Riverbend Park is a large, community park located right on the Deschutes River. A large lawn encircled with benches and trees provides a nice place to relax in the sunshine. River access allows people with paddleboards, tubes, kayaks and other river craft to get down to the water. A large sign by the river’s edge promotes best practices for safety on the river. Lots of birds call this place home, too. Watch for them in the trees, on the ground, and in the water. The Bend Parks and Rec office is located here and this park is often the site of large events and festivals.
Address: 799 SW Columbia Street
Pros: Easy access by car, walking path or river.
Cons: Very limited shade.
Key features: Visitors to Riverbend Park can play on land or in the water. The park has many benches and picnic tables as well as paved pathways, making it accessible to just about anyone. The park’s trails connect with the Deschutes River trail, making it a starting place, destination, or just a place to pass through en route to other areas in and around Bend. Community events like the Balloons Over Bend Children’s Festival take place in this park, so be prepared to share the trails and open spaces with other visitors. It is adjacent to the Old Mill Dog Park, where you can let your dogs off-leash to run around and be dogs.
What you’ll see and hear: Fleet-footed runners, chattering quail, stroller-pushing mamas, playful river babies.
Best use of the park: Doing cartwheels across the giant lawn.
Parking: Large paved parking lot, plus gravel lot at the neighboring dog park
Bike parking: Several bike racks
Fun fact: French fur traders named the Deschutes River after they observed its many whitewater rapids. “Rivi ère des Chutes” translates to “River of the Falls.”