At one time, Bend was one of Oregon’s best kept secrets for outdoor enthusiasts but today, after a period as one of the state’s fastest growing cities, it has become one of Oregon’s most popular tourist destinations. With spectacular scenery, year-round sporting activities, and renowned resorts, Bend is the best of the great northwest.
Though the town is itself complete with theaters, shopping centers, fine dining and unique micro-breweries (all of which are perfect after a long day of outdoor fun), most of Bend’s main attractions lays just beyond the city limits.
A great place to understand the central Oregon setting is the High Desert Museum. In this unique combination of museum cum zoo, you’ll find everything about the plains between the Cascade and Rocky Mountains, from land forms to Native Americans and early white settlers, as well as living wildlife which includes a birds-of-prey show.
The Bend Visitor and Convention Bureau will provide the maps for the 87-mile loop Cascade Lakes Highway. One of the most popular outings, this National Scenic Byway, will take you by wonderful panoramas of the Cascades. You’ll pass frequent lakes and reservoirs which are good for a swim or picnic after hiking one of the many trails you will find nearby.
With cross-country trails and more than 70 downhill runs, it’s no wonder that Mount Bachelor Ski and Summer Resort is a Mecca for snow lovers. Just 22 miles west of Bend, Bachelor has one of the longest ski seasons in the States (November to July).
Whether you want a half-day, full-day or overnight hike, there are plenty of places around Bend. The Deschutes River Trail and Three Sisters Wilderness offer rugged and moderate trails in secluded nature. In the summer, Mt. Bachelor is open for mountain biking with the option of taking the ski lift for a thrilling bike ride down. Many other areas are open for riding too. If you want someone else to do the work, several companies, including the famous Sunriver resort offers horseback riding.