There are a number of large destination resorts in central Oregon - with several others possibly to follow in the future as the economy continues to recover. All of them offer home sites, golf courses, and a slew of recreational amenities. Most offer vacation rentals, time shares, and overnight lodging. Each has its own identity, microclimate, and flavor. All are perfectly wonderful!
The 3 Rivers Recreation Area (el. 2,695'), not to be confused with Three Rivers South (near La Pine), is an unincorporated community on the southern side of the Metolius arm of Lake Billy Chinook. It shares the Jefferson County 97734 zip code with Culver and the smaller, unincorporated communities of Grandview and Opal City. The current 3 Rivers Recreation Area is a 4,000 acre gated community that dates back to the mid-1960s. There are approximately 625 property owners, of which about 90 live in the area year round. About one third of the area is common area for residents and guests. The development has a recreational zoning, but is not a resort in quite the same way as the other central Oregon resorts as the entire area is off-grid. There are no power lines or telephone lines nor is there a sewer system or community water system. Instead, home owners rely on solar panels, wind turbines, and generators for their electricity needs. A few have propane gas. For the most part, water is delivered (by truck) to individual cisterns, though some owners have elected to drill their own deep wells. TV and internet is by satellite dish. Phone service is cellular. Also unlike the other resorts, the rules & regulations governing home design are much more relaxed. Because of this, the homes vary greatly in size and construction. It is not uncommon for a large, million dollar home to have a manufactured home as a neighbor. The community has several notable amenities including a recreation hall, a volunteer fire department, marina, shooting range (home to the Big Canyon Gun Club), a 9-hole dry desert golf course, miles of ATV trails, and a 5,000 foot airstrip (2,500 feet paved). The "3 Rivers" in the name references the Metolius, Deschutes, and Crooked Rivers - all of which flow into Lake Billy Chinook.
Sunriver Resort (el. 4,164′) is a census-designated place and planned resort community located in the 97707 zip code west of HWY 97, seventeen miles south of Bend in the Deschutes National Forest and along a section of the Deschutes River that has been designated a National Wild & Scenic River. The 3,300 acre resort is located on the grounds of the former Camp Abbot, a World War II training facility which was started in 1942, but abandoned by 1944. Development of today's resort was begun in 1968. The community consists of condominiums, home sites, common areas, a commercial area called The Village At Sunriver, the Sunriver Resort Lodge (offering hotel rooms, banquet facilities, and a fine dining restaurant), Sunriver Woodlands Golf Course (a Robert Trent Jones, Jr. design), Sunriver Meadows Golf Course (a John Fought redesign), and the SHARC (Sunriver Homeowner's Aquatic and Recreation Center). The resort also maintains an airfield and hosts the Oregon Observatory at Sunriver. It features over 3,200 home sites and 1,000 condominiums.
Crosswater (el. 4,160') is a 600 acre gated community developed by Sunriver Resort Limited Partnership. Located immediately south of Sunriver in the unicorporated area known as Three Rivers South. This privately owned and operated golf & social club facility is technically separate from Sunriver. However, Crosswater maintains a relationship with both Sunriver Resort and neighboring Caldera Springs that allows owners & guests access to the golf courses of both of those resorts. Crosswater consists of 23 Osprey Pointe condominiums and 94 estate lots (2 consolidated for 92 total buildable) arranged around the 274 acre, 18-hole Crosswater Golf Course. This course, designed by Robert E. Cupp, crosses the Little Deschutes River seven times. The Crosswater Clubhouse was designed in the classic Northwest lodge style. Inside, visitors will find day locker facilities, the golf shop, an exclusive Resident Member Club with locker rooms, The Turn snack bar, and The Grille restaurant & lounge. Additional amenities include a heated swimming pool, spa, two tennis courts, 3.25 miles of paved walking/biking trails, a gated entry (staffed year-round), and a private security patrol. Overnight rentals are allowed in the 23 Osprey Pointe condos, but are prohibited in the larger estate homes.
Caldera Springs (el. 4,200') is a 400 acre gated community developed by Caldera Springs Real Estate LLC. It is located immediately south of Sunriver in the area known as Three Rivers South. Like Crosswater, it is technically separate from Sunriver, though it maintains a relationship with the resort which allows Caldera Springs owners & guests access to both the Sunriver Woodlands and Sunriver Meadows golf courses. Additionally, Caldera Springs owners & guests have access to the neighboring Crosswater Golf Course. Caldera Springs consists of 320 single-family home sites with lot sizes ranging from about a quarter of an acre to more than one acre, as well as 45 Caldera Cabins. Amenities include the 9-hole, Bob Cupp-designed Caldera Links & Golf Park, a playground, basketball court, tennis courts, Harper's Outpost picnic pavillion, Ponderosa & Sable Rock Parks, The Lake House (community center including Zeppa bistro), and The Quarry Pool & Fitness Center.
Black Butte Ranch (el. 3,350′) is located in the Deschutes National Forest just south of Black Butte off of the Santiam HWY (HWY 20) on the site of a former cattle ranch that dates to the late 1800s. The ranch was purchased in 1970 by Brooks Resources, which then developed it into a planned community. Today, the 1,800 acre resort is owned by the homeowners association and includes 1,251 home sites, 120 vacation rentals, two 18-hole championship golf courses (Robert Muir Graves-designed Big Meadow Golf Course as well as Glaze Meadow Golf Course, recently renovated by John Fought), 17 tennis courts, 5 swimming pools, 3 restaurants, a few shops, a general store, a full-service day spa, and stables area all connected by 33 miles of private roadways and 18 miles of bike paths. Black Butte Ranch shares the 97759 zip code with the neighboring town of Sisters.
Crooked River Ranch (el. 2,600′) covers 10,000 acres in Jefferson County's 97760 zip code between designated Wild & Scenic sections of the Deschutes and Crooked Rivers, just northwest of Terrebonne near Lake Billy Chinook. The ranch itself dates back to 1910, however it didn't become a destination resort until 1972. It was re-zoned from recreational to rural/residential in 1980. In 1992, the site was re-zoned once more, this time as a residential subdivision. The ranch consists of 2,646 privately owned lots and is the largest homeowner association in Oregon. Amenities include the Crooked River Ranch (CRR) Golf Course and Pro Shop, CRR RV Park, MacPherson Park (with pavilion for picnics, reunions, and parties), Dick Chandler Baseball Field, basketball court, tennis/pickleball courts, Lions’ Memorial Park, a swimming pool, disc golf course, horse riding arena, general store, saloon, senior center (located in the original main ranch house), many walking &hiking trails, and access to the Crooked River for fishing.
Eagle Crest Resort (el. 3,050’) is located in the 97756 zip code six miles west of Redmond and occupies roughly 1,700 acres on the northern and eastern slopes of the Cline Buttes. A portion of the first phase of the resort borders the Deschutes River. Established in the mid-1980's by the Jeld-Wen corporation, it includes the 10,000 square foot Eagle Crest Conference Center, 100-room the Inn at Eagle Crest, 80 condominium units, a retail village, and three 18-hole golf courses: The Resort Course, designed by Gene Mason, and The Ridge & Challenge Courses, both designed by John Thronson. Eagle Crest was developed in three distinct phases - each is served by a sports center - and has a number of unique neighborhoods. All told, the resort has over 1,850 homes, chalets, townhomes, and fractional (time share) residences.
You can find detailed summaries of each Eagle Crest neighborhood along with dedicated real estate searches of each at my other site, https://mitchd.bendsunriverhomesforsale.com/guide/eagle-crest-oregon-real-estate/.
Pronghorn Resort (el. 3,200’) occupies 640 acres of land between Bend and Redmond in the middle of surrounding Juniper forest. Master-planned for 450 homes and 280 nightly lodging units, the resort also includes a clubhouse, business center, several restaurants, fitness center, spa, pools, waterslide & hot tubs, tennis, pickle ball & basketball courts, and biking & walking paths all arranged around the 18-hole Jack Nicklaus-designed Signature Golf Course and 18-hole Tom Fazio-designed Championship Golf Course. Currently under construction is Huntington Lodge, a guest lodge that is set to debut summer 2017. Pronghorn is located 11 miles northeast of Bend and is part of Bend's 97701 zip code.
Brasada Ranch (el. 3,300’) is located in Crook County's 97753 zip code on the southwest slope of Powell Butte roughly midway between Bend and Prineville. Initially developed in 2005 by Jeld-Wen, the same company that oversaw the development of Eagle Crest, Brasada's 1,800 acres were master-planned for 750 home sites and 88 high-end cabins thoughtfully arranged around Brasada Canyons, a championship 18-hole golf course designed by Jim Hardy and Oregon PGA golfer Peter Jacobsen. The Ranch House contains 8 guest suites in addition to its restaurants. Other amenities include a meeting/conference center, a 17,000 square foot athletic center with indoor & outdoor pools, a spa, one of the largest equestrian centers in the area, and two ponds stocked with catch-and-release trout where guests can learn and practice the finer points of fly fishing. Brasada Ranch was the first newly constructed destination resort in the U.S. to receive LEED Gold Certification from the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design.
Tetherow (el. 3,790') is located on Bend's west side (97702 code) between NW Skyliners Road and Century Drive (aka The Cascade Lakes National Scenic Byway). It directly abuts the Deschutes National Forest to the west and the gated community of Broken Top to the east. The resort's 700 acres were master-planned to include a luxury hotel with spa, 181 townhomes, and 408 single-family lots - all arranged around an 18-hole links-style golf course designed by David McLay Kidd.
Remington Ranch and Thornburgh Resort were/are large, master-planned resort communities near Redmond that currently reside in varying states of development limbo thanks in part to the 2008 recession. Neither of them are currently functioning communities, though that could change as the economy continues to improve.
Remington Ranch (el. 3,000') was planned for three golf courses, several restaurants, 731 homes and 400 overnight units on 2,077 acres north of HWY 126 (Ochoco HWY) in western Crook County near the unincorporated community of Powell Butte (97753 zip code). The most recent news I've read had the developers filing for Chapter 11 protection, but implied that some sort of development would likely continue. As of Spring 2016, the sales office is the only major structure to have been built on site, though initial work on the golf courses and the interior roads can be seen on google maps and google earth. See it also on wikimapia.
Thornburgh Resort (el. 3,200') or Tribute (the website uses both names) was/is to occupy 1,300 acres around the southern and western slopes of the Cline Buttes near Eagle Crest. The resort was/is planned for 950 homes and 475 nightly rental units along with two 18-hole golf courses - one designed by Ben Crenshaw & Bill Coore and one designed by Arnold Palmer. As far as I'm aware, the only structure to have been built to date is the Odin Falls Lodge - which is on a separate site a few miles north of the main resort overlooking the Deschutes River. Like its neighbor, Eagle Crest, Thornburgh/Tribute would be part of Redmond's 97756 zip code. A 2014 article in the Bend Bulletin implied that development for the resort was still in progress, however a follow-up article in 2015 revealed some setbacks. See it on wikimapia.
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