Bend, happily situated on the eastern edge of the foothills of the Cascade Range, is the gateway for outdoor summer adventures. The opportunity to hike, mountain bike, rock climb, and golf, draws thousands of people every summer! and of course downhill skiers and snowboarders congregate in the winter time.
For those who prefer fishing and water sports, the Deschutes River offers endless fly fishing and, as it winds its way right through the city, sees its fair share of kayakers. Floaters and paddle boarders love the journey from Riverbend Park to Drake Park. If “floating” isn’t your cup of tea, it’s possible to access the rapids from within the city as well. And of course, it’s possible to go further afield and white water raft through gorgeous mountain scenery.
Here are Five of the best outdoor Summer adventures in Bend, Oregon
1. Floating the river through Bend
You’ll start your journey at Riverbend Park in the Old Mill District (450 SW Powerhouse Dr). (There are other places to start, such as in Farewell Bend Park, a little up from Riverbend Park.) You’ll end your journey at Drake Park in downtown Bend!
You can rent personal water crafts, kayaks or SUPs (stand up paddle boards) at the park, or bring your own motor-free water-craft (float or inner tube). if you start at Farewell Bend Park. (You’ll also find a few tour operators that will take adventurers out into the Cascades for rock climbing hiking, mountain biking and so on.)
Paddleboarders should be aware that the river divides into two channels and the left hand, or Passageway Channel, has quieter water than the White Water Channel. If you’re new to the sport of paddle boarding, avoid the White Water channel and, of course, always wear a life jacket.
Use the Ride the River shuttle to return to Riverbend Park – it runs every few minutes.
2. White Water Rafting
A handful of tour companies offer white water rafting adventures on three different rivers. Some adventures are suitable for all ages, as the rafts go down Class I and III rapids. (Class VI rapids are for extreme rafters only, so Class I and III are just right for the novice rafter).
It’s typically a two-hour journey from Bend to the spot on the river where you’ll start your rafting experience.
It’s also possible to camp overnight and have two days of rafting thrills. Click Here to review what the tour companies in Bend have to offer and plan your adventure with them.
3. Mountain Bike Mt. Bachelor
Mt. Bachelor, a dormant stratovolcano, is 21 minutes west of Bend via the Cascade Lakes National Scenic Byway. Mt. Bachelor has some great downhill and Nordic ski trails, but there’s plenty to do here in the summer as well.
The Mt. Bachelor Mountain Bike Park, built in 2013, draws bikers of all levels from all over the country to ride its 13 trails which are divided into “Easier,” “More Difficult” and “Most Difficult.” There’s also a Skills Park for beginners and intermediate riders to work on perfecting their skills before attempting those Most Difficult trails.
Some of the trails are natural, others are machine built. Their lengths vary as well. The First Timer Line is a trail for beginners, designed specifically to help them increase their skills. Once they feel they’ve mastered this trail, I’s on to the Lava Flow trail. Again, the trail is designed to be slightly more challenging and help beginners improve their skills.
The “More Difficult” trails consist of the Lava Flow (the same trail as for beginners, but with more challenging terrain, the Hanger, Blade Runner, Cone Run and DSM – with lots oif jumps, rolls and wood features. There are for trails categorized as “Most Difficult,” with half pipes, berms, step ups and mandatory drops – Rattlesnake with an average slope of 12%, and Big Wood and Rockfall with average slopes of 20% to name only three!
All riders must wear helmets and closed-toe shoes. There are two bike lifts, the Sunshine Lift which takes beginning and skills-building riders to their trails, and the Pine Marten Lift for the Most Difficult Trails.
4. Catch a Concert as Les Schwab Amphitheater
Over the years, the popularity of Les Schwab Amphitheater has grown for music artists and concert goers alike! Artist Michael Franti performs yearly and is wildly popular among locals. The amphitheater hosts sold out shows for artists like The Dave Matthews Band, Jack Johnson and classic acts like Willie Nelson and Alison Cross! Click Here for the full concert lineup and ticket information!
5. World Class Golfing in Bend, Oregon!
With more than 25 golf courses to choose from, Bend, Oregon is a golfer’s paradise! Some call Bend, “The Palm Springs of the North!” Also home to three of the golf courses that in 2013-14 were named among “America’s 100 Greatest Public Courses” in Golf Digest magazine. For all course information Click Here.
If you love outdoor summer adventures, Bend, Oregon has something fun for everyone!