The outdoors is what Central Oregon and Bend are known for, and there are plenty of opportunities for outdoor fun in the area.
The beautiful scenery of Bend and the Central Oregon area are almost unmatched, and provide a fantastic background for outdoor activities.
During the summer you can take your choice of cycling, hiking, fishing, paddling, rock climbing, and rafting among others that make it a summer paradise.
However, now that the first snow of the season has fallen, it is time to get ready for winter outdoor activities.
For winter outdoor activities in Bend and Central Oregon you can usually count on snow, and lots of it. With an average of more than 30 feet of snow annually, the mountains surrounding Bend and Central Oregon offer superlative winter fun for those who love the snow.
Downhill Skiing and Snowboarding
If downhill skiing and snowboarding is your thing, you are in luck.
The Mt. Bachelor Ski Resort located approximately 20 miles north of Bend provides some of the best downhill and Nordic skiing opportunities in the United States. If you are new to skiing they can provide both group and private lessons for skiing and snowboarding.
You can check out the Mt. Bachelor Ski Resort’s website for more information on activities and lessons they provide.
Cross Country Skiing and Snowshoeing
My wife and I are new to the Bend and Central Oregon area, and since I have some back problems that probably wouldn’t like skiing and snowboarding, we are going to try snowshoeing this year.
There are many places in the area around Bend where you can find snowshoeing trails that will give you a wonderful experience no matter if you are a beginner or seasoned snowshoeing enthusiast.
Many snow parks are located near Bend that feature marked trails, or if you prefer you can just make your own trail in the woods.
Some of the most popular snowshoeing routes in the area include the trek to the top of Tumalo Mountain or Vista Butte. On a clear day you will have excellent views of Mount Bachelor, Broken Top and the Sisters from these two trails.
Another favorite route in the area is to park at the end of Skyliner Drive and snowshoe the closed road to Tumalo Falls. However a water project may have that route closed this winter, so check it out in advance.
There are also many snow parks located in the mountains around Bend for cross country skiers and snowshoers. The Swampy and Virginia Meissner snow parks both have approximately 3.5 miles of dedicated snowshoe trails. Many of the snow parks also provide warming shelters, you can check out the forest service’s website to see which parks have warming shelters available.
The Edison snow park also has 3.5 miles of snowshoe trails, but many of these trails are rated higher in difficulty because they wind up and over ancient lava flows. These trails are sometimes tricky to snowshoe for beginners because of the undulating trail, and the fact it navigates along rocky ridges in some places. For pet owners, Edison Snow Park is also one of the few snow parks that allow dogs.
Keep in mind that you must have a valid Sno–Park permit displayed in the windshield of your vehicle if you park in a designated winter recreation parking area (Sno–Park) between November 1 and April 30.
If skiing and snowshoeing are not your thing, you can always go sledding and tubing in many of the snow parks.
For more information on Sno-Park permits, snowshoeing, cross country skiing, and sledding and tubing in the Bend, Oregon area you can check the U.S. Forest Service’s website for maps of snow parks in the area.