Back to Travel

Hike, bike, paddle and strike

An assortment of outdoor adventures in Bend, Oregon

Drake Park in downtown Bend, Oregon, is a great place to go paddle boarding, kayaking, or swimming in the Deschutes River. Photo credit: Christina Butcher

Recommend Article
Total Recommendations (0)
Clip Article Email Article Print Article Share Article

If you're bored while vacationing in Bend, Oregon, you're not doing it right. That's right, we're calling you out, fellow travelers, for twiddling your thumbs in one of the most adventure-friendly cities in the Pacific Northwest. Bend, Oregon, is an adventurist's wonderland, and its location in central Oregon -- along the banks of the Deschutes River and edges of the eastern Cascades mountain range -- make it the perfect vacation spot for enjoying outdoor adventures. We've highlighted a few of our favorite outdoor activities below to make sure you don't end up bored (or indoors) while sojourning in Bend:

Paddle boarding on the river: With the Deschutes River running through the center of Bend, it only makes sense to grab a paddleboard and slip into the river while the sun shines overhead. Within an hour of getting into town we headed straight to Stand on Liquid, a stand-up paddleboard rental store offering lower prices than its downtown competition, assistance in securing paddleboards on vehicles, and recommendations for great paddleboard spots near Bend. We took our paddleboards to Drake Park in downtown Bend, which allowed for free parking and easy access to the river.

Hiking and biking the trails: The number and variety of trails open for hiking and mountain biking in Bend is astounding, meaning your quest for finding the "perfect trail" will be quite easy. The Deschutes National Forest surrounds Bend to the south and west and includes high-payoff hikes to destinations like Tumalo Falls and Double Falls. A short two-mile hike will lead you to the jaw-dropping, 97-foot Tumalo Falls, as well as the 30- and 20-foot waterfalls of Double Falls. For a tougher and longer hike, embark on Broken Top Crater to No Name Lake, a five-mile stretch of trail in Three Sisters Wilderness. The trail is rated as moderate and leads you through alpine meadows with trickling creeks, to icy glacial lakes and finally, atop a narrow mountain ridge where you can take in the views of surrounding peaks.  

Kayaking on the lake: Because few things feel as adventurous as kayaking across the crystal-clear waters of a mountain lake, we recommend renting a kayak and exploring Sparks Lake. Sparks Lake is only a 40-minute drive from Bend along the Cascade Lakes Scenic Byway, and it offers dazzling views of Mount Bachelor, Broken Top and Three Sisters mountain peaks from its shores. Kayakers can spend all day meandering through the lake's shallow waters (its maximum depth is only 10 feet) or investigate lava formations that pepper the shoreline. If you need to rent a kayak, head to Bend Kayak School, where staff can help you plan a single-day or overnight adventure near the lake.

Stargazing at Oregon Observatory: Don't let the fun stop just because the sun goes down. Instead, head to Oregon Observatory at Sunriver Nature Center, where you'll find the largest collection of telescopes available for public use in the U.S. The observatory's remote location, high elevation and plethora of available telescopes combine to deliver an exceptional stargazing experience for novice astronomers. From Sept. 3 through Oct. 27, the observatory is only open for night sky viewings Wednesdays and Saturdays, so it's best to plan this excursion a few weeks in advance.  

Golfing at multiple courses: With almost as many golf courses as breweries, it's no wonder golf enthusiasts travel to Bend for no other reason than to get out onto the course with nine iron in hand. Avid golfers can get the most bang for their buck by following the Central Oregon Golf Trail, which includes over 24 courses in Bend and nearby Sunriver. Follow the trail from one course to the next, playing at award-winning courses like Pronghorn, Crosswater and Thetherow. Bend's dry, high-desert climate and perpetual sunny weather (Bend gets upwards of 260 days of sunny weather every year, according to make for excellent golfing conditions throughout summer and fall.

Read next close


Bright scenes of sea and land

comments powered by Disqus

Site Search