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4 good reasons to get up early in Bend, Oregon

old mill district

I am a morning person. My night-owl husband is not.

Sunrise in the Old Mill District (or anywhere else in Bend) is worth getting up a bit earlier during your Bend vacation.

Sunrise in the Old Mill District (or anywhere else in Bend) is worth getting up a bit earlier during your Bend vacation.

I was pondering this the other morning when I was out walking the dog under the most beautiful orangey-pink sunrise and thinking, “Too bad he’s missing this.”

On the other hand, there are some things that will lure him out of bed before the birds start chirping or the last starry-pinpricks have faded away. That got me tallying up things in Bend that are worth rolling out of bed early for, even if you have a chronic love affair with your snooze button.

Here are 4 good reasons to get a super-early start on your day at least once during your Bend vacation.


Did I mention the sunrise?

Bend is famous for its breathtaking cornucopia of color in the morning and evening skies. While just about everyone who visits Bend has witnessed a magnificent sunset firsthand, the sunrises can be a bit more elusive for late-risers. Luckily, that will change this weekend.

Sunrise happens pretty darn early in the first weeks of March (ranging between about 6:20 and 6:45 a.m.) but Daylight Saving Time gives you a nice little bonus in mid-March. In 2016, we spring forward on Sunday, March 13, and for about ten days after that, sunrise will happen between 7:20 and 7 a.m. It gets earlier again after about March 24, so the night-owls among you should seize that special date range to get out and catch the sunrise and still catch a couple extra ZZs.

For a handy reference guide to sunrise and sunset times in Bend, go here.


Mmmm . . . breakfast!

Bend has dozens and dozens of amazing restaurants where breakfast is served daily, and options range from a decadent eggs benedict to grab-and-go breakfasts that make it easy for you to hit the hiking trails early (more on that later).

The blackstone benedict at Chow is a darn good reason to get up early.

The blackstone benedict at Chow is a darn good reason to get up early.

But there are certain breakfast hotspots that are insanely popular among locals and visitors alike, and when you show up ravenous at 9:30 or 10 a.m., it can be frustrating to face an hour-long wait. I know I’m not along when I say that makes me pretty “hangry.”

Which is why it pays to get up a bit earlier if there’s a breakfast spot on your wish list that you know is prone to weekend crowds. A few that leap to mind that are well worth a wait, but so much nicer when you get there earlier and don’t have to wait: Chow, The Victorian Café, McKay Cottage, and Jackson’s Corner (the Westside location—Eastside isn’t usually as packed, so that’s a good option to try, especially on a day you plan to head east anyway for a Badlands hike).

It can vary a bit among restaurants, but generally speaking, showing up around 8 a.m. or earlier will help you avoid the crowds.


Time to fly

One of the best ways to get my night-owl hubby out of bed early is the motivation of an early morning flight. When we’re leaving Bend for vacation and heading someplace exotic, we do our best to get on one of the earliest flights in the 5-6 a.m. range.

The arrival waiting area at RDM airport.

The arrival waiting area at RDM airport.

Did you know RDM offers daily nonstop flights from Seattle, Portland, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Denver, Salt Lake City, and coming soon, Phoenix? Several of those can have you in Bend before noon, which means you’ll be on the ground in time to score a fabulous lunch or hit a few stops along the Bend Ale Trail.

Go here to check flight times in and out of RDM.


Early birds get the worm . . . and the solitude!

Some of the most popular hiking trails around Bend can get pretty packed, particularly once the weather turns warm. That can kinda kill the mood if one of the reasons you’re venturing into the woods in the first place is to commune with nature or find a little peace and solitude.

2014-New-Years-Day-Sunrise-Adventure-5diii-10The earlier you can hit the trail, the better your odds will be of having the place to yourself for at least a little while. Why not kill several early birds with one stone by getting up early for sunrise, snagging the aforementioned grab-and-go breakfast, and then heading out on the hiking trail for your day’s adventure?

This is especially true if you’re hoping to hike at a spot that requires a bit of a drive to reach it. Go here to learn about five spots worth the extra drive time to visit when you’re in Bend. Then plan accordingly and get an early start on the day you want to visit.



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