Hiking Otter Bench

The scenery at the bottom of the Crooked River Gorge is well worth the hike down on the Otter Bench trail system near Crooked River Ranch.

The Otter Bench Trail system features trails that are ideal for hiking in the late winter. Along the rugged Crooked River Gorge, the Opal Canyon Loop Trail offers some of the most breathtaking desert scenery in Central Oregon. The Pink Trail can be descended to reach the river at the bottom of the picturesque canyon. The trail system was completed and designated in 2010 by the Bureau of Land Management’s Prineville District.

Directions: Turn west on Lower Bridge Road, off U.S. Highway 97 just north of Terrebonne. Follow signs to Crooked River Ranch. To find the Otter Bench Trailhead, continue past the golf course to the end of the road, about 11 miles from Highway 97. Look for a trailhead sign and map. Parking is free.

Features: Dramatic desert scenery and cliff-side biking or hiking on singletrack along the Crooked River Gorge.

Distance: About 7 miles total

Rating: Easy to intermediate

Contact: BLM Prineville District, 541-416-6700

Reporter: 541-383-0318, mmorical@bendbulletin.com

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