It was a warm day, and a warm day calls for cooling off in the river. With so many of the parks on the river closed due to the river construction, it is hard to find a nice spot. When we arrived at Sawyer Park at 4pm, the park was already pretty busy. Anyone would keep in mind that the parking for this park can get dicey, when busy.
When you first arrived, you find some picnic tables, a porta-potty, and plenty of grass. There is also a rock wall with plenty of rocks for climbing on, on the right.
The right has multiple paths that lead you to spots that are perfect for picnicking and frolicking in the river. All the close spots were taken when we arrived. We had to walk for quite a few minutes before we finally found something. We were a little farther from the car that we would have liked, it was a great little, out of the way, spot. There were rocks that created a tiny, protected, pool.
One our way back, we stopped by one of the more popular “pools” in the park. Someone has created the perfect “kiddy” pool next to some swift rapids. It was taken by a family when we had arrived. I was happy to find it empty when we were walking back. When we got to check it out, near almost 6pm, the shade was covering the whole area. It was the perfect depth for young kids to enjoy the water in a safer pool.
In general, speaking as a lifelong Bendite, you must be careful when playing in the Deschutes. If you are going to let your kids swim into the center of the river, you will need to bring life jackets. And, on behalf of all, pleasure pack out what you bring with you.
I have walked the trails around Sawyer Park in the past. It’s beautiful to walk next to the river. I thoroughly enjoy walking this section of the Deschutes River trail. For the most part, it is an easy trail. there are some uphills, but nothing that should stop anyone looking for a beautiful nature walk.
Sawyer Park is lacking in many of the amenities you come to expect from the local parks. There is only one porta-potty. There is a water fountain nearby, before you cross the bridge. There is no playground, dog facilities, or large parking area. It is truly a “one trick pony.” Though, the trick of nature is an amazing trick.
(A scale of 1 to 5 where 1 is the least desirable and 5 is the most desirable)
Overall Score: 3.8
Shevlin Park is what I could call a “specialty park.” It is a river wonderland, with plenty of shoreline nooks to enjoy the river in. You also find access to the northern section of the Deschutes River Trail. You have to be careful when playing the river, even when using some of the man-made pools on the edge. Though, the river gives hours of the play, this park could be boring for anyone who doesn’t enjoy nature.