Bend is a great little town. We spent 10 days just south of town (for a rare break in an RV resort), which allowed us to take in a lot of the town and the surrounding area. We really loved all the things Bend had to offer either in town or very close by.
Awesome Stuff to Do
There is a playpark in town and tons of awesome whitewater nearby that runs year-round. Nik easily met a crew and got some good boating time in.
This is probably the best town I’ve visited for trails (Update: Boise has better trails). Not only does Bend have a great paved trail system throughout town, but they have trails all over the surrounding mountains. They are often featured in running magazines as a top destination for awesome runs. Plus, there is a vibrant running community that includes several ultrarunning champions and local gear companies (like running fuel Picky Bars, and other great outdoor companies like RuffWear and Hydro Flask).
You can surf in the playpark, too, like with a surfboard. It’s pretty cool to watch! (Missoula also had a surfer-friendly wave in town.)
Mountain biking & Hiking
There is a HUGE trail system that you can link up to from right in town.
Newberry Caldera National Monument (45 minutes from town)
We did this hike around the caldera lake at the Paulina Peak area. It’s a dormant volcano, and there is tons of obsidian and pumice rock all over. It’s actually about 300 years overdue to explode again. :-O
Lava River Cave (20 minutes from town)
Lava River Cave is a cave formed from a lava tube! We really wanted to see this, but it had just closed for the fall/winter so people wouldn’t disturb the hibernating bats.
Crater Lake National Park (1.5 hr from town)
Somewhat embarrassingly, we actually didn’t know Crater Lake was so close until we drove past it en route to the Umpqua River (2 hours south of town). We didn’t really have time to explore properly, but we did pop by for a picture. We might have stayed longer if we had dressed for the wind, snow, and freezing fog…
For reference, this was on October 1st, the same day as the picture of Cheat by the river up above. Brrr.
It is a gorgeous place, though.
Skiing & Snowboarding at Mt. Bachelor (9 minutes from town)
Close to town and easy to get to. Of course, we didn’t do this since we were there in late September. Good to know it’s there, though. 😉
Deschutes River (in town)
Bend is named for a bend in the Deschutes River. It’s pretty and there are ponds and rafting and such.
Pilot Butte (10 minutes from downtown)
This is a volcanic butte within the city limits. Fun fact: it’s one of 4 cities with a volcano inside it. Anyways, you can do a very steep 2 mile hike up it (I did hill training there) and at the top, there are 360 degree views of the entire town and surrounding mountains.
Nik and I are admittedly beer snobs. It is a rare town that has enough breweries to keep us interested and the average beer from one of those breweries is actually good. So, craft beer gets its own section, because it was the best beer we’ve had since Denver. 🙂
We visited 3 or so different breweries, and tried some additional beers from a few others (if we had been staying closer to town that number would have been much higher). We loved 10 Barrel Brewing all around, and Craft had a great deck (and an amazing Double IPA). The Sweet As beer from GoodLife is delicious and unique. There are also at least two local kombucha brewers (fermenters?), which you could find on tap here and there. Oregon is also known for its wineries, so they are well-stocked all around!
Bend is the type of place we could definitely be happy living. It quickly made our list of favorites from the trip and we can’t wait to visit again.