Published with Bend Magazine on March 7, 2019
Written by Kody Osborne
Foley Waters Trail is a moderate hike that is great for families in the spring who want to find great sightings of wildlife.
If you’re looking for a true high desert experience, take the short drive to Crooked River Ranch, a sprawling rural residential community perched on an elevated peninsula between the Deschutes and Crooked rivers. There’s plenty to see here, but you have to know where to look. For those willing to search, no less than half a dozen spectacular hikes await.
A hike less traveled is the Foley Waters Trailhead, one of several hikes that leads trekkers deep into the belly of a river gorge carved out of rock that tells the dramatic geologic history of our region. Located just south of the ever-popular Steelhead Falls Trailhead, this popular fly fishing destination also makes a fantastic scenic tour.
If you stick to the Foley Waters Trailhead, you will travel about one-and-a-half miles. But if you are looking to explore further, there are miles and miles of additional pathways leading to rocky crevices and breathtaking views.
Although these hikes are familiar for even the novice hiker amongst us, I encourage you to revisit them annually, if not seasonally. Try see if you can see new things with fresh eyes. Consider this hike through the eyes of a naturalist. Read the landscape, study the wildlife and look for change. And always, enjoy your time in nature.
SPRING WILDLIFE SCAVENGER HUNT
During your river canyon exploration, see if you can find these four common sights:
Horsetail: Named for its obvious likeness to a certain mammal’s tail, this plant can be found in riparian areas among the river shoreline.
Bald Eagle: The trick to this commonly found raptor is in the fact that it doesn’t get it’s full-white plumed head until maturity of near five years of age.
Golden Stonefly: The spring stonefly hatch is a legendary event on the lower Deschutes River when these oversized insects take clumsily to the air, setting off a trout feeding frenzy.
Big Sagebrush: Widespread in the high desert region, and highly fragrant in spring bloom.