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Bend, Oregon: On the Doorstep of the Great Outdoors
Nestled between snow-capped mountains and vast deserts, the city of Bend, Oregon is a haven for those that love the Great Outdoors. From hiking and rafting to mountain climbing and skiing, visitors to the city will discover a world of possibilities when it comes to outdoor activities and pursuits. What’s more, the city itself is home to a treasure trove of local delights, from historic buildings and entertainment venues to lively bars and microbreweries, all readily accessible from the city’s hotels.
Wintertime in Bend
With visitors arriving in the city all 12 months of the year, Bend is truly a year-round destination. There are plenty of activities for you to enjoy during the colder months, including snowshoeing, snowmobiling and dog sledding. Local operators can arrange excursions both within the city limits and further afield. Nearby Mount Batchelor Ski Resort is a popular destination with wintertime visitors. The resort, which is nuzzled on the side of a dormant volcano, is the largest ski resort in the state of Oregon. Ski season here runs from November to May – the longest ski season of any U.S. resort – giving visitors plenty of opportunity to enjoy downhill and cross country skiing, as well as snowboarding, tobogganing, sledding, and much more. Located approximately 22 miles from downtown Bend, some travellers opt to stay at the resort, while other prefer to commute from hotels in the city.
Summertime in Bend
After the snows have melted, a whole cavalcade of activities become available for Bend visitors. The region is a popular choice with travellers looking to explore the Great Outdoors, either on foot, on two wheels or from the sky. Hiking and running are popular pursuits – Bend is home to more than 51 miles of running trails within the city alone. Meanwhile, hundreds of miles of mountain and desert routes are available for those into mountain biking, horse riding, hiking and camping. Hang gliding, parasailing and hot air ballooning can also be arranged. If you have the stomach to take to the air, you can expect some truly spectacular scenery. If you prefer to stay a little more grounded, a spot of angling or fly fishing is recommended. The Deschutes River and its tributaries offer some great spots to catch trout and bass. The region’s also a good choice for birdwatchers. After a day or two out in the open, return to your hotel and enjoy a well-earned rest.
Living on the Edge
A trip to Bend could be more exhilarating than you might expect. The city is located with the Cascade Volcanic Arc, a 700-mile stretch of volcanoes that takes in the states of Washington, Oregon and California, as well as the province of British Colombia north of the border. Granted, there hasn’t been a major eruption in the immediate region – Mount St. Helens, which erupted in 1980 is 225 miles north – for thousands of years, but you just never know. Your visit wouldn’t be complete without taking in some of the impressive natural features that have resulted from volcanic activity. Situated 12 miles away, Newberry National Volcanic Monument is a great place to start. Here you’ll discover Lava River Cave and Lava Butte, two magnificent natural features, while the volcano’s expansive caldera houses two freshwater lakes. Whilst the volcano hasn’t erupted in more than 6,000 years, it is considered potentially active. Pilot Butte is another volcano located within the city limits, this time of the extinct variety. Strap on your hiking boots and prepare for some terrific views from its summit.
Local Attractions in Bend
If you tire of exploring the Great Outdoors, Bend still has a good selection of items to keep you busy. History buffs or those simply interested in the local region will enjoy a visit to Deschutes Historical Museum. The museum features a collection of artefacts encompassing the complete history of the region, from the Native Americans that originally resided in Bend, through the city’s time as a logging town, and up to the modern day. The museum itself is housed in the Reid School building, which was the first modern school building in the city, and is just seconds away from several hotels. Another popular choice with city visitors is the High Desert Museum. Just outside of town, the museum features a small zoo that is home to badgers, otters and other local wildlife, and offers visitors an insight into the local area through artefacts, exhibits, and dioramas. If you’re looking for some entertainment, Tower Theatre and Les Schwab Amphitheatre are worth checking out. The latter hosts musical concerts on summer evenings.
Breweries, Distilleries and More
Amidst the shops, restaurants and hotels found in downtown Bend, you’ll also discover a selection of breweries and microbreweries. Deschutes Brewery is reported to be the sixth largest craft brewery in the country. Tours of the facility come complete with taster sessions, so you’re sure to find a beer you love. If ale doesn’t please your palate, the city also houses an assortment of distilleries and even vineyards, most of which offer tours and tasters. If your throat is feeling particularly dry, a journey along Bend Ale Trail, which takes in many great pubs, is sure to quench your thirst.