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Big Pine Loop Hike

From Oregon Hikers Field Guide

At the Big Tree (Big Red), Big Pine Loop, LaPine State Park (bobcat)
Bend in the Deschutes, Big Pine Loop, LaPine State Park (bobcat)
Swimming otter, Cougar Woods Trail, LaPine State Park (bobcat)
Eroded bluffs, Deschutes River, Cougar Woods Trail, LaPine State Park (bobcat)
The Big Tree and Cougar Woods Loops in LaPine State Park (not a GPS Track) (bobcat) Courtesy: Google Maps
  • Start point: Big Pine TrailheadRoad.JPG
  • End Point: LaPine Day-use Trailhead
  • Trail Log:
  • Hike Type: Loop
  • Distance: 4.2 miles
  • Elevation gain: 180 feet
  • High Point: 4,235 feet
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Seasons: Spring through fall
  • Family Friendly: Yes
  • Backpackable: No
  • Crowded: No



The 2,300-acre LaPine State Park is a quiet oasis of ponderosa pine parkland south of Sunriver on the Deschutes River. The park has several loop trails that take in most of its features. The trails are little traveled except on busy summer weekends, and there is a good chance of seeing some of the local denizens, especially deer and elk. This double loop has minimal elevation gain and takes in one of the world’s tallest ponderosa pines as well as viewpoints of the Deschutes and the looping backwater called The Dead Slough.

From the north side of the parking area at the information kiosk, drop down the paved Big Pine Trail, a one-mile loop. Descend a bluff under stately ponderosa pines with a sparse undergrowth of bitterbrush and Idaho fescue. The paved trail ends at what was once the largest ponderosa pine in the world, an 8 ½-foot diameter, 29 foot in circumference, 500-year-old tree known affectionately as Big Red (There is a Pacific ponderosa, a different subspecies, which is the largest; that one resides in El Dorado County, California). Big Red moved down the ladder of big ponderosas in 2016, when it lost its top 40 feet. Behind the fenced area around the tree, come to the shore of the Deschutes River. Pick up a trail heading up to the right along the rim of a high bluff. Keep left at a junction and head along the edge of the bluff in ponderosa woods. At the park boundary fence, go right and take the trail back to the parking area.

To take the longer Cougar Woods Loop (3.2 miles), go left as you enter the parking area, and walk 40 yards to a gap in the fence. Head along an old road bed into the woods again. In 25 yards, come to a sign for the Cougar Woods Trail. Enter a dense lodgepole pine/ponderosa woodland, cross an old road bed, and continue meandering through a bitterbrush understory. Cross the paved park entrance road, and continue hiking under ponderosa and lodgepole pines. The trail begins to drop slightly, crossing a jeep track and winding down to the banks of the Deschutes. Keep left at a junction and head along a bluff above the river. Walk away from the river and then come back to its banks. Reach the LaPine Day-use Trailhead, with restrooms and picnic tables scattered about under tall ponderosas.

Walk across the picnic area, keeping the restrooms to your right and hike past a trail map. Rise up the slope and walk along a high bluff above the Deschutes. The trail then drops gradually to cross the park road and enter the Dead Slough Trailhead parking area. Go towards another trail sign here and pick up the old road bed behind it. To your left is an oxbow lake in the making, an old meander of the Deschutes known as The Dead Slough. The trail veers right off the road bed at a Cougar Woods sign and rises gently to the Big Pine Trailhead.

Fees, Regulations, etc.

  • Day-use open 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.
  • Dogs on leash


Trip Reports

Related Discussions / Q&A

Guidebooks that cover this destination

  • Bend, Overall by Scott Cook
  • Day Hiking: Bend and Central Oregon by Brittany Manwill
  • 100 Hikes in the Central Oregon Cascades by William L. Sullivan
  • Central Oregon: Walks, Hikes & Strolls for Mature Folks by Marsha Johnson
  • Oregon's Southern Cascades: Camping & Hiking by Tom Stienstra & Sean Patrick Hill
  • Pacific Northwest Hiking by Scott Leonard & Sean Patrick Hill
  • Trail Running: Bend and Central Oregon by Lucas Alberg
  • Oregon State Parks: A Complete Recreation Guide by Jan Bannan

More Links

Page Contributors

Oregon Hikers Field Guide is built as a collaborative effort by its user community. While we make every effort to fact-check, information found here should be considered anecdotal. You should cross-check against other references before planning a hike. Trail routing and conditions are subject to change. Please contact us if you notice errors on this page.

Hiking is a potentially risky activity, and the entire risk for users of this field guide is assumed by the user, and in no event shall Trailkeepers of Oregon be liable for any injury or damages suffered as a result of relying on content in this field guide. All content posted on the field guide becomes the property of Trailkeepers of Oregon, and may not be used without permission.