Photo Credit: Stacie Muller
My name is Missie Wikler and I am a Certified Forest Therapy Guide with The Association of Nature and Forest Therapy and a Yoga Alliance Certified RYT200 yoga instructor. I started r'oming yoga to guide others in deepening connections with the outdoors, while finding a break from the stresses of our busy modern day lives. I live in beautiful Bend Oregon, the perfect spot to settle in to the forest, soak it all in, and set your soul free.
Forest bathing, also known as Shinrin-yoku, is a practice that involves immersing oneself in nature and taking in the atmosphere to promote relaxation and well-being. Central Oregon is known for its vast and beautiful natural landscapes that make it an excellent destination for forest bathing. These are some of my favorite spring forest bathing spots which are in the lower elevation areas and accessible as the snow is melting away in the higher elevations!
Shevlin Park: Located in Bend, Shevlin Park has over 1000 acres of forest, making it an ideal spot for forest bathing. The park has several trails to explore, including Tumalo Creek Trail and Shevlin Loop Trail. There is a great diversity of plant life and many old growth ponderosas making this an ideal place to soak it all in.
Smith Rock State Park: This state park is known for its towering rock formations and is located in Terrebonne. Smith Rock has several trails, including the River Trail and the Misery Ridge Trail, which provide stunning views of the surrounding forest.
Deschutes River Trail: The river trail is less than 20 minutes from downtown Bend. This trail has several parking areas where you can access the trail, all offering something a little different. My favorite stop is Lava Island. It is less crowded than the others and offers stunning river and lava flow views.
Tumalo Creek Trail: Located just outside of Bend, The Tumalo Creek Trail is a popular destination for hiking and forest bathing. The trail runs along the Creek and can be taken all the way to the falls. ***Locals Tip*** - Go before the gate opens to avoid crowds. Gate typically opens in mid-late May, but always depends on the snowmelt.
Newberry National Volcanic Monument: This monument is located in the Deschutes National Forest and is home to several hiking trails that offer stunning views of the surrounding forest and volcanic landscapes.
These lower elevation sites are just a few of the many places in Central Oregon where you can practice forest bathing in the spring. Whether you're looking for a peaceful hike through the woods or a more challenging trail with stunning views, there is a place for everyone to find their connection with the more than human world.