With 71 parks and 48 hiking trails, Bend is sort of the Mcdonalds of Nature. Easy, on every corner, and accessible to anyone for just about a buck. I know that’s a pretty bad analogy but hang with me. Offering effortless consumption of a variety of natural wonders, Shevlin Park is the Big Mac of the Bend park system. It’s large and in charge and just 4 miles from Downtown, I’m lovin’ it!
In just 5 years the park will celebrate it’s centennial, the towering Ponderosa’s that live there are more than twice that age now. They were only 15 years old when the land was first recorded by John C. Fremont on December 4th, 1843. The famed explorer notes a valley with spaces of open pines and scattered grass meadows in his diary. Fremont was traveling south to The Oregon Outback and Summer Lake having just completed work on The Oregon Trail. He was traveling at the time with a group of 25 men including the young Native American guide Billy Chinook.
The city of Bend incorporated in 1905 with just 300 citizens. The need for designated public spaces arose and in 1920 The Shevlin Hixon Logging Company donated 280 acres to the community. The site had been marred by large clear cuts and was generally an unappealing place to visit. It was the intention of the company, however, to provide a natural space. With the addition of an adjacent trout hatchery (Aspen Hall) in 1931 and nearly a decade of forest regrowth, the popularity of the park took off.
In 1971 The City Of Bend considered installing an amphitheater in the park, much to the obligation of concerned locals. The park’s historic Fremont Meadow was already heavily scarred from vehicle use and several other area parks had been hit hard by vandals. Conservation efforts increased enormously following the park’s purchase from the City of Bend by the newly established Parks Department.
44 Acres were added to the park in 2002. This area is called ‘The Shevlin Conservation Easement’ and features a paved parking lot and a wheelchair accessible viewing area. The old trout hatchery has been turned into a juvenile fishing pond where kids 17 and under can catch up to two trout a day.
The park is home to an extensive trail system that is accessible practically year round. The popular 5.5 mile Shevlin Loop trail offers a scenic trek along Tumalo Creek. The trail provides access to Mazrek and Phil’s Trail. This is also currently the only way to access Tumalo Falls.
To visit Shevlin Park head west out of Bend on Newport Avenue. Continue West through The Mt. Washington Roundabout 1.5 miles to the park.