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5 ways to get your adrenaline fix when you vacation in Bend

mountain biking

After readers requested a blog post on daredevil activities in Bend and Central Oregon, I conquered my fears and went bungee jumping to prove I’m strong, courageous, and dedicated.

Just kidding. What I actually did is persuade two less-weenie coworkers to do it, which is almost the same thing.

Not a bad spot for some bungee jumping, eh?

Not a bad spot for some bungee jumping, eh?

My wimpy nature aside, there are several great ways to enjoy a bit of adventure and a small (or not-so-small) adrenaline rush when you’re in Bend. Here are five of them.


Go bungee jumping!

First things first, since this is the most buzzed-about adventure in Central Oregon right now. Earlier this summer, Central Oregon Bungee Adventures began offering bungee jumping off the high bridge over the Crooked River at the Ogden Scenic Viewpoint 29 miles north of Bend. It’s the first time in history that Oregon has approved a commercial bungee jumping operation at any State Park, so it’s kind of a big deal (not to mention the 250-foot drop makes it one of the highest bungee jumping experiences open to the public in North America).

Since I’m too wimpy to attempt it on my own, I recruited my colleagues Hank Therien and Jason Lusk to do it in my stead, while our marketing director, Nate Wyeth, filmed the whole thing. Since Hank is 6’8” and 250+ pounds, we all worried he’d test the limits of the bungee system, but it turned out there was nothing to fear. Jumpers can be anywhere from 90-290 pounds, and owner James Scott did a fabulous job answering questions and putting both guys at ease.

Getting ready to jump!

Getting ready to jump!

Even so, Hank admitted beforehand he was nervous. “Heights is one of my big fears,” he said. “Doing this is an easy way for me to push my own boundaries and it is an easy way to get my adrenaline pumping, but I will be physically shaking on the platform I’m sure.”

So how did it go? “I expected to have more time to think about it and talk myself out of jumping, but they did a great job of coaching before I got up onto the platform, so once I got ready there was very little downtime in which to chicken out,” he shared. “The other surprise was how gentle it was to hit the end of the bungee. I had assumed that hitting the end of the cord would be more violent.”

Both guys said they’d do it again, and encouraged other thrill-seekers to give it a shot. If nothing else, the views from that bridge are killer (er, sorry—wrong word choice).

To learn more about the schedule and pricing, check out the website.


Ride the zipline at Crater Lake!

Bend is a popular home base for those eager to make the two-hour trek to Crater Lake National Park, so why not make your visit extra special by riding a zipline through the treetops along the fringes of this famous landmark?

Wheeeee! Here's what you'll experience when you ride the Crater Lake Zipline.

Wheeeee! Here’s what you’ll experience when you ride the Crater Lake Zipline.

Crater Lake Zipline opened earlier this summer, becoming the only tree-based canopy tour on U.S. Forest Service Land. The 1.5 mile course offers views of Crater Lake’s nearby rim, along with vistas of Upper Klamath Lake, Mt. Mcloughlin, and Pelican Butte. The course is made up of nine different ziplines, with two of them measuring a quarter-mile each. You’ll also conquer two sky bridges suspended in the trees, rappel from platform to platform on their special DEUS descent, and end with a QuickJump Rappel 55 feet to the forest floor.

Riders must be 10 years old and weigh between 70 and 250 pounds. The trip takes roughly 2.5 hours, though it can take a little longer for those moving at a slower pace. For pricing and schedule info, check their website.


Go gliding for an ultralight experience!

I’ll admit it—this one scares the bejeezus out of me more than any of the others, but for the ultimate adrenaline rush, check out Airborne Outback Adventures. They offer a variety of scenic flights and aerial tours, including powered hang gliders, helicopter tours, and more.

But the thing that really stands out is their special ultralight trike. Part tricycle, part hang glider, this thing offers the ultimate rush, and the ultimate way to see sights like Smith Rock State Park and the surrounding mountain peaks of Central Oregon.

A certified instructor with more than 27 years of experience will be your guide, and a camera mounted to the wing will record your whole adventure for a lifetime of bragging rights.

For rates and schedule info, go here.


Waterfalls! Mountain biking! Hiking! Get it all with the Paulina Plunge!

Sliding down a waterfall is the ultimate rush.

Sliding down a waterfall is the ultimate rush.

At last, an adventure I’m not too chicken to try! In fact, I had the pleasure of doing the Paulina Plunge last summer with my husband and step-kids, and it was one of our all-time favorite outings with just a touch of adrenaline to give us a bit of a rush.

So what’s the Paulina Plunge? In a nutshell, it’s a full day of mountain biking, hiking, and visits to half-a-dozen pristine waterfalls for swimming, jumping, and sliding. The hiking is fairly tame, and the mountain biking is mostly downhill, which is a plus for less-experienced riders.

But it’s the waterfalls that make this outing truly unique. The highlight for us was a pair of natural waterfall slides where guests can slide down on their bellies or sitting upright. A bigger waterfall further down the trail provides a great swimming hole and pounding natural massage.

You can visit the Paulina Plunge website for pricing and schedule info, or read this blog post for a blow-by-blow account of my family’s experience last summer.


Get the adrenaline pumping with an Airsoft battle!

Let’s call this one “adrenaline lite.” For those who don’t want to go plunging off a bridge or waterfall, why not keep your feet planted firmly on the ground and try an action-infused game of airsoft instead?

Peak Airsoft recently opened an indoor arena in Bend to provide a safe, fun, fast-paced, adrenaline – filled action experience.  For those who’ve never heard of it, Airsoft is the generic name for air-powered toy guns that shoot small, plastic BBs.
Playing at Peak Airsoft’s indoor arena revolves around loosely-guided, objective-based game modes requiring teamwork and strategy to complete the tasks assigned to each team.  All equipment is provided, including electric M4-style rifles and full face protection.  If it sounds like serious stuff, I’m assured it isn’t. Belly-laughs are par for the course, and this makes a fun family or corporate outing.

Guests can drop in for open play sessions or book a private party.  For info and pricing, go here.

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