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24127
Oregon

Bike, Hike & Raft: Exploring Oregon’s Central Cascades

Immerse yourself in the nation’s multisport capital as you hike, bike and whitewater raft through Central Oregon’s Cascade Mountains, studying local geology and ecology along the way.
Program No. 24127RJ
Length
7 days
Starts at
1,999
Oregon

Bike, Hike & Raft: Exploring Oregon’s Central Cascades

Immerse yourself in the nation’s multisport capital as you hike, bike and whitewater raft through Central Oregon’s Cascade Mountains, studying local geology and ecology along the way.
Length
7 days
Starts at
1,999
Program No. 24127 RJ
climate
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7 days
6 nights
17 meals
6B 5L 6D
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At a Glance

Carved by ancient volcanic activity, the 700 miles of the Cascade Mountain range are known throughout the nation as a mecca for outdoor adventures. From the clear-flowing rivers along wooded trails to the sweeping mountaintop views, this region has seemingly endless opportunities for exploring the local geology and immersing yourself in nature’s bounty. Alongside experts, experience central Oregon from many different perspectives as you whitewater raft the pristine McKenzie River, bike through remote pine forests and hike along the picturesque mountainside to connect with the wonders of the great outdoors.
Small Group
Small Group
Love to learn and explore in a small-group setting? These adventures offer small, personal experiences with groups of 10 to 24 participants.

Best of all, you'll ...

  • Experience three different whitewater rafting excursions while searching for local wildlife such as elk, otters and bald eagles.
  • Hike beside meadows on the Cone & Iron Mountain Trail, and unwind from your adventure in the natural hot springs back at your lodge.
  • Ride your bike past the towering pine trees that line Peterson Ridge Trail and study the local ecology with a nature expert.
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7 days
6 nights
17 meals
6 B 5 L 6 D
DAY
1
Check-in, Registration, Orientation, Welcome Dinner
Belknap Hot Springs Resort
D
Belknap Hot Springs, Lodge & Gardens

Activity note: Getting in/out of vans; driving 55 miles, approximately 1 hour to resort.

Afternoon: We will meet in the lobby of the GuestHouse Inn at 1:00 p.m. Orientation: 1:00 p.m. The Group Leader will greet everyone and lead introductions. We will review the up-to-date program schedule, discuss roles and responsibilities, logistics, safety guidelines, emergency procedures, and answer questions. Periods in the schedule designated as “Free time” and “At leisure” offer opportunities to do what you like and make your experience even more meaningful and memorable according to your personal preferences. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions. Program activities, schedules, personnel, and indicated distances or times may change due to local circumstances/conditions. In the event of changes, we will alert you as quickly as possible. Thank you for your understanding.

Dinner: In the Great Room at Belknap Lodge, following an overview of the week and a short education presentation on the general geology and geography of the Pacific Northwest, dinner (prepared by Oregon River Experiences staff) will be served in the evening. Wine, juice, coffee, tea, water included.

Evening: At leisure. You might like to explore the Belknap Hot Springs grounds or take a soak in the hot springs pool.

DAY
2
Rafting the North Santiam River
North Santiam River Rafting
B,L,D
Belknap Hot Springs, Lodge & Gardens

Activity note: Getting in/out of vans; driving 68 miles, approximately 1 hour. Rafting a total distance of 14 miles throughout the day on class II+ river; rapids are spaced out with flat stretches in between.

Breakfast: At the lodge, we'll select from a breakfast buffet freshly prepared by ORE staff; beverage choices of juice, coffee, tea, water.

Morning: We'll board vans and take a scenic drive over the Santiam Pass to our starting location, Packsaddle Park. As we ride, we'll pass the remote Mt. Jefferson, one of the Cascade Volcanoes, standing at just over 10,500 feet. Upon arrival, we'll begin an all-day trip rafting the class II+ North Santiam River. As we raft, we'll have the chance of seeing ospreys, bald eagles, mink, and other wildlife.

Lunch: A deli-style buffet picnic lunch spread will be set up riverside in the town of Mill City. Restrooms are available.

Afternoon: We will wrap up the rafting trip at Santiam State Park and change into dry clothes. We'll return to Belknap with some time to soak in the hot springs, explore the walking trails, or simply relax by the river.

Dinner: At the resort. As we dine, we'll learn about Opal Creek and the logging history of the Santiam area from Oregon River Experiences staff.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
3
Biking in Peterson Ridge, Sisters-OR
Peterson Ridge Biking/Sisters
B,L,D
Belknap Hot Springs, Lodge & Gardens

Activity note: Getting in/out of vans; driving about 48 miles, approximately 1 hour to Sisters. Biking depending on personal choice on mostly dirt single track and some field service roads; generally easy trail with some moderately difficult sections; some elevation gain in southern portion. Watch out for walkers, joggers, and hikers. Extent and duration of walking and other activities during independent exploration according to personal choice.

Breakfast: At the resort.

Morning: We will board the vans and head to the town of Sisters, Oregon, where we'll meet experts from Cog Wild, a biking expedition company, who will be leading today's field trip. After orientation and outfitting, we'll select from a variety of biking choices on the Peterson Ridge Trail system. First built out in 1989 and expanded in 2008, the network now includes 25 miles of trails.

Lunch: After the ride, we'll sit down for a deli-style buffet picnic lunch spread.

Afternoon: After lunch, we'll have the afternoon to independently explore the quaint Old West town of Sisters, the "Gateway to the Cascades." Named for the nearby Three Sisters mountains, the town overcame a loss of industry in the 20th century by looking back to its early history; though few of the original buildings are still standing, all storefronts are required to have facades in the style of the 1880s. Now, more than 2,000 people reside here, and the town is popular with artists, crafters, and nature lovers. We'll then regroup and return to the resort.

Dinner: At the resort. Tonight we'll hear from Oregon River Experiences staff about how volcanic activity has shaped the Central Cascades.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
4
Rafting the Lower McKenzie River
McKenzie River Rafting
B,L,D
Belknap Hot Springs, Lodge & Gardens

Activity note: Getting in/out of vans. Rafting about 12 miles throughout the day.

Breakfast: At the resort.

Morning: We'll head out to the Lower McKenzie River for a day of rafting led by Oregon River Experiences. The lower McKenzie is wider and more open than the upper section; it offers chances to see salmon in the calm, wide sections of river.

Lunch: During the day, we will stop at a day use site for a freshly prepared deli-style lunch buffet.

Afternoon: We'll continue downriver to the takeout near the town of Vida, then return to Belknap with some time to ourselves before dinner.

Dinner: At the resort. Tonight, Oregon River Experiences staff will tell us about the history of the McKenzie River and its native fish.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
5
Hiking Iron Mountain & Cone Peak Loops
Iron/Cone Mountain Hike
B,L,D
Belknap Hot Springs, Lodge & Gardens

Activity note: Getting in/out of vans; driving about 28 miles, approximately 40 minutes. Hiking 3 or 6.5 miles throughout the day according to personal choice; uneven/steep terrain, switchbacks, loose gravel, sticks/branches; elevation gain of up to 1,700 feet. Climbing steps to reach upper level of viewing platform at summit.

Breakfast: At the resort. Before departing, we'll assemble sack lunches to have on the trail.

Morning: We'll board the vans and head to Iron Mountain & Cone Peak Loops, where we'll pick between 3- and 6.5-mile trails. These trails can climb 1,700 feet through forested hillsides, extinct volcanic peaks, and open meadows depending on which you choose to take. Depending on the time of year, the wildflowers along the flanks of Cone Peak contain many varieties like larkspur, paintbrush, and stonecrop.

Lunch: During the day, we'll have the sack lunches we made in the morning.

Afternoon: During the day, we'll learn from Oregon River Experiences staff about the creation of the Cascades and nearby Tombstone Prairie. At the conclusion of our hike, we'll reach the 5,400-foot summit of Iron Mountain where we'll have the opportunity to enjoy 360-degree views from a bi-level platform, the site of which once served as a fire lookout tower. We'll then return to the vans for the ride back to the resort.

Dinner: At the resort.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
6
Rafting the Upper McKenzie River
McKenzie River Rafting
B,L,D
Belknap Hot Springs, Lodge & Gardens

Activity note: Getting in/out of vans. Rafting 15 miles throughout the day.

Breakfast: At the resort.

Morning: With our starting location much closer today, we'll take advantage of a later start in the morning than usual. The upper section of the McKenzie offers swift moving clear water with no major rapids but consistent class II+ rapids, as well as the chance to spot osprey as well as mountain bikers on nearby trails. The wooded banks and exciting water make this a memorable day.

Lunch: During the day, we will stop at a day use site for a freshly prepared deli-style lunch buffet.

Afternoon: We'll complete our rafting trip before returning to the resort with some time to do what we like before dinner.

Dinner: At the resort. Share favorite experiences with fellow Road Scholars during our farewell dinner.

Evening: At leisure. Prepare for check-out and departure in the morning.

DAY
7
Transfer to Springfield, Program Concludes
Belknap Hot Springs Resort
B

Activity note: Getting in/out of vans; driving about 58 miles, approximately 1 hour to Springfield.

Breakfast: At the resort.

Morning: We'll check out of the resort and board the vans for a 10:00 a.m. departure to Springfield. We expect to arrive by 11:30 a.m. This concludes our program. If you are returning home, safe travels. If you are staying on independently, have a wonderful time. If you are transferring to another Road Scholar program, detailed instructions are included in your Information Packet for that program. We hope you enjoy Road Scholar learning adventures and look forward to having you on rewarding programs in the future. Don’t forget to join our Facebook page and follow us on Instagram. Best wishes for all your journeys!






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