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The best things to do in Bend for July

Kayaking in July in Bend, OR

July marks Bend’s hottest month not in terms of temps, but because more folks flock here than any other time of year. Who can blame them? With sun dappled days, cool nights, and loads of outdoor adventure on trails, lakes, and rivers, July marks the month you can play outside 24/7.

Each season in Bend brings something special, but here’s what’s awesome about July in Bend, Oregon.

Kayaking in July in Bend, OR

July in Bend is the best time for kayaking.

Cool off in rivers, lakes, and pools

Bend’s temperatures soar in July, but there’s no shortage of water waiting to cool your body and calm your soul.

Local lakes and rivers boast an abundance of spots to try standup paddlboarding and kayaking. Add an adrenaline rush to your adventure with a whitewater rafting adventure with Sun Country Tours.

For a more serene river experience, try floating the Deschutes River as it ambles through the Old Mill District and Downtown Bend. The river shuttle runs all month in July so floaters don’t have to walk back to the put-in. Go here to learn everything you need to know about floating the river in Bend.

For other forms of water play, including canoeing, swimming and surfing (yep, really!) follow the links on this page.

And if you’re seeking the chlorinated safety of a hotel pool, this page makes a great starting point to find your perfect July crash pad.

Balloons Over Bend, OR

Balloons Over Bend is one of many beloved events taking place each July.

Celebrate good times

Bend’s quintessential summer event takes place each Independence Day with the annual 4th of July Pet Parade. It’s been going since 1924 with only three missed years (once for World War II, twice for COVID). Besides those blips, the parade draws thousands folks ranging from face-painted kids on bikes to grownups strolling with costumed dogs. The timing and route may vary, but one constant? This all-ages event captures the Bend spirit like nothing else.

Most years, July 4 festivities also include an Old Fashioned Festival in Drake Park, though annual changes mean you should watch the Bend Park & Rec page devoted to all the best Independence Day happenings.

If lighting things on fire is your personal July Fourth tradition, Bend’s not the place for it. Starting in 2021, Bend banned the use and sale for all fireworks in the city limits.Our drought-stricken, fire-prone high desert is a tinderbox waiting for one misplaced spark, so it’s inspiring how folks stick to the rules and protect our fragile landscape. Maybe it’s because the professional fireworks show fired from atop Pilot Butte is so awesome, there’s no need for more. Catch the display from almost anyplace in Bend beginning at 10 p.m. each July 4.

What if you’re feeling festive but can’t make it to Bend for Independence Day? There’s always something to celebrate, including July’s ever-popular Bend Summer Festival featuring live music, food booths, and tons of family fun. 

Balloons Over Bend also happens each July with a fun-filled weekend of hot air balloon launches, the evening Night Glow event, and fun and games with a Children’s Festival.

Smaller festivities sprinkled throughout July mean there’s something happening nearly every weekend, from the Newberry Event Music Festival to the Sisters Quilt Show. For more celebrations taking place around Bend on any given day of July, check our Event Calendar.

Oregon High Desert Classics

From horse jumping to foot races, you’ll find no shortage of competitive events each July in Bend.

Embrace the competitive spirit

If your need for speed heats up with summer’s sweltering temps, July has lots of events to inspire your inner competitor.

Disclaimer: Some longtime Bend events like Tour DesChutes and The Deschutes Dash got shuffled around during COVID times. If you remember an event occurring in July, you may be surprised to learn it’s now a June event, or perhaps they’re opting for virtual competition instead of in-person. When in doubt, check the Event Calendar to find links for specific events in any given year.

That said, many longtime competitions like the High Desert Classic hunter/jumper horse show still fall solidly in July, along with competitions like the Oregon Lacrosse Classic and the High Cascades 100 mountain bike race.

Prefer to enjoy your competitive sporting events with a beer and hot dog in hand? Baseball season for the Bend Elks is in full swing (pun intended) in July, so it’s time to take yourself out to a ballgame.

Downhill mountain biking at Mt. Bachelor

July is the perfect time for downhill mountain biking at Mt. Bachelor.

Plan some high-elevation fun

When July rolls around, Bend’s high-elevation hotspots shake off their blankets of snow to become stunning and accessible hiking trails

Mt. Bachelor morphs from a ski hill to an oasis of summertime fun with sunset dinners spanning July through September, plus activities like disc golf, ziplining, scenic chairlift rides, and their popular downhill bike park.

While most trails and resorts in the Newberry National Volcanic Monument open in May or June, Paulina Peak is the lone holdout that doesn’t open until July. With the snow finally melted from its slopes, this midsummer month marks the perfect time to gain some elevation and fantastic views of the region.

With the Cascade Lakes Scenic Byway fully open, trails you couldn’t reach in February or May become suddenly ripe for the picking. If you’re headed that way, make sure you know the rules for Central Cascades Wilderness Permits. You’ll need to plan ahead and secure a permit for popular hiking areas like Green Lakes and Tam Macarthur. It’s also vital to know snow conditions before you set out, as this varies widely from year to year, week to week. Keep an eye on the Facebook page for the Forest Service’s Deschutes National Forest page, as they often post updates about snow levels.

Bend summer concerts at Hayden Homes Amphitheater

Outdoor concerts are a highlight of July in Bend.

Dance with your toes in the grass

Bend’s outdoor music scene hits its groove in July when all the major venues start cranking up the heat.

Hayden Homes Amphitheater has multiple shows each week throughout July, so scan this post for dates, artists, and everything you need to know about the venue and upcoming concerts.

The first shows kick off in the Clear Summer Nights concert series at the Athletic Club of Bend in July. A smaller venue than Hayden Homes, they attract some truly epic artists at this cozy, intimate concert series.

Don’t miss Live Music Fridays at Oregon Spirit Distillers from July through September. Each week features a different local or regional artist from 6-8 p.m. on their dog-friendly outdoor patio. Shows are free and all ages are welcome when accompanied by an adult 21 and older. Check their event calendar for their assortment of paid concerts featuring bigger acts on different nights of the week.

July also brings Munch and Music, which has been going strong in Drake Park since 1991 with free, family-friendly shows. Bring your own picnic basket, or pick up some grub from a variety of food booths adorning the banks of the Deschutes River.

Hiking near Bend, Oregon

Sticking to marked trails and packing out your trash are two ways to practice sustainable recreation during your Bend hike.

Leave Bend better than you found it

It’s undeniable that July’s increase in visitors leads to some trails and attractions being loved to death. Why not work to leave Bend better than you found it?

Participate in a voluntourism activity like the annual Deschutes River Cleanup. There are multiple stewardship sites to pick from, and you can cap off your day with a relaxing river float.

Consider taking The Bend Pledge to show your intent to bring your very best self to Bend. You can even win a Bend vacation by taking part!

Want to learn more about sustainability efforts aimed at tending Bend’s wild places? Go here for details on the Bend Sustainability Fund, and consider donating through Pledge for the Wild to take care of the places that take care of you during a Bend adventure.

The Bend Adventure Journal

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