Exploring China Hat Road

⚠️ Update 2024 —
This area has changed since our original post in September 2014, particularly the section nearest Bend. Unfortunately, the homeless in old, dilapidated RVs now have illegal encampments in the China Hat Road area. Lots of trash, and possibly a more significant risk of crime. We don't recommend dispersed camping here, and beware of your surroundings when hiking. It's a shame how they are trashing an area that was once quite scenic.

Early Thursday afternoon on September 5, 2014, we decided to hop into the car and do a little auto touring to see what we could find. We planned to take China Hat Road, from Bend, into Deschutes National Forest's eastern side.

This road quickly became an unpaved road that went from an open high desert into a thick pine forest and back to a high desert. Late in the afternoon, we arrived at Fort Rock State Natural Area. As we approached from the north, this old tuff ring looked like a large fort sitting on the high desert floor.

Viewing from the south, the remains of the tuff ring became obvious. Walking the trail around the inside of the tuff ring allowed us to stretch our legs before heading back to Bend. It was fun to be back exploring again!

Map that was captured by our new Spot Gen3.

The homeless encampments along China Hat Road south of Bend, Oregon have become an increasingly pressing issue for the local community. These camps, located on Deschutes National Forest land, have raised concerns about fire danger, environmental damage, and the overall wellbeing of those living there.

Recent reports indicate that the number of homeless individuals in the area has continued to grow, with one long-time Bend resident even citing the worsening situation as a key reason for leaving the state. Local officials and residents have been searching for solutions to address this complex problem.

One positive development is that the upcoming reconstruction of 3.5 miles of China Hat Road will not require the removal of the existing homeless encampments, according to the U.S. Forest Service. This provides a window of opportunity to explore more compassionate and effective approaches to supporting the homeless population in this area.

Potential Solutions

  • Expanding access to temporary and transitional housing: Working with local nonprofits and government agencies to create more shelter options and pathways to permanent housing for those living on China Hat Road.
  • Increasing social services and outreach: Deploying specialized teams to connect the homeless with mental health resources, addiction treatment, job training, and other critical support services.
  • Improving fire prevention and environmental protection: Collaborating with the Forest Service to implement fire-safe practices, waste management, and ecological restoration efforts in the encampment areas.
  • Engaging the broader community: Encouraging volunteerism, donations, and advocacy to supplement the efforts of local authorities and service providers.

By taking a comprehensive, compassionate, and collaborative approach, the Bend community can work to address the pressing issues surrounding the homeless encampments on China Hat Road while also supporting the wellbeing of its most vulnerable residents.

Any comments, questions, etc? Contact us.

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