There are no stupid questions
It’s not uncommon for visitors to arrive in the summer months to discover everyone simultaneously had the same idea about where to stay, where to drink, or what to do. We strongly recommend securing lodging and camping reservations in advance, but there are numerous lakes, hikes, and mountain biking trails off the beaten path. Early risers will often find solitude on popular trails. Check out our summer fun page for more ideas on what to do in Bend when things get the busiest.
Oregon State Parks such as Smith Rock State Park or Tumalo State Park, require an Oregon State Parks Pass.
Other recreation areas such as Newberry National Volcanic Monument and popular hiking trails in National Forests require a Northwest Forest Pass. To find out what recreation sites require a pass, click here.
Note: if you have an America the Beautiful – National Parks and Federal Lands Annual Pass OR a Senior America the Beautiful – National Parks and Federal Lands Pass (available to those 62 and over), you do not need a NW Forest Pass. You will, however, still need an Oregon State Parks Pass.
The Oregon State Parks Annual and Two-Year Passes, and Northwest Forest Day and Annual Passes may be purchased at the Bend Visitor Center.
Many trailheads in the Central Cascades Wilderness areas require day use permits from June 15 – October 15. Learn more about those here.
During the winter, between November 1 and April 30, you’ll need a sno-park permit to play at any of the many designated sno-parks near Bend. Sno-park passes can also be purchased at the Bend Visitor Center.
The Deschutes National Forest, which surrounds Bend, offers one of the most extensive trail systems for snowmobiling, nordic skiing, and snowshoeing. Click to learn more about Central Oregon’s sno-parks. Please remember that for all sno-parks, you’ll need a valid sno-park permit. You are not required to have a sno-park permit if parking at Mt. Bachelor.
Mt. Bachelor is approximately 22 miles/32km southwest of Bend. It takes about 25 minutes to drive there, depending on road conditions. For updated ski and road conditions, visit our weather and road conditions page.
Usually the mountain opens for winter activities Thanksgiving weekend and is open until mid-May, depending on snow levels.
Mt. Bachelor opens for summer activities around July 4. These include chairlift rides, zip lines, sunset dinners, disc golfing, and lift-served mountain biking. For information and ski conditions, visit Mt. Bachelor’s website.
Experiencing Bend’s weather is one of the best parts of visiting Bend. With abundant sunshine and a dry, high-desert climate, Bend has nearly ideal weather. Moderate days and cool nights characterize Bend’s year-round climate. Because of high altitude and clear air, temperatures at night average 30 – 40F below daytime highs. Evenings are generally cool, even in the summer, requiring sweaters or jackets. Frost can occur during any summer month. Check out our weather page for more in-depth info.
Tumalo Falls is located about 14 miles west of Bend off of Skyliners Road. Follow these Google Map directions to get you there from the Bend Visitor Center.
Bend is located in the geographic center of Oregon, and is accessible by plane or car. Here are the driving distances to some of the more popular locales below:
- Portland: 175 miles
- Crater Lake National Park: 89.5 miles
- Mt. Bachelor: 22.2 miles
- Sunriver: 17 miles
- Smith Rock State Park: 26 miles
Roberts Field (RDM) is located in Redmond, which is 15 miles/25km north of Bend. It is serviced by Alaska Airlines, American, Avelo Airlines, Delta, and United. There are direct flights from Portland, Seattle, Santa Rosa, San Francisco, Burbank, Los Angeles, San Diego, Palm Springs, Denver, Phoenix, and Salt Lake City. There are two private plane airports as well, the Bend Municipal Airport and the Sunriver Resort Airport.
Until the winter of 1824, this area was known only to Native Americans who hunted and fished here. Members of a fur trapping party led by Peter Skene Ogden were the earliest white men to visit. John C. Fremont and other army survey parties came next. Then the pioneers heading further west came through and forded the Deschutes River at “Farewell Bend.” A small community developed around the bend in the river and in 1905, a city was incorporated with approximately 300 citizens. Read our history and heritage article to learn more.
There are more than 102,000 people living within Bend’s city limits.
Bend is located at 3,623 feet/1104 meters above sea level.