Terrebonne, Central Oregon – For the Adventurous and the Hungry
By Amy Perez
Central Oregon is host to many natural splendors that can keep thrill seekers busy year round. Whether you are skiing Mt. Bachelor, riding rapids on the beautiful Deschutes Riveror climbing the sheer inclines in Smith Rock State Park, you will surely be enamored by Central Oregon and all it has to offer.
This region is also home to some of the most inspired culinary artists on the West Coast. The High Desert is drawing people from all over the nation who are relocating to make “quality of life” a priority and to take advantage of all the great outdoor activities and fine cuisine.
Daytime Adventure in Smith Rock State Park
Tucked along the Crooked River, approximately 25 miles north of Central Oregon’s hub – Bend, is the remarkable Smith Rock State Park with enough to see and do for any outdoor enthusiast. It is a geologic wonderland of majestic rock spires that ascend above the winding Crooked River. Turn off Highway 97 at the small ranching town of Terrebonne towards Smith Rock and cruise along the juniper lined road where you will pass fields with cows, lamas and prize horses.
Apart from the grazing stallions and bulls you will pass the corn stalk MAiZE and Central Oregon Pumpkin (mid-September thru October 31) which your kids will love. One more must do on your way to Smith Rock is a stop at the quaint Rockhard/Juniper Junction store that serves a mean home-made Huckleberry Ice Cream!
Rock Climbers Heaven
Steep walls of smooth rock make Smith Rock an internationally renowned destination for rock climbing. Daredevil climbers scale awesome heights with just their fingertips, toes and cable systems securing them to the face of the wall. It is a sight to behold, enough to give goose-bumps to the spectators below. There are hundreds of routes for adventurous professional and amateur climbers to choose
Popular inclines hail names such as Christian Brothers, the Dihedrals, and Morning Glory Wall. The wondrous and multicolored formations are composed of rock known as “welded tuff” which is volcanic ash that erupted under conditions of extreme heat and pressure.
The dramatic appearance of the park area is a testament to the combined strength of volcanic activity and the erosive power of the ancestral Crooked River which carved its way through the volcanic rock to produce the impressive rock formations as we see them today. Whether or not you are interested in the geological history, you will marvel at its outcome.
Smith Rock State Park
Smith Rock is a treat for all who want a time out in nature at its very best. Hiking, mountain biking, horse-back riding, bird-watching, dog-walking, picnicking, camping and simple sightseeing are equally popular, thus ranking Smith Rock among the top 2% of visited Oregon State Parks for the mere cost of $3 (day pass) or $4 (overnight pass).
Check out Smith Rock at for seasonal events and guided tours. Try to plan your activities for early morning or late afternoon to avoid the summer heat (100+ degrees) and bring plenty of water!
Armed with your gear, make your way down the steep foot path which offers a phenomenal panorama of the park. This leads to an extensive trail network of several miles of developed trails.
One path guides you along the gently rolling rivers edge and passes by many climbing hot spots. Or, for a more challenging hike, wind your way up to Misery Rock where you will be rewarded with a great view. Keep your eye out for the abundant wildlife including deer, nesting geese along the river, and the variety of birds that nest on the ledges of the rocks.
Terrebonne Depot restaurant. Dining – Central Oregon Style
What else could add to a day spent in one of Central Oregon’s most scenic areas?
The answer lies on the road to Smith Rock State Park. Terrebonne Depot Food +
Drink (¼ mile east of Hwy 97) is housed in a converted century old train depot with friendly service and delicious New American cuisine with a unique seasonal menu that showcases the wonderful variety of locally grown foods found in the Cascade region.
On the menu are fantastic fish tacos, fresh tomato basil soup and original gourmet (and down home) hamburgers. Specialized lists of wine, beer and cocktails compliment the superb food. Ian and Krisitn Yurdin, owners of this fine establishment, made frequent visits to Smith Rock and fell in love with Central Oregon.
Making a move for the better, they relocated from Portland to Bend. Kristin, formerly a doctor, radically switched gears by going to culinary school to explore her passion for great food.
In 2005, fueled by inspiration, they took on the complex project of carefully renovating the depot which had been abandoned for some 50 years into a contemporary and comfortable restaurant.
Local artisans were contracted to assist with the renovation and build the sleek wood bar and table tops. Materials from the original structure were re-used wherever possible.
The Yurdin’s believed that the immediate area was in dire need of a special restaurant for people to enjoy exceptional food in a distinctive environment. They turned the abandoned station into a much needed re-fueling spot.
This is living – Central Oregon Style!
Of utmost importance at Terrebonne Depot is simplicity and freshness, reflecting a truly Mediterranean approach to cooking.
The food’s ingredients are masterfully combined to create delicious meals such as wonderfully prepared seafood, an impressive variety of rich pasta dishes, fresh vegetarian entrees and meals with a Greek influence (pita sandwiches and stuffed triangles with spinach).
If you just burned some serious calories (or not) playing in Smith Rock then don’t miss out on the outstanding home-made desserts. Terrebonne Depot also offers a great picnic packed to go with sandwiches and salads that come with a trail map highlighting the most scenic spots to enjoy your meal. Prices are very reasonable; $7-11 for most items and $19.95 at the top of the scale.
Oversized windows and a spacious deck provide impressive views of Smith Rock and the Cascade Mountains. The relaxing deck is the perfect locale to cool down after (or before) a jaunt into Smith Rock State Park. Treat yourself to the refreshing signature house cocktail of Absolut vodka, basil and lime juice while enjoying the view and weekly live music.
Located in Terrebonne 1/4 mile east of highway 97 (towards Smith Rock State Park). 400 NW Smith Rock Way. For more information call 541-548-5030 or visit www.terrebonnedepot.com
Amy Perez is an internationally published freelance writer who is always in search of the next adventure. She lives in Oregon.
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