Bend, a busy mountain town, will be your outpost for a host of outdoor activities in Central Oregon. More than just the perfect place to rent bikes or enjoy a fishing trip, Bend is a great blend of nature and culture in the broadest sense: great restaurants, artisanal breweries and bars, as well as cozy accommodations. There’s plenty to recharge your batteries during this mountain adventure holiday.
Best hiking sites
If you are looking for beautiful hiking trails, you won’t be disappointed as the region has plenty of thrills in store for you. You may even do more than you expected. Stop first at Smith Rock State Park. This state park has 12 hiking trails that crisscross the picturesque highland desert of central Oregon. Over the years, volcanoes have helped to shape this landscape, and the jagged landscape on the horizon is an inexorable eye catcher. Venture to the top of the Black Butte Trail in the summer to see these giants with their colourful wildflowers. Lava River Cave is a must. This lava tunnel is as extraordinary as its name suggests. One kilometre long, it is part of the Newberry National Volcanic Monument.
Naturally, waterfalls, unexpected streams and other majestic trees only add to the spectacle. They abound in the Green Lakes Loop, which passes through Three Sisters Wilderness Area, and the North Fork Trail, which leads to Tumalo Falls.
Bike the trails
In Central Oregon, cycling enthusiasts will discover a multitude of ever-changing landscapes. Ride along the riverbank or take the McKenzie Pass Scenic Bikeway: these bike paths take you through coniferous forests and through a landscape of volcanic rock. On the Madras Mountain Views Scenic Bikeway, wildflowers stretch as far as the eye can see. See the lake and its desert canyon, and the mountains that loom on the horizon.
Families will enjoy a ride on the Twin Bridges Loop, which starts in Bend, downtown. It offers absolutely picturesque views of the Cascade Range, unspoiled forest scenery and mountain desert. Finally, the Three Sisters Scenic Bikeway consists of flat and easy routes along the banks of the Metolius River. Mountain bikers will not be outdone. There is no shortage of suitable sites: Deschutes River Trail, bordered by juniper trees, and the huge Phil’s Trail complex, which takes visitors to Deschutes National Forest, the Round Mountain site in Prineville, as well as the Peterson Ridge Trail system in Sisters.
The adventure never stops
Another popular activity in Central Oregon is skiing. Mount Bachelor, the sixth-largest winter sports resort in the United States, boasts 101 ski trails located on the eastern ridge of Oregon’s Central Oregon Waterfall Range. You can also opt for Hoodoo, nestled in the Willamette National Forest, where you can even ski at night.
During the summer season, treat yourself to a thrilling rafting trip on the Deschutes or McKenzie Rivers. Trust the watersports providers for a refreshing afternoon of thrills and laughter. Take your meals by the campfire on a starry night and bivouac under a tent for a night or two … Would you like to do that? Opt for a night rafting trip!
On a more relaxed note, reserve your place aboard a fishing boat for an outing on a river or lake. You might catch a trout, a kokanee (freshwater) salmon or, why not, a largemouth bass? Specialized fly fishing providers will equip you to tease the fish from the banks of different rivers: Lower Deschutes, Fall River or Crooked River. Central Oregon is particularly well suited to fishing, but even if you are unlucky or a beginner, you will be impressed by the beauty of its rivers.
Land at Portland International Airport (PDX), then rent a car to drive the 256 kilometres to Bend. You can also take a connecting flight to Roberts Field (RDM) in Redmond, which will bring you just 27 kilometres from Bend. Redmond Municipal Airport offers 23 direct flights to and from Los Angeles, San Francisco, Phoenix, Seattle, Portland, Denver and Salt Lake City.