Juniper Park has been a staple in my life given the times I found myself lounging on its grass, having a picnic before swimming or breaking my wrist playing kickball there in the 5th grade. Despite all that, I still love finding a nice shady spot under the boughs of one of the many ponderosas then relaxing my day away.

Whether you too need a place to relax under a tree, have the kids run off some steam or are just looking for a place to hang out before a swim lesson, Juniper Park has it.

The 22.3-acre park managed by Bend Park and Recreation recently got some updates in the playground and parking department. Notoriously, parking in the area was a premium due to the fact that it nearly completely surrounds Juniper Swim & Fitness Center. But with a new access point/parking area at Sixth Street, the demand seems to have eased slightly, or at least it appeared that way on my last visit to the park one Tuesday evening recently.

It also got a new bathroom, accessible pathway and a large shade structure closer to the playground for kids and their guardians to stay cool throughout the summer. But it’s the expansive lawns that really make the park shine.

Large swaths of green are broken up by gentle paths and towering ponderosa pine trees. Many of the trees are big enough to strap your hammock to. As per the park district guidelines that they (and slacklines) only be used on trees measuring greater than 18 inches in diameter and the line is padded around the tree’s trunk. Never anchor to anything other than a tree. You can read more about the guidelines at bendparksandrec.org.

Getting there: Juniper Park is located at 800 NE Sixth St., Bend.

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Reporter: 541-383-0304,

mwhittle@bendbulletin.com

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