and forest, provide a unique vacation destination for the avid golfer.

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The vacation season for Sunriver does not end with the falling of leaves or the dropping of the temperatures, though. Mt. Bachelor is only twenty minutes away, and provides alpine and cross-country skiing as well as snowboarding throughout the winter. With 11 state of the art ski lifts, runs of up to 1.5 miles, and over 3000 feet in vertical drop, Mt. Bachelor provides abundant snow-riding opportunities for all levels of skiers and boarders. Nor is Mt. Bachelor a winter-only destination. The mountain is also available during the summer season for scenic chairlift rides, hiking, and an 18-hole disc golf course. Romance and grandeur are offered as a package deal, as well, in the form of Sunset Dinners at the Pine Marten Lodge, served every weekend (Friday, Saturday, and Sunday) from July 1st through Labor Day weekend.

Despite the area’s abundant summer greenery and winter snow, Sunriver is aptly named due to its location in a high desert zone. Located at the point of transition from the Cascade Range’s Ponderosa Pine forests to the Great Basin’s high desert plateau, Sunriver receives an average annual precipitation of only 11.7 inches, although Mt. Bachelor receives an average annual snowfall of 370 inches. For expatriates of the Pacific Northwest’s coastal regions, this means that winter visitors to Sunriver can experience an antidote to Seasonal Affective Disorder.

This cornucopia of vacation opportunities could easily fill a week or two without further travel. Lodging is available in every imaginable form, from camping in the National Forests to four-star hostelries such as the Sunriver Resort, which includes the Sage Springs Club & Spa and its own private marina on the adjacent Deschutes River. Caldera Springs, the newest and most inclusive of resort communities in Sunriver, provides a plethora of rental options, all of which are five-diamond rated. Combining rustic style and luxury accommodations, the Caldera Cabins are a more intimate option, while full-scale custom homes are also available, with direct access to the fairways of Caldera Links, the latest Bob Cupp designed golf course in the area. While staying at Caldera Springs, an exclusive 7 acres of lakes for kayaking and canoeing are complemented by nearly 9 miles of bike and jogging trails on the property. A unique, expansive swimming pool with lava slide and a complete fitness facility are available at The Quarry. If billiards is the form of pool preferred, that too is available, in The Lakehouse, a spacious yet inviting community gathering place. Casual dining and refreshment are also available on-site, at the Zeppa Bistro. In addition to all of these amenities, guests at Caldera Springs are also entitled to use of all the amenities at the Sunriver Resort.

If a more xtensive sampling of the area is a vacation goal, U.S. 97 is the nexus for two of the western United States’ most iconic natural features: Crater Lake, less than 2 hours to the south, and Mt. Hood, less than 3 hours to the north. With all that Sunriver and Caldera Springs have to offer, though, they make a logical, centrally located, and thoroughly pleasurable home base for any vacation in the Northwest.