Do your New Year’s resolutions involve breaking in the fancy new Fitbit or Apple Watch that Santa tucked under the tree?
Or maybe you’re a longtime fan of fitness trackers, and adept at scoring those extra steps by hoofing it to some distant bathroom at work.
I’ve worn a Fitbit off and on for years, and can tell you the precise number of steps from my desk to the Visit Bend break room (29, thank you very much).
But there are far more scenic and interesting ways to rack up the steps on a Bend vacation. Here are a few of them.
Add hikes to your bucket list
Ever notice how “walking” and “hiking” are mostly the same thing, but one sounds ambitious, and the other sounds like how you reach the cupboard that holds the Twinkies?
Let your feet carry you to the top of Pilot Butte for a few thousand steps on your tracker and the bonus of 360-degree views of the city.
Stroll popular Bend parks like Drake, Shevlin, and Sawyer for a nice serving of steps with a side order of river or creek views.
Nervous about slipping on ice? Get yourself a set of Yaktrax at a Bend gear outfitter, or head someplace like the Oregon Badlands Wilderness, which tends to see lighter snowfall than other spots in Central Oregon.
For more ideas on the best winter hikes in Bend, go here.
Walk for your beer
Back in the early years of the Bend Ale Trail, it was physically possible to walk between all of the breweries in an afternoon (ask me about the time I did it in a @#$% blizzard).
With 18 breweries now part of the program, it’s no longer possible (or medically advisable) to attempt the all-in-a-day thing, but you can still carve out a perfect walking route just for you.
The Downtown Bend core offers a plethora of breweries within walking distance of one another, including Silver Moon, Bend Brewing Company, Deschutes Brewery, and McMenamins.
Head just a hair south for a lap between Immersion, Crux, and the new Monkless taproom. Follow it up with a trot into the Old Mill District for lunch at one of the riverfront restaurants.
You could also do a Galveston Avenue spin to hit 10 Barrel and Sunriver Brewing, with bonus steps down Century Drive to find Good Life.
Don’t forget to grab your Bend Ale Trail atlas at the first stop so you can earn prizes for all your efforts. It also contains a handy map so you can scope out the walking route that’s right for you.
Make it a dog-friendly vacay
The fact that I have two high-energy herding dogs in my home is the reason I seldom have a day where I register fewer than 10,000 steps. Part of it is that the pups insist on getting both a morning and an afternoon walk every single day.
The other part of it is that it’s fun to explore Bend with a four-legged companion.
Bend boasts eight off-leash dog parks, and each has its own unique characteristics. Take Rover to explore them all so you score plenty of extra steps for both of you.
For some added entertainment, watch Fido freak out over ducks in Drake Park or get giddy for squirrels at Pioneer Park. Just be sure he stays leashed to keep all critters safe and keep you from getting a ticket.
There are plenty of dog-friendly hikes in the areas around Bend, and even some winter trails that promise snow play for your pup. Check out the DogPac pages for more info.
Tip: While most areas have dispensers for doody bags, it’s always smart to pack a few extras in your pocket just in case. And please pack them out instead of leaving them trailside like a treasure hunt from hell.
Let the little things add up
Confession: I refill my 32-ounce water mug 6-7 times daily, which makes friends ask, “aren’t you running to the bathroom constantly?” The answer is YES! And guess how many extra steps I get from that?
Not that straining your bladder is a necessity for hitting your step goal, but every little bit counts.
Heading to a Bend restaurant or shopping center? Pick a parking spot that’s a bit farther from your destination and watch the steps add up.
Earn extra credit on your Bend hike by picking a parking spot that’s not right next to the trailhead.
When you’re at your Bend hotel, head for the stairs instead of taking the elevator to reach your floor.
Plan activities that offer fun ways to boost movement. It won’t even feel like exercise to walk around the video arcade at Sun Mountain Fun Center or hit the lanes at a Bend bowling alley.
To really get that heart rate going, try bouncing at Trampoline Zone or Mountain Air to add activity to your tracker and leave you feeling like a kid again!
Shop ‘til you drop
Not that you need an excuse to indulge in a bit of Bend shopping, but it’s an amazing way to earn extra steps.
Stroll Downtown Bend or the Old Mill District to pick up Bend souvenirs and score some awesome sightseeing while you’re at it.
Check out the unique and historic Box Factory with a little side-step to one of the nearby breweries or food cards.
The north end of town is booming with new shops opening constantly and a thriving shopping scene in the Cascade Village Shopping Center.
Fans of outlet malls will find plenty of great shops (not to mention opportunities for extra steps) and the Bend Factory Stores.
Walk with a purpose
There’s no question that all this walking is good for your body, but why not add an element that’s good for your soul, too?
Commit to leaving Bend a bit better than you found it by tucking a trash bag in your pocket while hiking so you can pick up litter along the trail.
Participate in one of the organized volunteer events offered multiple times a year.
If you’ve picked a hotel like Pine Ridge Inn or LOGE Bend or Mt. Bachelor Village Resort that’s not far from the Deschutes River Trail, choose to walk to the trailhead rather than driving there. You’ll not only get the steps, but the satisfaction of helping the environment by reducing your drive time.
For more ideas on making your Bend vacation sustainable and eco-friendly, check out our Visit Like a Local page. You can also take The Bend Pledge for an opportunity to win a Bend vacation just for vowing to take this sustainability thing seriously.