Bend Oregon Blog | The Bend Buzz Blog by Visit Bend
When summertime is in full swing in Bend, you look for lots of ways to beat the heat. Floating the Deschutes River is a popular option, along with standup paddleboarding, whitewater rafting, or a dozen other outdoorsy options you can read about on our water recreation page. But sometimes, you just want a swimming pool. Maybe it’s the childhood nostalgia you get from the whiff of chlorine, or maybe you just want to park your towel someplace no muddy dog could roll on it. If you need a pool to get cool, here are five great options in Bend and Central Oregon:
The SHARC in Sunriver
SHARC stands for Sunriver Homeowners Aquatic & Recreation Center, but this mecca of cool water and warm sunshine is open to people who aren’t homeowners. In fact, the general public is welcome year-round, even if you’re staying in a Bend hotel or vacation rental.
Located just 20 miles south of Bend, SHARC features more than 2.5 acres of grass, indoor and outdoor recreation pools, a hot tub, two water slides, a lazy river, and a tubing hill. The outdoor pool is adorned with a veritable water playground of kid-friendly goodies, while the lazy river makes an excellent spot for folks seeking a more laidback experience. I love being able to sprawl on a lawn chair in the grass with a good book while the young’uns make dizzying loops down the two waterslides. There’s an on-site snack bar offering things like nachos, hot dogs, and plenty of cool drinks. If you get tired of swimming, check out the tubing hill (which is included with your SHARC admission). A visit to SHARC is a bit on the pricy side, at $25 per person 4 and older, but it’s worth it for a full day of cool, watery bliss and kids who’ll sleep in the car all the way back to Bend.
The public pools at Juniper Swim & Fitness
Frugal families are especially fond of this gem in the middle of Bend. Operated by Bend Parks & Rec, the public pools at Juniper Swim & Fitness offer an excellent option for locals and thrifty visitors alike.
Out-of-district residents (i.e. vacationers!) pay just $7 a person to access an Olympic 50-meter pool that’s indoors in the winter, outdoors in the summer, plus another indoor 25 meter pool with diving boards and rope swing and an indoor children’s pool. There’s also a seasonal outdoor activity pool complete with waterslide and a kid-friendly aquatic playground. On chillier days, grownups in particular will appreciate the indoor co-ed hot tub, sauna, and steam room. As an added bonus, your admission gets you access to the exercise facilities, or pay $1 more to join a variety of fitness classes including barre, yoga, and more.
The Athletic Center at Brasada Ranch
The bad news: this one’s only open to folks who are staying at Brasada Ranch. The good news: this one’s only open to folks who are staying at Brasada Ranch. The amazing news: holy cow, you have an excuse to stay at Brasada Ranch! If you’re looking for an incredible oasis in Central Oregon, Brasada Ranch is it. The ranch offers championship golf, equestrian trail riding, panoramic mountain views, killer hiking trails, farm-to-table dining, a state-of-the-art spa, and luxury cabins that will make you never want to leave. But the gem in the middle of it all is their 17,000-square-foot athletic center. Besides the fitness facilities, it includes two oversized, seasonal outdoor pools with a fun waterslide, a lazy river, and the coolest design imaginable. The pictures don’t do it justice, and that’s saying something considering the pictures make me do a happy little sigh. There’s even a waterfall you can stand under for a killer shoulder massage, or pick a lounge chair in the sunshine and order one of their gourmet wraps from the on-site snack bar. There’s also a year-round indoor lap pool, indoor kiddie pool, and five year-round outdoor hot tubs. You’ll also find private hot tubs at most of the luxury cabins, which means you pretty much never need to leave the water. Well, maybe to go to the bathroom. Please.
The hot springs mineral pool at Kah-Nee-Ta Resort and Spa
This one’s a bit of a drive from Bend, but it’s a nice day trip if you want the bonus of some Central Oregon sightseeing. Located on the Warm Springs reservation 69 miles northeast of Bend, Kah-Nee-Tah offers a hot springs mineral pool that’s both soothing and thrilling. It’s heated to 92 degrees in the winter months, and cooled during the summer to make it refreshingly perfect.
There are two awesome slides, including a 184-foot enclosed tube and a 140-foot slide with an open top for claustrophobic fraidy-cats like me. There are a couple hot tubs, a kids’ wading pool, and these adorable bear statues that have been squirting water into the pool since my parents first brought me here in a swim diaper. Don’t forget tons of sunscreen and an air mattress, and remember your camera to snap scenic shots of the landscape surrounding the Warm Springs reservation. Rates for the hot springs pool are $15 for those 11 and older, and $10 for kids 10 and under. Unlimited use of the waterslides is $4 extra.
Bend vacation rentals, motels, and hotels with pools
Sure, waterslides and lazy rivers are awesome, but there are tons of other options if you’d prefer the convenience of having a pool within walking distance of your bed.
There are more than two dozen Bend hotels and motels with swimming pools on-site. Some are indoor, some are outdoor, but all offer the luxury of being mere steps from where you rest your head. Mt. Bachelor Village Resort has a particularly lovely outdoor pool nestled among towing Ponderosa Pines, while the Hilton DoubleTree offers an indoor pool and a convenient location in the middle of Downtown Bend. Check out the grid listing on our Bend Lodging page to find a hotel pool that fits your family’s needs.
The Paulina Plunge: Fill day 2 of your Newberry National Volcanic Monument adventure with this once-in-a-lifetime experience (part 2 of 2)
Last week I told you all about the Newberry National Volcanic Monument, and how to make the most of a one-day itinerary.
But I’d be doing you a great disservice if I didn’t tell you that you absolutely, positively MUST stick around for a second day and add the Paulina Plunge to your agenda. I promise, you’ll thank me for this later.
What’s the Paulina Plunge?
It’s honestly one of the coolest things I’ve experienced in 17 years of living in Bend and nearly 40 years spending summer vacations here. I can’t believe it took me this long to try this full-day adventure tour that includes mountain biking, hiking, and visits to half-a-dozen pristine waterfalls for swimming, splashing, jumping, and sliding.
We kicked off our morning at 10 a.m. by meeting our tour group at the Paulina Plunge office in Sunriver. Participants ranged in age from a five-year-old who spent much of his ride time hitched to the back of dad’s bicycle, to a retired couple on an anniversary adventure.
Roughly 40 of us loaded into a school bus and rode to our starting point as one of the tour guides shared a bit of history about Chief Paulina and the area we’d be visiting on the Newberry National Volcanic Monument. After a 25-minute ride, we disembarked and got outfitted with appropriately-sized bikes and helmets.
My eight-year-old stepdaughter is a fairly new bike rider, so she was nervous about the cycling aspect of the trip. We were relieved to see how thoroughly they checked her skill level and made sure she was comfortable with hand brakes. They also split the 40 of us into two groups of 20—one with more experienced riders, and one with young kids and less-confident cyclists. Our group also got two tour guides instead of one, and it was clear they both had a knack for wrangling kids.
The biking portion of the trip is split into four segments of roughly 1.5 miles each, and most of it is downhill. The short uphill climb in the first segment gave us a good chance to assess everyone’s fitness and experience level so we had a better idea how to space ourselves in the pack. I’ll admit the cycling portion was the part I most fretted about (not being much of a bike rider myself) but it was way easier than I expected.
The waterfalls along the Paulina Plunge route range from 10 feet to 40 feet tall. The first one on our list required a short half-mile hike to reach and gave everyone a chance to splash around, wade, or lie down in the water.
We got back on our bikes and pedaled another 1.5 miles to the next waterfall. This one was more interactive, with lots of space for swimming and wading. The guides led a few brave kids to a spot at the bottom edge of the waterfall where it’s safe to jump. After a few minutes, all the grownups started muttering, “that looks fun,” and pretty soon everyone was in line to give it a try.
After we’d all cooled off in the water, we hiked the half-mile back to our bikes and pedaled a short distance to a spot the guides had chosen for a lunchtime picnic. We had spectacular views of the Cascade Mountains and surrounding volcanic landscape while we enjoyed the lunch we’d packed that morning. For $10 extra per person, the Paulina Plunge folks will pack a lunch for you.
By the time the meal was over, we were all air-dried and ready to hit the water again. We pedaled another 1.5 miles or so for the portion of the outing the kids had been squealing about all week—natural waterfall slides!
There are two different slides to try. The first is a smooth, sloped plane that lends itself well to both upright sliding or going down on your belly. Not wanting to lose my top, I stuck with the former.
The second slide just a bit downstream is a more twisty, turny waterfall with separate sections allowing two people to converge at the midpoint in a splashy, giggly mess. We stayed here until everyone was exhausted and drenched and possibly a bit butt-bruised.
The next leg of our journey took us to a great big waterfall with a pool at the bottom for swimming. This was a more relaxing segment of the trip, and my fiancé enjoyed sitting under the pounding water for a natural massage.
We ended the journey with a longer downhill bike leg and a cold soda at the end. We were back at our car by about 4:30 p.m. with the kids fast asleep in the backseat about two minutes later.
The price per person for the Paulina Plunge is $65, which is a screamin’ deal considering it includes all your transportation, bike and helmet, a day pack if you need it, tour guides with CPR and first aid training, and a full day of the sort of once-in-a-lifetime you’ll only find in the volcanic wonderland of the Newberry National Volcanic Monument.
There’s a great FAQ page that covers a lot of ground, but allow me to add a few tips of my own:
- The FAQ page advises people to dress in shorts, t-shirts, and old sneakers. Admittedly, that outfit provides adequate protection, but it made me feel like a soggy dork with sand in my socks. Regular sandals or Tevas aren’t a good option (the most common injury is to the big toe) but if you’ve got a pair of Keen sandals with burly toe protection, wear those instead. I also opted to wear a bikini with a super-supportive top (bike riding can be bumpy!) with shorts and a top with a built-in bra, plus a lightweight sweatshirt in my pack. That provided a pretty good system for donning and removing layers, and I didn’t have to pedal anywhere in a dripping t-shirt.
- The FAQ page downplays the necessity of sunscreen a bit, but trust me, you need it. A LOT. You’ll be at a high altitude with several long stretches without the protection of a forest canopy. Make sure you’ve got plenty of water-resistant stuff and reapply often!
- Bring plenty of water—follow the guidelines on the FAQ page, and don’t forget to add a little extra for your lunchtime stop.
- Remember to bring a little cash to tip your guide(s) at the end. It’s not mandatory, of course, but it’s a nice gesture, and trust me—these guys earn it.
For more info on the Paulina Plunge, check out their website or call 1-800-296-0562.
Here are a couple videos of the kids having a ball in the waterfalls.
How to do the ever-loving-heck out of Newberry National Volcanic Monument in two days (part 1, day 1)
When the boss asked me to spend a couple days visiting Newberry National Volcanic Monument to give a first-hand report on what it’s like to explore the area with a family, I wept with misery at how much my job sucks.
That’s so obviously a lie that I can’t even type it with a straight face.
Truth is, I immediately texted the kids with the all caps message: GUESS WHAT AMAZING THING WE GET TO DO?!?!
The Newberry National Volcanic Monument is a breathtaking natural playground just south of Bend, teeming with ancient lava flows, cinder cones, caves, obsidian flows, lakes, rivers, forests, and mountains. I’ve been there many times, but never with the intent of mapping out the absolute perfect agenda for a limited time.
Next week’s post will spotlight the once-in-a-lifetime adventure of the Paulina Plunge, but today I’m giving you an easy itinerary to maximize a single fun-filled day at Newberry National Volcanic Monument. Here’s how we did it:
8:45 a.m.: Breakfast at Sparrow Bakery
As we headed south on the Bend Parkway, we took exit 138 and popped in at Sparrow Bakery. The kids are crazy about their famous Ocean Rolls, and I opted for their bacon breakfast sandwich (a poached egg, bakery-smoked bacon, avocado, arugula, and aioli served on a hand-rolled croissant). The meal was easy to eat in the car, and provided the perfect sustenance for our morning journey.
9:15 a.m.: Arrive at the Lava Lands Visitor Center
Knowing the Lava Lands Visitor Center gets busy with folks jockeying for the chance to drive to the top of Lava Butte, we wanted to hit this stop first thing. We flashed our Northwest Forest Pass for access (though a three-day Monument Pass is just $10 and gets you in to all the areas. A one-day Northwest Forest Pass will do the trick as well if you plan to stick with this itinerary). The attendant granted us a 30-minute permit to drive to the top of Lava Butte.
The kids loved exploring the fire lookout tower at the top of the butte and snapping photos of the panoramic views. We opted to burn off a little energy with the ¼ mile hike around the rim of the caldera, oohing and aahing over the different types of lava rock and the fact that we were standing on the largest volcano in the Cascades.
Back at the bottom, we headed into the Visitor Center facility for a bathroom break and a chance to check out the interpretive exhibits, a short film, and a giant map showing us all the areas we’d be exploring that day.
10 a.m.: Explore Lava River Cave
I’ve had the pleasure of doing several Cave Tours with the folks from Wanderlust Tours, and I’m always in awe of the knowledge and experience offered by their naturalist guides, and impressed by the fact that they’re the only group permitted to take folks into some of Central Oregon’s most pristine natural caves.
But if you’re short on time or cash, or you just want to explore on your own, the Lava River Cave at Newberry National Monument is a good option. Located adjacent to the Lava Lands Visitor Center, the cave is one mile long and the longest lava tube in Central Oregon. You can bring your own headlamps or flashlights if you’ve got them, but I love the experience of renting a propane-fueled lantern for just $5 at the entrance.
The kids both told me the Lava River Cave was their favorite part of our day, and it was easy to see why. We hiked all the way to the end, making spooky noises and shadow-puppets as we went. A few scattered signs along the way shared interesting tidbits like the spot where we were standing directly under Highway 97.
Closed-toe shoes are a good idea for this hike, and a lightweight sweatshirt is a must, since it’s 45 degrees in the cave all year-round. Claustrophobes who feel nervous in smaller caves will appreciate the relatively open spaces in this one.
11 a.m.: Drive to Paulina Falls
We emerged from the cave and drove 12.5 miles to Paulina Lake Road. From there, it was another 12.5 miles to the Newberry Welcome Station where we kicked off the next portion of our journey.
Since tummies weren’t rumbling yet, we decided to see Paulina Falls before lunchtime. The lookout over the top of the 80-foot waterfall is just a short walk from the parking lot off road 21, and I expected the kids to be satisfied with a 10-minute stop for snapping some photos and chucking pine cones over the falls.
They surprised me by loving the waterfall so much they wanted to see it from all angles. We made the short hike to the bottom where they saw the falls from a different viewpoint. 12-year-old Cedar snapped a lovely waterfall photo we shared on Visit Bend’s Facebook page, promptly racking up more than 1,000 likes and making the kid’s day.
Noon: Lunch at Paulina Lake Lodge
I’d stopped at this lodge plenty of times for a potty break or a snack at the gift store, but I’d never bothered to sit down for a meal. What a treat!
We sat on the deck outside to enjoy panoramic views of the lake and mountains while we studied the surprisingly expansive menu. The kids’ menu boasted standard kid-friendly fare like chicken strips and grilled cheese, both of which were deemed delicious by my traveling companions. I opted for a pulled pork sandwich with homemade coleslaw. It was zingy and tasty, and the views made everything that much more scrumptious. After we ate, the kids enjoyed a few minutes of skipping rocks from the edge of the dock beside the lodge.
Added bonus: the staff was so friendly and helpful they provided detailed instructions for reaching the next stop on our adventure and recommended a shovel to help scoop gravel from the hot springs. When we admitted we didn’t have one, they helpfully cleaned out an empty coffee can for us to use.
1 p.m.: Hike from Little Crater Campground to Paulina Lake Hot Springs
This is one of those “locals’ secrets” I’m probably going to get yelled at for revealing to you, but I don’t believe in hoarding all the good spots for myself. Besides, you have to work a little to find this one, so it’s unlikely to be overrun by a million beer-guzzling graffiti artists.
After lunch, we drove a short distance from Paulina Lake Lodge to the Little Crater Campground on the edge of the lake. There’s a day-use area at the very end of the campground, and that’s where we parked to begin the roughly two-mile hike along the lakeshore to the hot springs. At the point where the trail veers uphill, stick to the shoreline and watch for shallow pools fringed with logs. There are several hot springs along the way, and you’ll usually find a few folks soaking in them.
Don’t go expecting a deep soaking pool with seats and towel racks. The springs are shallow and rustic, and it’s a good idea to have something to dig with so you can make a larger spot for soaking and optimize the mix of chilly lake water and piping hot spring water.
Remember your sunscreen before heading out, and don’t forget a bottle of water and sturdy water shoes.
3:45 p.m.: Scope out the Big Obsidian Flow
By the time we’d hiked to and from the hot springs and expended a fair amount of energy splashing in the water, we were feeling pretty wiped. Luckily, The Big Obsidian Flow was just a short drive up the road and a fairly easy walk to the trailhead.
From there you can scope out views of glassy obsidian and a breathtaking hidden lake. This is Oregon’s youngest lava flow, where more than 170 million cubic yards of obsidian and pumice erupted from a vent in the caldera. A one-mile loop interpretive trail covers one corner of the flow.
The Big Obsidian Flow is one of several sites covered in the Volcano Tour from Wanderlust, so if you’d rather have someone else handle all the driving, planning, navigating, and narrating of cool geological facts, that’s a handy option.
4:30 p.m. A trip to East Lake? A drive up Paulina Peak? Or time to head home?
We briefly considered a short drive to East Lake for more sightseeing or a trip up 8,000-foot Paulina Peak for 360-degree volcanic views, but we had tickets to a concert at the Les Schwab Amphitheater, so it was time to head home.
Visitors without concert tickets could probably manage either (possibly both) of these additional side trips. Those with an interest in seeing the Lava Cast Forest (a 7,000-year-old basalt lava flow that enveloped a mature forest and took the shape of trees while it cooled) would be wise to tack on that detour near the start of the trip while still near the Lava Lands Visitor Center.
But overall, we were satisfied with what we managed to pack in on day one of our Newberry National Volcanic Monument tour.
STILL TO COME NEXT WEEK:
Read about day two of our Newberry National Monument adventure, which includes a full day of biking, hiking, splashing, jumping, and sliding in waterfalls on the Paulina Plunge!
On the master list of my favorite childhood vacation memories, more than half are in Bend.
For a kid growing up on the rainier side of the state, there’s something magical about the bright desert sun, towering mountain peaks, and sage-scented air in Central Oregon. It’s the perfect spot for a family vacation whether you’re herding toddlers or corralling rowdy teens.
Here are some of my favorite ways to explore the kid friendly side of Bend for families.
Find yourself some family-friendly digs
Bend offers hundreds of amazing hotels, motels, vacation homes, resorts, campgrounds, and more that cater to families. You’ll find a great starting point here.
I recently got the opportunity to play tourist in my own town with a stay at Brasada Ranch. The luxury cabins made the perfect home base for all the hiking, biking, and horseback riding we could handle, and the kids went nuts for the massive swimming pools and waterslide. Our highlight was a romantic dinner for two at Range while the kids were busy roasting s’mores and riding horses at the Cowboy Cookout.
Mt. Bachelor Village is another nice option for families craving the amenities of a resort. For families who prefer the privacy of a vacation home in Bend, you’ll find dozens of Bend rental homes offering perks ranging from hot tubs to bikes to barbecues.
If you like the ease and simplicity of a hotel, you’ll find tons of great Bend hotels and motels catering to families. Enjoy the free hot breakfast buffet each morning at Riverhouse Hotel and Convention Center, or let the kids splash in the indoor pool at the Doubletree by Hilton in the middle of Downtown Bend.
And for families who want a unique spin on camping, check out the luxury camper trailers available from Cricket Rentals.
Go play outside
Now that you’ve got a place to lay your head, it’s time to get serious about the real reason you came to Bend—frolicking in the great outdoors.
Water play is a popular activity in the summer months, and you’ll find plenty of that around Bend. To cool off like a local, rent a float tube from Tumalo Creek Kayak & Canoe or Sun Country Tours (don’t forget your free life vest rental for the kiddos). Then learn everything you need to know about floating the river here.
The High Cascade Lakes are another great place to splash in the summer months. Elk Lake and Cultus Lake are my personal favorites with kids, since both offer great picnic spots, easy beach areas for swimming, and plenty of rental gear like boats and standup paddleboards.
If swimming pools are more your scene, the on-site pool at Brasada Ranch is great fun for guests there, or take a short day trip to enjoy waterslides and kid-friendly pools at SHARC (in Sunriver) or Kah-Nee-Ta Resort (in Warm Springs).
If there’s an adrenaline junkie or two in the family, try a whitewater rafting excursion from Sun Country Tours for the perfect blend of “bragging-rights-scary” and “not-going-to-kill-me-scary.” Even little ones can get in on the adventure, as the popular Big Eddy Thriller is great for kids 6 and up.
Once you’ve had your fill of water, head out for another form of family recreation. Cog Wild offers family-friendly mountain bike outings for riders of all ages and experience levels. If you’d rather get the whole family on a single bike together, try a surrey outing with Wheel Fun Rentals and use the opportunity to explore Bend’s stunning Old Mill District. (Insider tip: Don’t try to squeeze through the posts designed to keep cars off bike paths or you’ll end up banging the pedals. Um, not that I’d know anything about that).
Prefer a guided adventure where someone else does all the driving, navigating, and answering questions about geographic features and which bugs you can eat? Wanderlust Tours offers unique outings ranging from cave tours to moonlight canoeing to volcano exploration.
There’s a limit to how much outdoor activity you can pack into a Bend vacation. Sometimes the limit is determined by sunburn, and other times by your offspring’s short attention span. Whatever the case, there’s plenty of indoor fun to be had in Bend, too.
The High Desert Museum offers a great chance to explore Bend’s culture, history, and wildlife. While you’ll have to set foot outside to get to a few exhibits like the otter and the birds of prey, you’ll find plenty of kid-friendly areas in the main part of the museum (including Vivi the bobcat who seriously looks like she needs a belly rub).
I told my 12-year-old stepson I was on the fence about including Sun Mountain Fun Center in this post because parents might not like the idea of their kids playing video games on vacation, but he reminded me they also have bumper cars, batting cages, mini golf, go-carts, bowling and more. Smart kid. Or a kid who’s angling to go there again, which isn’t a bad idea now that temps are soaring and a little air conditioning can be refreshing.
For families with a sweet tooth, Bend-based Goody’s Chocolates offers factory tours with samples of candy and ice cream that will give your kids enough of a sugar buzz to fuel them for the next activity.
Frugal families seeking a couple hours of respite from the pitter-patter of little feet might enjoy the Regal Cinema Movie Express program in the Old Mill District. Every Wednesday and Thursday from late June through mid-August, the young’uns can catch a kid-friendly flick for just $1 at 10 a.m.
Get ‘em some culture
Bend’s arts and culture has gotten a lot of buzz lately, and for good reason. It’s one of the most approachable, down-to-earth art scenes around, with public art like the Tin Pan Alley collection and the Roundabout Art Route (both of which make fun opportunities for kids to check out paintings and sculptures in Bend’s great outdoors).
My own step-kids are big fans of live music, and Bend is an amazing spot for that. Freebie concerts like Munch and Music, Alive After 5, and Free Summer Sundays are all family-friendly and fun for all ages. Bring your low-backed chairs and a picnic, or buy tasty food and drinks on-site.
The lineup of summer concerts at the Les Schwab Amphitheater always includes several shows that are great for the whole family. My stepdaughter and I got to groove on-stage with Pink Martini last summer, and Michael Franti’s shows are always a kick for young’uns. Coming up later this summer, Amos Lee’s July 18 show looks like it should be a fun one for families to enjoy together. Go here for ticket info.
Feed the beasts
It’s been brought to my attention that children occasionally need sustenance. Luckily, just about any place you go in Bend is happy to cater to people who can’t legally vote.
One of our favorite family-friendly dining spots is Flatbread Community Pizza. The kids get to assemble their own pizzas and watch them bake in the wood-fired oven, while grownups can enjoy a cocktail, beer, or wine and munch on gourmet pizzas and salads. My personal favorite is the maple fennel pizza with a side of their brand new chopped kale salad (grilled stonefruit, golden beats, chevre goat cheese, candied walnuts, blood orange vinaigrette). They even have a wine flight specially created to pair with pizza.
Another reliable option in the Old Mill District is Red Robin. People with a chip on their shoulder about chain restaurants might turn up their noses at this option, but parents who’ve reached the end of their rope and just want a reliable dinner spot with a menu guaranteed to please cranky kids will be happy to know it’s there (and has some pretty terrific salads to boot!)
Families craving fine dining will find plenty of delicious fare at 900 Wall, with the added bonus of a kids-eat-free special starting at 5 p.m. on Sundays (excluding holidays).
One thing we hear a lot from parents is that they fervently wish to enjoy the Bend Ale Trail, but assume they can’t do it with kids in tow. Au contraire! Quite a number of Bend’s breweries have terrific family-friendly options. Bend Brewing Company has one of the best kids’ menus in town, and Crux Fermentation Project has an incredible outdoor patio with a huge field where kids love to frolic.
One of the most kid-friendly spots along the Bend Ale Trail is Deschutes Brewery. Beer fans of legal drinking age will appreciate the opportunity to sip suds at the birthplace of Bend’s craft brew scene while enjoying gourmet eats like tangy baby back ribs, or my personal favorite, Mirror Pond Mac & Cheese (made with spinach, roasted shallots, house-cured tasso ham, Tillamook cheddar, and bread crumbs, served with a side salad). The hearty kids’ menu features the usual fare like pizza and mac & cheese, and there’s a huge gluten-free selection for those who need it.
‘Tis the season for fireworks, parades, Fourth of July camping trips, and floods of phone calls to Visit Bend from travelers seeking information about all those things.
Lucky for you, we’ve compiled a list of some of the most common questions we get this time of year. Since it wouldn’t be very nice if we only gave you the questions, we’ve also taken the time to provide answers. We’re helpful like that.
Q: Where can I watch Fourth of July fireworks in Bend?
A: Each year, fireworks are launched from the top of Pilot Butte at 10 p.m. If you have any friends who live in an elevated area of northeast Bend, try to procure an invitation to their Independence Day barbecue. Bring beer.
If that’s not an option, you can see fireworks from just about any spot in town with a view of Pilot Butte. City parks are popular viewing spots, so check the Parks & Rec site to find one near you. Get there early with a blanket or chairs, since some of the popular locales can be packed.
Q: What special events are happening for July 4?
A: One of the most popular Bend traditions is the annual Pancake Breakfast in Drake Park sponsored by the Bend Sunrise Lion’s Club. This all-American meal is served from 8 a.m. to noon. Cost is $4 for kids and $6 for adults, and proceeds support local charities.
My personal favorite event is the annual Pet Parade. It’s Bend’s largest parade, with 8,000 spectators and participants, and it’s been happening since the 1930s. Starting at 10 a.m., the parade winds its way through downtown with a kooky array of humans, canines, and farm animals, many of whom will be attired in bizarre costumes.
If you or your kids want to march in the parade, the lineup and decorating party takes place at 9:30 a.m. in the parking lot between Bond and Wall across from the Deschutes Public Library. If you just want to watch, you can park your chair pretty much anywhere in Downtown Bend. Streets will be closed starting at 9 a.m. and parking can be tough to find, so get there nice and early.
After the parade, head over to Drake Park for the Old Fashioned July 4 Festival. From 11-4, enjoy games, live music, a variety of food booths, kids’ activities, and more than 130 artisan booths.
Craving a more intimate celebration? Brasada Ranch (just 16 miles northeast of Bend ) is holding an Independence Day All American BBQ. You can enjoy great food, live music, lawn games, and panoramic views of three (yes, THREE) firework shows across the region. Dinner is served from 6-8 p.m. and music goes from 7:30-10:30. Cost is $39 for adults and $23 for kids 5-10.
For the fitness-minded among you, the annual Spark Your Heart 5K run/walk will kick off at 8 a.m. in Riverbend Park. Details and registration are here.
Q: Uh-oh…Tumalo State Park is full. Where can I camp?
A: Independence Day is typically one of the busiest times of the year in Bend, and 2014 will be especially crazy with the holiday falling on a Friday. A good starting point is Visit Bend’s complete roundup of campgrounds and RV parks. While we can’t guarantee availability on a busy holiday weekend, these might be worth trying if you strike out elsewhere:
- The area around the Cascade Lakes has several options, including Gull Point and Crane Prairie. Keep in mind, many of the northern Cascade Lakes campgrounds are still closed due to snow (yes, SNOW!)
- State Parks are another option for those willing to drive 20-40 minutes. Smith Rock State Park has great spots for tent campers, while La Pine State Park, Cove Palisades, and Prineville Reservoir can all accommodate both RVs and tents.
- Some tent campers might enjoy the solitude and primitive experience of dispersed camping in the Ochoco or Deschutes National forests.
- Crown Villa (smack dab in the middle of Bend) and Scandia RV Park (also right in the city limits) both offer RV sites.
- RV enthusiasts will also find hookups and bathrooms with showers at the Deschutes County Fairgrounds RV Park. Though Mt. Bachelor doesn’t have hookups, they do offer bathrooms and showers in the Guest Services building for those who want to park their RVs in the designated area at the mountain.
- Near Newberry Crater, try Cinder Hill campground.
- Want to stay near Sisters? Try Perry South or Sisters City Park Campground.
Q: Where can I play in the Deschutes River?
A: We have a whole web page devoted to this! Find out about canoeing, kayaking, standup paddling, and river float trips in Bend. To get the inside scoop on floating on the Deschutes River the way the locals do it, check out this blog post.
Q: What hikes are open?
A: This page from the Forest Service offers up-to-the-minute trail conditions and closure info. You can also refer to Visit Bend’s hiking page for ideas about where to go. Cascade Hiking Adventures is another terrific resource for hiking ideas.
Q: Are things like the High Desert Museum and Lava Lands Visitor Center open on July 4?
A: Though the High Desert Museum is closed on Independence Day, be sure to stop by on a different day during your trip. Lava Lands Visitor Center is Open July 4. The Des Chutes Historical Museum is not only open, but offers free admission all day on July 4.
Q: We really like the way you write the Bend Buzz Blog and would like to buy you some fireworks. What would you like?
A: Why thank you! Sparklers and smoke balls, please. I like the green ones.
At the rate technology is advancing, I like to think I’ll someday be able to offer you a scratch-and-sniff blog post.
While I can’t do that yet, I can tell you Bend, Oregon, is one of the most deliciously fragrant places I’ve ever been. Sure, it looks beautiful, but here are five things you absolutely, positively must smell in Bend and Central Oregon.
Pine needles in the sun
There’s a deliciously nutty, piney fragrance you’ll notice when you hike the ponderosa-lined trails around Bend. The sun-soaked high desert earth bakes the needles to aromatic perfection, and I find myself wanting to press my nose against the red-barked trunks. I notice it most prominently along the Deschutes River Trail in the summer months when the sun shines particularly bright, but since it’s sunny year ‘round in Bend, you can pick up the scent nearly any day of the year. To find it for yourself, head up Century Drive and pick a trail that looks appealing. Then close your eyes and breathe deeply. Try not to run into any trees.
Festivals and Farmers Markets
I suppose you could just call this “food smells” and be done with it, but the fragrance enveloping Bend’s many festivals and Farmers Markets is so much more than that. It’s layer upon layer of delicious culinary scents like pungent leafy greens, grilled onions, and batter-dipped corndogs. Add in a dash of sunscreen, spilled beer, and the fragrance of poly-vinyl bouncy houses warming in the sun, plus a subtle undertone of river water and pine. The result is an indescribable perfume that’s actually not all that indescribable at all—it’s the fragrance of fun. To find a festival that fits your vacation schedule, check Visit Bend’s event calendar.
Juniper and sage in the rain
While I love this medley of fragrances in the sunshine, too, there’s something especially mesmerizing about the way these two scents mingle on our rare rainy days in the high desert. Imagine the woodsy, floral aroma of sage rinsed clean with the green botanical notes of juniper. I recently made saltimbocca (thin pieces of chicken breast wrapped in sage leaves and prosciutto) and served it with a Sauvignon blanc from New Zealand’s Marlborough region, and that was pretty much the culinary equivalent of this fragrance. The Oregon Badlands Wilderness is a particularly lovely place to breathe in this intoxicating blend, with the added bonus of uncrowded trails and raw, scenic beauty.
Grassy lake shores
I’m not sure if it’s the tangle of reeds and grasses, the musk of damp earth, or the bright scent of the river water itself that produces this deliciously clean fragrance. It’s probably a mix of all three, and there’s something about it that instantly lowers my blood pressure. Sometimes I like to take off my shoes and squish my toes in the mud to fully embrace this fragrance. There are a few spots on the shore of Elk Lake where this is an option, and nearby Hosmer Lake is another great spot to wade in and experience it. There are also a number of spots along the Deschutes River with deliciously muddy banks, so take off your shoes and start sniffing. Wait…that came out wrong.
The cornucopia of food smells in Downtown Bend
Anytime between lunch and late-evening, you can walk the streets of Downtown Bend and breathe in the most heady blend of food smells imaginable. There’s a mix of exotic spices from Toomie’s Thai Cuisine, Taj Palace, and Five Fusion wafting on the breeze as you stroll from Minnesota Avenue toward Wall Street. Near 900 Wall and Brickhouse, you’ll breathe in the scents of peppery grilled meats and garlicky pizzas bubbling in wood-fired ovens. Don’t try this when you’re hungry, as there’s no possible way to resist ducking into one of the restaurants for a bite. On second thought, a state of hunger is precisely when you want to do this.
So that’s my roundup of five of my favorite fragrances in Bend. What’s yours? Please share in the comments!
From guided horseback riding to solo trail rides, you’ll find plenty of equestrian adventure in Bend
My grandparents raised racehorses in Central Oregon, so I grew up associating Bend with saddles and curry combs.
I’ve seen a recent uptick in journalists and visitors seeking info on horsey adventures in Bend, so I’m clearly not the only one realizing Central Oregon is a pretty fab place to get your giddyup going. Equitrekking recently named Bend the #1 town on their list of five great equestrian communities, so now seems like an excellent time to review the options for equine activities in Bend, Oregon.
Most Central Oregon visitors aren’t stuffing their own horses into carry-on luggage or making the trek over the mountains with a horse trailer in tow. Luckily, a plethora of local stables and equestrian centers make it possible for you to saddle up and ride off into the high desert sage anyway.
I recently visited the Brasada Ranch Equestrian Center where I joined my fiancé and his eight-year-old daughter on a trail ride. She immediately declared it “the best part of my whole summer,” which was saying something considering summer hadn’t actually started.
Nevertheless, I had to agree. The wranglers who accompanied us took excellent care in making sure everyone was properly mounted and comfortable in the saddle. Our group ranged from experienced riders to young kids who seemed uncertain which end of the horse to feed.
My trusty stead was named “Sweet Girl,” and seemed joyfully undaunted by the flatulence of the horse riding in front of us. While I admired breathtaking views of the Cascade Mountains and entertained a few western-themed fantasies that may or may not have involved shirtless cowboys, the professional wrangler leading our pack made engaging conversation with the eight-year-old, while the wrangler at the back soothed the nerves of a nervous six-year-old first-timer in our group.
There are plenty of other equestrian centers in Central Oregon offering guided trail rides and instruction. You’ll find a good roundup of giddyup on Visit Bend’s horseback riding page. Besides Brasada Ranch, visitors speak highly of their equestrian experiences at Sunriver Stables, Seventh Mountain Resort, and Black Butte Ranch.
If you’re looking for a horsey experience outside the resort scene, Bend has a number of small, independent ranches and stables offering boarding and private lessons.
Last year we gifted the young’uns with a few private lessons from Rhinestone Ranch. Located just five miles east of Costco, it’s a handy option for guests staying at a Bend hotel or vacation rental who want an equestrian option that doesn’t require much drive time. Owner Trisha Gallucci did a bang-up job of not only making the kids comfortable riding the horses, but teaching them how to properly comb them and clean their hooves. For more ideas on smaller, independent equestrian facilities, go here.
So what if you already have your own horse and you’re looking for a place to saddle up and ride?
Todd Lake is one of the most popular lakes for horse enthusiasts along the Cascade Lakes highway. Horse-friendly trails lead into the Three Sisters Wilderness, offering access to lovely spots like Cayuse Crater and Soda Creek. There are even a few tent campsites equipped for folks staying with horses.
The Oregon Badlands Wilderness offer another option for riders looking to head out on their own. Southeast of Bend on Highway 20 near milepost 18 is the Badlands Rock Trailhead. Popular with the horse crowd, the soft trail offers a look at the area’s unique volcanic rock formations along with stunning views of the Cascade Mountains.
For horse enthusiasts in the mood to be spectators, Bend is also home to a number of impressive equestrian events. The Oregon High Desert Classics is a world class horse show held east of Bend the last two weeks of July as a benefit for J Bar J Youth Services. The show offers free viewing during the day, plus celebration under the Patron’s Tent at night.
The Rose City Opener is another top-notch equestrian event bringing hunter/jumper competitors to Bend each May.
Fans of horse racing can travel to Prineville the second week in July for the horse racing segment of the Crooked River Roundup.
Parents of horse-crazy kids should check out the horseback riding camps at Camp Tamarack offered throughout August. While junior learns horse handling skills and grooming techniques, mom and dad can schedule a romantic grownup getaway in Bend.
Now get on out there and giddyup!
It’s been nearly three years since I wrote this post about floating the Deschutes River in Bend. Though it’s long-buried in the archives, it continues to rack up the highest number of views of all the Bend Buzz Blog posts.
Think that says something about the popularity of floating the river in Bend?
In the interest of making sure we’ve got the latest-and-greatest info out there for our lovely readers, here’s a revamped version of the post for your enjoyment . . .
For those who don’t live in Bend, the idea of floating the river can seem a little daunting. You see all the smiling, happy people floating past as you stroll through the Old Mill District for dinner or shopping, but um…well, how do they get there? And what are the rules?
Hey, relax. Floating the river is a cinch.
The easiest place to kick off your river float is from Riverbend Park, though another great spot is Farewell Bend Park just a little upstream on the opposite shore just a few feet downstream from the Bill Healy Memorial Bridge. Either place offers a safe, sandy shore for you to launch your air mattress, float tube, or raft. If you want a shorter float, you can also start just downstream from the Colorado Avenue Bridge on the sandy beach in McKay Park and float from there to Drake Park.
Don’t have an inner tube or a PFD? No problem. Head over to Riverbend Park and look for the little trailer with the Sun Country Tours logo on the side. Not only do they rent float tubes and standup paddle boards, they loan free PFDs (personal floatation devices) to children 12 and under. Another great option for float tube rentals is Tumalo Creek Kayak & Canoe. They also rent PFDs, canoes, kayaks, and standup paddle boards and are conveniently located close to the Old Mill District.
Everyone has a personal preference when it comes to floating the river. I’m a big fan of the single air mattress and a slow, easy stroke to keep myself heading straight. When I’m floating with the family, we usually opt for a queen-sized air mattress with the two kids in the middle and the grownups on either side for easy one-armed paddling.
OK, so you’ve got your floaty and you’ve hoped in the river somewhere near Riverbend Park. Now what?
You’ll meander along the Deschutes through the Old Mill District, passing under a couple bridges and waving to happy shoppers and diners. As you approach the Colorado Avenue Bridge, you’ll see a bunch of signs pointing you toward an exit. Follow the signs carefully, as a trip over the spillway would pretty much ruin your vacation (not to mention your life).
Once you’re out of the river, you have the option of walking around the spillway and continuing your journey by putting in again from the beach in McKay Park and floating from there to Drake Park. That’s usually what I do, but if you’re pressed for time, you can always hoof it back to your starting point or catch the Ride the River shuttle back to your starting point. If you continue on to Drake Park and you’re not shuttling with a two-car buddy system, the Ride the River shuttle can pick you up from here, too. Just be sure to check the website beforehand for schedule and pricing, since it doesn’t run every day and won’t kick off this year ‘til July 5.
There are a few rules you need to know before you hop in the water. Under Oregon law, all boats must carry a Coast Guard-approved PFD for every person onboard or being towed. Children under 12 must wear PFDs at all times on a moving boat, including inflatable rafts and kayaks. That doesn’t include individual air mattresses, inner tubes, and floating toys. However, if any of these are tied together, they count as “boats” and the PFD law applies.
Here are a few more things to keep in mind:
- Have some sort of water shoes that stay on your feet so you have protection when you hop out of the water and have to hoof it across a hot, rocky surface to your car or shuttle. Chacos, Tevas, or Keens are a good idea. Flip flops are risky, as they can slip off easily (my favorite Havaiana is probably still buried in the muck somewhere).
- Buy a waterproof pouch to wear around your neck for any essentials like car keys or phone. Consider having your sunglasses on a strap as well, in case you fall in.
- Pay attention to the signs as you approach the Colorado Avenue Bridge so you know where to exit the river safely.
- Please, please don’t litter. If you bring beverages or snacks, do not dump bottles and wrappers in our river. If I see you doing this, I will have no qualms about shoving you over the spillway.
- Have fun! This is pretty much a given, though.
For more information on floating the river, including safety tips and a handy map, check out this page from Bend Metro Parks & Rec.
And for more ideas on other forms of water recreation including whitewater rafting, kayaking, canoeing, swimming, and more, check out this page on the Visit Bend website.
The fact that tourism is booming in Bend, Oregon is either a testament to how well we’re doing our jobs at Visit Bend, or a testament to how cool Bend is. How about we just say it’s both?
In any case, it’s not uncommon for vacationers 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. Never fear! If this happens to you, here’s a roundup of ideas to make sure you can still snooze, sip, and splash in style.
Help! The campground I like is full!
We hear this most often from visitors hoping to stay at Tumalo State Park. No surprise, since its proximity to Bend and natural beauty make it the ideal place to camp (not to mention the ideal place for my upcoming wedding, but I digress).
If you arrive at the campground to find it packed, there are still plenty of spots to pitch your tent or park your camper. The Visit Bend website has an awesome page devoted to camping and RV parks, complete with handy grids to show you the amenities available at each place.
There are several private campgrounds within the city limits of Bend. Crown Villa (smack dab in the middle of town) and Scandia RV Park (also right in the city limits) both offer plenty of RV sites to choose from.
If you’re willing to stay 20 minutes west of Bend, Sisters City Park has both RV and tent sites in a lovely creekside setting.
State Parks are another great option for those willing to drive 20-40 minutes. Smith Rock State Park has great spots for tent campers, while La Pine State Park, Cove Palisades, and Prineville Reservoir can all accommodate both RVs and tents.
Some tent campers might enjoy the solitude and primitive experience of dispersed camping in the Ochoco or Deschutes National forests.
RV enthusiasts will find hookups and bathrooms with showers at the Deschutes County Fairgrounds RV Park. Though Mt. Bachelor doesn’t have hookups, they do offer bathrooms and showers in the Guest Services building for those who want to park their RVs in the designated area at the mountain.
Oh, and if you’re looking for a super-unique camping experience, try renting a luxury camper trailer from Cricket Rentals. Then haul your temporary new home wherever you please. Ask about their “glamping” packages, as well as options for pre-reserved campsites and equipment delivery/setup.
Help! The brewery I want to visit is jam-packed
OK, here’s the thing about the Bend Ale Trail: Having a program that lets participants earn prizes for gathering passport stamps at up to 14 breweries means Bend’s brew pubs are among the most popular attractions in our fair city. Nearly 50% of all Bend travelers visit at least one brewery during their stay, and 6-7% of Bend tourists list “beer tourism” as the primary reason for their visit.
As you can imagine, some of the breweries get packed, especially on holidays and weekends. I was reminded of this over Memorial Day Weekend when I dropped by Crux Fermentation Project for their sunset happy hour specials and discovered they had a two-hour wait for food (though for the record, I got my beer sampler in record time, and they were happy to offer me free bowls of tasty potato chips to nibble).
So what’s a beer enthusiast to do when faced with daunting crowds? Well, the fact that there are 14 breweries to pick from means you’ve got a lot of options. Can’t find a table at 10 Barrel? Head over to GoodLife, which has an awesome outdoor biergarden and tasty beer to boot. Unimpressed by the wait time at the first brewery you try in Downtown Bend? Keep walking. Silver Moon, Bend Brewing Company, Deschutes Brewery, Boneyard Beer, and McMenamins are all within a few blocks of each other, so whip out your Bend Ale Trail map and hoof it to the next one.
Of course, sometimes you’re not in the mood for a quest or for throngs of people. This was how I felt Saturday night, and my solution was to head to Hideaway Tavern. As the name implies, it’s a little off the beaten track. Besides offering a quiet refuge from the crowds, it’s a great place to grab a local craft beer and some out-of-this-world grub (try the truffle mac & cheese or the poutine with duck gravy).
Other non-brewery options for grabbing local craft beer include Summit Saloon, Broken Top Bottle Shop, Brother Jon’s (which has two locations), Riverside Market & Pub, and Platypus Pub. You can also opt to hit one of the local growler fill stations and take your beer to go so you can enjoy it at your Bend vacation rental or Bend hotel.
Help! I want to float the river, but didn’t bring my tube
I feel your pain. Floating the river is one of Bend’s most divine summer pleasures, and on hot weekends, it feels like everyone has the same idea to laze on an inner tube or air mattress while drifting down the Deschutes.
More than once in my 16+ years in Bend, I’ve discovered a hole in my favorite air mattress in mid-July and spent half the afternoon running from Target to Fred Meyer to Walmart, only to discover the shelves cleared out because everyone had the same idea.
The aforementioned shops are all great options, and probably the most popular places to search for air mattresses and other inflatable devices. Big 5 Sporting Goods and BiMart aren’t usually the first places people check, so their shelves are often still stocked after the other guys have run low on inventory.
But if you’re just here for the weekend, why not rent your floaty? Sun Country Tours, Tumalo Creek Kayak & Canoe both offer rental float tubes that are far superior to what you’ll find to purchase on most store shelves. These are professional-quality tubes with handles, mesh bottoms, and plenty of room for you to kick back and relax. Best of all, you won’t have to pass out in the parking lot because you also forgot your air pump.
Not that I’d know anything about that.
Bend is a pretty spectacular place to be any time of year, but there’s something extra-special about Memorial Day Weekend. Maybe it’s that we’re all shifting our gazes to summer, or perhaps it’s the energy from all the out-of-towners flocking here for a long weekend. Or maybe it’s just that there’s so freakin’ much to do. Here are 8 awesome happenings lined up for you between May 23-31 2014:
Jam with The National at Les Schwab Amphitheater (May 23)
Every year I get giddy about the kickoff of Bend concert season at the Les Schwab Amphitheater. This season’s first show takes place Friday evening, May 23, with The National promising a moody blend of indie folk rock. Opening for The National are the Tune Yards. Gates open at 5 p.m. and the music starts at 6:30. If our weather holds out, it looks like it’ll be a rain-free evening with warmer temps in the day. Things cool off quickly at night in Bend, so be sure to dress in layers and bring a blanket or someone warm to snuggle. Low-backed sand chairs are allowed for this show, and there’s a ton of great food and beverages sold inside the venue. Ticket prices range from $39 to $40 and you can purchase them at the gate or right here.
Kick off Central Oregon Beer Week (May 23-31)
Bend’s first big beer fest of the season kicks off Memorial Day Weekend, and it’s a doozy. This year’s Central Oregon Beer Week spans May 23-31, and offers a nine full days of events guaranteed to leave any beer connoisseur drooling. Um, in a good way.
You’ll find a complete calendar here, including fun stuff like growler fill specials, barbecues, live music, karaoke contests, beer education, and more. There’s even an ice cream truck cruising around with beer-themed flavors to enjoy. Bottoms up!
Catch a ballgame at the Bend Elks Youth Baseball Tournament (May 25-27)
Since 2005, the Bend Elks (our local baseball team) have hosted one of the Northwest’s biggest youth baseball tournaments. Even if you’re not the world’s greatest fan of the sport, it’s hard not to be impressed by the backdrop of the Cascade Mountains and the sheer volume of high school athletes journeying here to play their young hearts out. If you’re just showing up to watch, you’ll be happy to know there’s no gate fee. Catch a game or two, eat a hot dog, and feel happy knowing proceeds from team entry fees help support youth baseball in Bend. You can find details and game schedules here.
Happy Girl Half-Marathon, 10k, 5k, and Happy Little Kids’ Run (May 24-25)
Grab your girlfriends and get running! The scenic route starts along the Deschutes River, and includes a mix of gentle trails and paved surfaces. Women will be spoiled with a great goody bag and a fun pre-race expo, plus on-course support (including handsome pacers). Finishers get a cool custom necklace instead of a medal. The expo is Saturday, and the run is Sunday, and you won’t want to miss either. For details and registration, visit the event website.
Opening day for the Saturday Market (May 24-25)
Kick off the 2013 season of the Central Oregon Saturday Market across the street from the Deschutes Public Library. Browse handcrafted jewelry, artwork, clothing, household goods, and more. Normally, this is a Saturday-only event (as you might’ve guessed from the name) but for Memorial Weekend they’re open both Saturday and Sunday. This is always a great spot to grab gifts to take home to friends and family, so bring an extra shopping bag.
Finale weekend at Mt. Bachelor (May 24-25)
I’m not even a skier, and I’m heading up to Mt. Bachelor for their final weekend of the season. This is the place to be if you’re looking to kiss winter goodbye with the ultimate panache. Check out the North American Pond Skimming Championship on Sunday, or enjoy live music and a cold one (or eight) at the annual Brewski celebration of Bend’s craft beer. There’s still plenty of snow for skiing and boarding, so this is your chance to carve a few final turns this season.
Time to break out that fishing rod (May 24)
Bend is known around the country as a mecca, with Fly Fisherman magazine naming the city one of the top fly fishing towns in the nation. Trout season opens on May 24 this year, clearing the way for you to fish lakes and rivers throughout the area. To celebrate, Confluence Fly Shop is having a Trout Season Kickoff Party May 23, complete with discounts, giveaways, beer, and more. You’ll find details here.
Two great bike races for the cycling crowd (May 24 & 25)
Road cyclists rejoice on Saturday in the fast and furious Bend Don’t Break circuit course bike race. A beginner’s clinic that morning gives newbies a chance to prepare, or race hard in the more elite categories. The race is part of the 2013 Oregon Women’s Prestige Series, though there are plenty of men’s categories as well. It’s also part of the Oregon Senior Games this year, so folks in the 50+ category have a chance to vie for a spot in the National Senior Games.
On Sunday, head west to Sisters with your mountain bike strapped to your car, and get ready for the Sisters Stampede. This uniquely-Sisters event lets you race your bike on the beautiful Peterson Ridge Trail in Sisters. Now in its fifth year, this is Oregon’s largest cross country mountain bike race, with 23 different race categories, and a party at the finish line. Each racer gets a goody bag filled with cool schwag, and there’s $1000 in cash prizes up for grabs for the top three men and women in the Pro or Cat 1 categories. For event details and registration, go here. Believe it or not, that’s only a sampling of events happening in and around Bend this weekend. For a complete list, check out the Visit Bend Event Calendar. You can search for cool happenings this weekend or any other weekend you plan to Visit Bend.