If I had a nickel for each time I’m asked to craft the perfect Bend itinerary, I’d have enough nickels to buy a dozen of everything on this holiday gift list.
Most recently, I crafted winter itineraries for the ultimate family trip and the ideal friends’ getaway. You can check those out here.
But what about other Bend itineraries? The ones with a specific focus you might not see everywhere? Here are three specialized mini-itineraries to help you plan your best winter trip to Bend.
Gimme all the snow
If you’re visiting Bend from a city that’s not blanketed in white, the urge to gobble goblets of fresh powder is powerful.
Kick things off right with a moonlight snowshoe outing with Wanderlust Tours. They’ll provide all the gear, transportation, and snacks, along with a skilled naturalist guide. They offer daytime tours as well, if you’re arriving earlier in the afternoon.
For lodging, pick a spot along Century Drive so you’ve got a straight trajectory to Mt. Bachelor. Pine Ridge Inn, LOGE Camp, and Mt. Bachelor Village Resort are all excellent choices with different variations of the cozy, ski village vibe you’re seeking.
Following your snooze, hit the road early to be first on the slopes at Mt. Bachelor. There, you’ll find a cornucopia of snow-fueled goodness including skiing, snowboarding, dog sled tours, Nordic skiing, and the famous Snowblast Tubing Park.
If you’ve still got gas in the tank after a day of snow play, plan a stop at one of the local Sno-Parks for some cross-country skiing, or rent a fat bike to hit the snowy trails on two wheels. For a change of pace that still involves frozen water, take a twirl on the ice at The Pavilion.
Then wrap things up by hitting Hoodoo Ski Area. Their season will kick off any day now, and they even offer night skiing to help you pack in every last ounce of powder.
None of that fluffy stuff for me, please
While some folks imagine Bend blanketed in white from November through April, the truth is that the city proper gets much less snowfall than you’d think. The average Bend snowfall is 33.8 inches, versus an average of 160-180-inches at Mt. Bachelor just 22 miles up the hill.
What that means is that it’s fairly easy to avoid the white stuff if that’s not your jam.
Instead, focus on an urban Bend adventure. Park yourself in the heart of the city with a room at The Oxford Hotel or Wall Street Suites (or opt for slightly more budget-friendly lodging at the Doubletree by Hilton).
From your Downtown digs, you’ll have an easy time walking to Bend’s best happy hours at hotspots like Dogwood Cocktail Cabin or Astro Lounge. Make dinner reservations at prime dining locations like 5 Fusion, 900 Wall, Bos Taurus, or Zydeco, and know you’ll get a mouthwatering meal without having to hop in your car.
Sprinkle some culture into your Bend adventure by catching a show at the historic Tower Theatre. You can take in the Roundabout Art Route all on your own, or book an Art Safari Tour with Bend Tour Company for a behind-the-scenes glimpse at Bend’s booming art scene.
While Downtown Bend offers an endless bounty of shopping, expand your horizons by strolling the Box Factory, which is packed with fun shops and mouthwatering eateries. Continue your exploration of Bend’s prime shopping districts with a jaunt into the Old Mill District and a chance to stroll alongside the stunning Deschutes River with a warm mug of cocoa in hand.
Travels with Rover
Want the ultimate dog-friendly winter vacation in Bend? Start by perusing this page for pet-friendly lodging. The Riverhouse boasts easy access to the river trail for prime dog walking, or give your pooch a pinch of luxury at The Oxford Hotel. You can also scope out the boutique camping and RV experience at The Camp, whether you’re pulling your own trailer or rent one of theirs.
Now that you’ve got your dog-friendly digs, it’s time to explore. The folks at DogPac offer an awesome roundup of dog-friendly trails for both winter and summer. I’m a big fan of the Oregon Badlands Wilderness for its acres and acres of off-leash exploration. Just be sure to bring extra water, since it’s a dry desert out there.
For pups who do best when contained, Bend boasts a whopping eight (yep, EIGHT!) off-leash dog parks. My personal fave is the fully-fenced 18.8 acre Bob Wenger Memorial Off-Leash Area on the northeast end of town. From trails to grassy fetching areas, your pooch will find plenty to wag about.
With all that outdoor frolicking, Fido’s getting stinky. Swing by Bend Pet Express to hit the U-Wash dog station, or leave the sudsing to their talented groomers while you browse for treats and dog toys.
Need a little time apart from your pup so you can scope out some of Bend’s dog-free offerings? You’ll find oodles of great pet sitters, doggy daycares, and even a dog hotel in Bend.
Cap off your dog-friendly winter vacay with dinner out for the two of you. Perhaps a fireside spot on the O’Kanes dog-friendly patio, or try another Bend Ale Trail when you cozy up by the fire at Worthy Brewing. Both Worthy and Sunriver Brewing even offer special menu items just for dogs, so Fido will truly feel like part of the pack.