Sun-Lava Trail


4 Reviews

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Sun-Lava Trail Facts

States: Oregon
Counties: Deschutes
Length: 5.6 miles
Trail end points: Lava Lands Visitor Center and E Cascade Rd. (Sunriver)
Trail surfaces: Asphalt, Boardwalk
Trail category: Greenway/Non-RT
ID: 10971328

Sun-Lava Trail Description

Opened in 2014, the Sun-Lava Trail traverses a beautiful stretch of scenic Oregon forest between the Lava Lands Visitor Center and the Sunriver Resort. The paved trail runs for over five miles, allowing cyclists and pedestrians to get outdoors and explore this pristine environment, located just a short drive south from the community of Bend.

As its name suggests, the land that houses the trail has been shaped by millennia of volcanic activity, with the Newberry National Volcanic Monument and the Lava Butte Cinder Cone providing amazing scenery just north of the trail. Trail users should be prepared for some inclines and declines along the way due to the rolling landscape; right near where the trail crosses over the railroad tracks, a short spur leads off from the main trail to head north to Benham Falls, a lovely spot along the Deschutes River - a stretch of boardwalk allows you to cross over the river and continue along the unpaved Deschutes River Trail from there.

On the western end of the trail, the path comes to an end at the outskirts of the sprawling Sunriver resort community, a popular destination for winter and summer outdoor fun. Trail users can continue on paved trails through the area thanks to the Sunriver Bike Path, which provides convenient off-road access to various sites in Sunriver. With its incredible blend of gorgeous scenery and access to a number of popular locales within the Deschutes National Forest, the Sun-Lava Trail has quickly become one of the premier ways of experiencing the area's natural beauty, and the Forest Service is already working on plans to extend the trail north towards Bend.

Parking and Trail Access

Parking is available at the Lava Lands Visitor Center on the eastern end of the trail, located right off of Highway 97. On the western end of the trail in Sunriver, there is a small trailhead with parking located on Forest Service Road 600, just north of where the trail ends at East Cascade Road. Parking is also available along the trail at the Benham Falls Day Use Area, located at the end of Forest Service Road 9702.

Sun-Lava Trail Reviews

Great Out/Back

Like previously mentioned, we started at the Sunriver trailhead. This put the steepest grade the last 2 miles up to Lava Butte. We also then rode the Benham Falls trail and some paths in Sunriver for a total of almost 20 miles. Despite other reviewers remarks and a sign at Sunriver trailhead we past several ebikers….all apparently originating from Sunriver (as we saw some of the later in Sunriver)

Great trail; e-bikes prohibited

This is a beautiful trail with access to the Lava Lands Visitor Center at the east end and Benham Falls at the west end. Also connects to the pathways in the Sunriver Community. Since this trail is located on U.S. Forest Service lands, e-bikes are prohibited by default. The local manager of this USFS unit has authority to allow e-bikes, but currently has not done so, to the best of my knowledge.

Peaceful ride & great scenery

My wife and I, along with our 4 month old labradoodle, did this ride and are grateful we took Diane's advice from her prior post. Start in Sunriver and ride up the hill to the Lava Lands visitor center as Diane posted. Our puppy was able to trot along side my wife's recumbent trike for the first 2.5 miles. Afterwards, he rode comfortably in our dog trailer. The trail is plenty wide and well maintained. There are mile markers throughout and great signage to ensure the rider is heading the correct direction. There are pullouts if needed. No water or restroom stops until you make it to the Lava Lands visitor center. None at the Sunriver location. The Lava Lands Park Ranger was kind enough to allow my wife to stay on her bike due to her disability. This kind gestured allowed us to check out one of the walking trails. There is also a trail that leads to a waterfall and one that leads to the top of the Lava dome. We highly suggest taking the time to explore this bike trail and the many walking trails at the top.

Enjoyable ride through forest land

We started the ride at the Lava Visitors Center and rode to Sunriver. The trail in this direction is slightly downhill. The return ride is, of course, slightly uphill. If you are riding with children or novice riders of any age, you may want to start at Sunriver. It’s always more fun to downhill at the end of the ride!

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