Bend is one of my favorite cities to visit. It has the high desert weather, some amazing wilderness, amazing beers, and a pretty decent vegan scene to boot. Also, Cline Butte OHV area has some nice options for wheeling. Only thing is, you need to know where to go.
Hopefully this guide will help for your next trip.
UPDATED 9/14/15! We returned to NLB for an amazing breakfast! See the new content below!
When it comes to vegan fast food, us vegans miss out on three key elements of the fast food culture:
1. We don’t camp out weeks in advance of an opening. And, while I would never be one of the schmucks in a $20 Coleman tent sleeping on a sidewalk outside some vegan Chick-Fil-A, the concept of it is appealing. I mean, how committed do you need to be to artery-clogging, fat soaked food to actually sleep outside for a week? That is true, foodie commitment.
Camping in the winter for a week. For fried chicken.
2. We can’t just have a greasy, bad-for-you burger experience. Most vegan burgers I have seen are typically some malted oregano-kale infused, carrot fiber burger, promising all kinds of health claims. Sometimes, I just want to eat something bad for me too.
3. We don’t have a vegan fast food mecca that beckons us to make multi-mile journeys off major interstates. We need a vegan In-and-Out kinda place.
So when I heard there was a new vegan burger joint in Bend, I had a chance to do a little of all three.
It is not every day you get to pull into an Off Road Vehicle area for the first time. But this morning, we did just that as we decided to visit the Cline Buttes Recreation Area, sandwiched between Redmond and Sisters, Oregon on Rt. 126.
Central Oregon’s drier weather is a welcome change to the recent rain we have been having, and the sandy surfaces of Cline Butte was a nice contrast to the mud at Tillamook State Forest.
Cline Butte was a VERY well organized, and well signed area with plenty of amenities. Forest Management at TSF could learn a thing or two about how to properly run (and sign, and map, etc) an ORV area. We did not get lost once, due in large part to the awesome maps and very well signed network of trails.
After airing down, Jesse, Chris, Melanie and I chatted at Barr North staging area to decide what areas to hit. We warmed up in the open play area (which ended up a giant dump pit full of spent shells, glass, burned wood, etc) and quickly left, making our way to trail 34 – the most difficult trail in the park.
We decided to warm up on a couple of ledges on the outer rim of the open play area. With Chris’ expert spotting, both Jesse and I made it up some of the more technical spots.
Then we moved onto trail #34.
The nice part about this trail is that the difficulty seems to progress as you get further into the trail. The beginning sections are a bit boring, but soon you are encountering more ledges, loose rocks, and challenging terrain.
The sun came out and we broke for lunch about half way into the trail. Lunch was Tofurky sandwiches, Earth Balance popcorn and gatorades.
After our break, the wheeling became really rocky. Many obstacles had multiple options and bypasses.
Toward the end of the trail is a large ledge on the right side of the trail. There is an obvious route up the ledge between two harder options (the easy option is the one with the small pine tree in the center).
If we had more time, I would have attempted the more difficult option on this ledge, to the right of the option pictured above. To the left of above is the most (triple black IMO) difficult option which is probably not doable by very many Jeeps.
About a half mile after the ledge above, we met up with trail #37 which took us straight to the parking area to air up and cruise out.
Overall, Cline Butte was a great change of scenery from TSF. We were not really challenged to the max, but there were some spots that tested our skills. Unfortunately, this was the toughest trail here, so next time will be the same, or some of the simpler trails.
It looks like camping is permitted in the staging area.