Run Oregon loves running – that’s no surprise. But we also love the Pacific Northwest and all that it has to offer. Running is a part of us, but it does not fully define us. In our new “Make a Day of It” feature, we aim to showcase some great local non-running events and highlight where to run and how to make the most of your experience! My family and I spent Labor Day Weekend 2019 in Central Oregon and checked out the Spoke’n Hostel in the small town of Mitchell.
When I found myself planning a Central Oregon trip over Labor Day again this year, I (obviously) looked into what races may be an option. As always, the Sunriver Half is a staple for me, but I had forgotten that the Painted Hills Half Marathon is also the same weekend. I had looked into it last year, but since the Sunriver 10k is on Saturday (the half is on Sunday), and we had to leave early the following morning, it conflicted with the Saturday Painted Hills event. However, my schedule just seemed to click this year and I went into planning as to what it would look like to attend both.
The city of Mitchell is pretty isolated. It’s a good 90 minutes from Bend and some stretches of road on Highway 26, while beautiful, can get a little windy en route to town. While I had initial plans to wake up and leave super early to make it time for the 7am start, I started to get a little worried about a dark, groggy drive on wildlife-possible roads . It just seemed like perhaps not the greatest idea (in fact, on the way back to Sunriver there was a totaled car on the side of the road due to a recently hit GIANT deer). When I noticed that the Spoke’n Hostel was the location of the packet pick-up, and that the owner is also the RD of this race, I felt that this would be a great to come over the night before and enjoy a good night’s rest without worrying about a rough morning.
Our Room (well, our bed):
I’ll be honest – until recently checking into the Spoke’n Hostel, I had never been in such a lodging location. Hearing the word “hostel” only has my mind going to horror-movies and stopovers for college graduates “backpacking Europe” on a budget. Spoke’n Hostel took my preconceived notions and blew them out of the water.
I wasn’t there too long as I arrived late and the race was early the next morning. As there is no “staff” there after 7pm, I was given a code to enter the back and easily found my bed by phone light. There were a few fellow travelers who were on their computers when I arrived just after 10pm, but everyone was quiet and courteous for those who wanted sleep. There is plenty of space to keep your things, either on the top bunk, under your bed, or in the common space. There were more than a few bikes laying about by the cyclists who were tackling the rural outback the next day.
While this hostel has some semi-private rooms, the majority of the beds are twin beds in their main room. For some, a bunch of bunk-beds in a shared sleeping space may sound a little rustic, but I can ensure you that a ton of thought has gone into this. The beds themselves fit into the backcountry ambiance and the beautiful frames are handmade from local Blue Pine. They are well made and the mattresses are surprisingly comfortable. The bed also comes included with linens, pillow, and handmade quilts included with your stay, so you don’t have to worry about packing stuff or unrolling your sleeping bag. On top of that, each bed has charging stations, a reading light, and privacy curtains, as well as free Wifi. Pretty awesome!
I was extremely thankful for their shower after the race (it’s separate from the main area and is one-person only) and is perfect for post-run or post-hike. They have towels for you to use and some communal shower cleaning products (you can leave a donation if you wish to help offset some of these costs). In the morning, there is a light free breakfast (cereals, milk, coffee, and eggs), to get you a little something to kick off your day. This was super awesome for us runners, as not only was the packet-pick up and check-in at the hostel, we didn’t have to worry much about a little pre-race fueling.
Now take a gander back up at all of these amenities and realize that it’s only going to set you back about $25!
You really can’t beat this place. As Mitchell is pretty isolated from significant lodging opportunities, it’s a perfect spot to stop in, feel safe, and refuel or use as a basecamp in exploring one of the most beautiful parts of the state. Mitchell is super tiny, but the hostel is an easy walk from three local restaurants and Tiger Town Brewing – an absolute MUST STOP location, as well as the delicious new Painted Hills Pastry, with amazing fresh made yumminess.
It has the amenities you would want and really showcases the true awesomeness of what a hostel should be. Even if you aren’t coming over to town for a race, this is still a great spot to stop during camping trips or stopovers to the Painted Hills.
Spoke’n Hostel Details:
Address: 300 US Highway 26, Mitchell, Oregon, 97750
More about Spoke’n Hostel:
Spoke’n Hostel is a five star, donation-based hostel in Mitchell, Oregon. Located on US Highway 26 at milepost 66 between the Ochoco Divide and Keyes Summit on the Trans America Trail, Spoke’n is an oasis for cyclists and adventurers. Arriving late? No problem – Our doors are open from 11:00AM to 5:00PM, but we’re available for late or early arrivals. Simply use our video doorbell and we’ll be on the way in a jiffy!
Many thanks to the Spoke’n Hostel for allowing us to check out their property! Please read our transparency page for info on how we do our reviews.