We took a last minute family outing to Bend over the weekend. We knew the trip was going  to be a quick one, so we decided on 3 main places we really wanted to explore in Bend.

The Painted Hills

Smith Rock

Tumalo Falls


we spent the first night in Prineville, a city just a tad further than Bend. We wanted to stay in Prineville because it was only about 45 minutes away from the Painted Hills, rather than an hour and 45 minutes from Bend. The drive was really long going all the way to Prineville… but it made it worth it the next day!


We headed out to The Painted Hills early in the morning to spend plenty of time exploring the entire area before heading off to Smith Rock.



Our next stop was to Smith Rock State Park


From the Painted Hills to Smith Rock, you drive the 45 minutes back to Prineville and then went towards Redmond/Terrebonne for another 45 minutes or so.


Smith Rock really blew us away! I don’t think either of us were expecting it to be as grand as it was. Smith Rock was packed with hikers and rock climbers. It was really fun to watch the rock climbers… especially after spending time at the Rogue Rock Gym.


I will say this though, it was slightly doable/hike-able with small children. We made it MAYBE 1 quarter of the way up Smith Rock. I just didn’t feel comfortable having a couple toddlers running around steep cliffs. But, we had a great time walking on the path along the side of the river.


That being said, we still explored around Smith Rock for hours!


We would LOVE to come back and really do the rough hiking in about 7 or so years when our youngest is at least 9.


We spent our second night right IN Bend. After Smith Rock, the drive back into Bend was only about 35 minutes. We had spent so much time at Smith Rock, that by the time we arrived into Bend, checked into our Hotel and cleaned off the inch thick dusty dirt off of us, it was really late. We grabbed a quick bite to eat and took our food to Farewell Bend Park.

Our last stop was Tumalo Falls


This is just a short drive outside Bend, and it is the easiest of hikes! You literally drive RIGHT up to the waterfall, get out and walk up to the look out area. There is also a path that leads right to the top of the waterfall.


It was slightly rainy, and we’d read that there was a trail that leads behind the waterfalls, but it was pretty damp, muddy, and slippery… so we decided against it (again, maybe more fun in about 7 years ;))


Please comment below and let us know your favorite places to visit around Bend! We wished we could have stayed for at least a week, and really explored more of the area. Bend was absolutely beautiful and so different from Southern Oregon & the Portland area!

If you’d like to see more photos of each place visited, click on The Painted Hills, Smith Rock, & Tumalo Falls

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