Bend has been on my radar for years since learning about the incredible mountains, hiking, and brews. So when I got a chance to go, I was ecstatic. While I was only there for three days, I felt like I did about as much as there was to do, minus hiking in the mountains – the road was still closed due to snow. (I guess I’ll have to come back.) Additionally, the Bend, Oregon, photography opportunities are numerous, as well as the Bend, Oregon things to do. Keep reading to find hiking suggestions, what to see, and fun tips about the city.
What do when you Visit Bend
Hike in Smith Rock State Park
Thirty-five minutes north of Bend lies Smith Rock State Park. The park has it all. Its great hiking trails and views of the massive volcanic rock remnants and a handful of snowcapped volcanoes on the horizon will make any outdoors enthusiast ecstatic. Additionally, if you’re a fan of rock climbing, this is some of the best in the area. Furthermore, the Crooked River cuts through it, offering a wonderful place to sit beside the river and soak in the sounds of nature. Smith Rock State Park is a must-do when you visit Bend. It’s also one of the best photography spots in Bend, Oregon.
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Hiking Gear for your trip (dependent on season)
- Wool base layer to keep you dry: Men’s and Women’s
- Nice comfy fleece as a mid-layer: Men’s and Women’s
- Down Jacket for extra warmth: Men’s and Women’s
- Comfy yet durable pants: Men’s and Women’s
- Rain jacket: Men’s and Women’s
- Wool Socks: Men’s and Women’s
- Sturdy Hiking Shoes: Men’s and Women’s
- Midsized hiking backpack: 20L, 26L, 30L
Visit Newberry Volcanic National Monument
This was almost Oregon’s first National Park, but that decision went to Crater Lake. It’s about 45 minutes south of Bend. Paulina Peak is pristine for those aiming to get a great sunset spot and one of the best photography spots in Bend, Oregon. Check to see if it’s open, as it is closed during the winter months. There are tons of hiking, lava cave exploring, and lake activities at the National Monument. You definitely have to check this out when you visit Bend.
Listen to the roar of Tumalo Falls
West of Bend is Tumalo Falls, a nearly 100-foot waterfall that is idyllic. It’s an easy drive, maybe 25 minutes, with three miles on a dirt road. The parking lot is relatively small, so I recommend visiting on weekdays, early mornings, or before sunset. The lower viewpoint is a 50-yard walk from the parking lot, while the upper overlook is a quarter-mile. After you’ve enjoyed thunderous waterfall sounds, keep hiking, as there are more waterfalls upstream. I highly recommend this as one of the Bend, Oregon, things to do.
Explore the Central Cascades
The mountains of the Central Cascades are phenomenal and the reason to visit. Unfortunately, my visit was too early to enjoy as the road was still closed. However, I will be back. For those planning, below are the best hikes in the area. These are home to some of the best photography spots in Bend, Oregon.
Bend, Oregon Things to do:
- Check out Sparks Lake
- Summit the South Sister
- Hike to Bend Glacier and No Name Lake
- Do the Mount Bachelor Trail
- Hike the Green Lakes Trail
- Backpack the Three Sisters Loop (47 miles). Permits required.
Enjoy the numerous breweries and the Bend Ale Trail
Bend is home to over 30 – THIRTY – breweries. So, if you’re a fan of craft brews, you’ll find yourself right at home! Depending on the length of your stay, you should be able to knock a couple out. I recommend checking out the Bend Ale Trail as you decide which breweries to visit while in Bend, Oregon. Highly recommend as some of the Bend, Oregon Things to do in town.
Hike in a Lava Tube
I always try to do experiences unique to my daily life— and hiking underground in a lava tube counts. The entire tube is about a third of a mile long, with portions where you have to crawl. For those who get claustrophobic, I would not recommend this. But it’s a must when you visit Bend for those who love a new thing, walking in tight quarters and learning about the region’s geologic history.
Until next time adventurers, take care and be safe.
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