The City of Prineville, with a population of approximately 9,000, is located about 35 minutes northeast of Bend and about 25 minutes east of Redmond. Prineville was established in 1868 and then incorporated in 1880, giving it the distinction of being the oldest city in Central Oregon. In 1911 when the railway was built heading south from the Columbia River and The Dalles they snubbed Prineville and bypassed the city. Prineville was forced to build their own railroad in 1917 to connect the city to the main railroad route. The City of Prineville still owns the railroad today, though instead of shipping timber they operate the Crooked River Dinner Train which features a simulated train robbery or mystery theater. Prineville’s primary wood industry past has faded and growth and revitalization have taken over. Many new buildings and homes are being built in Prineville along with plans for an 1800 acre golf resort and 70 acre commercial and retail development.
The City of Prineville
Undeservedly, Prineville doesn’t get as much recognition as Bend, Redmond, Sunriver, or Sisters. It may be because it isn’t located on a main highway and that it is located off the beaten track. However, Prineville is an attractive city with plenty of “small town” charm and some great recreational opportunities nearby. If you enjoy golfing, there is a public golf course in Prineville along with two private golf clubs. Just south of town is the Lower Crooked River which is not only one of the most beautiful river systems in Central Oregon, but it offers some of the best fly fishing spots in Oregon. The Prineville Reservoir and the Ochoco Reservoir offer great fishing, picnicking, and boating. Located about 30 minutes east of town, the Ochoco National Forest has some great areas for camping, horseback riding, hiking, and mountain biking.