Fascinating sights and experiences in and around Bend are just waiting to thrill and entertain visitors. Guests can enjoy a range of activities and events during their stay.
Outdoor adventures in any season in Bend are great to explore and be inspired. Try fly fishing, hiking, biking, floating the river or learn about the high desert while staying in one of the nation’s top vacation destinations.
Riverhouse on the Deschutes staff has compiled a list of the top 10 best places you will want to see on your visit to Central Oregon.
The Deschutes River flows through Bend and the Riverhouse on the Deschutes property. Visitors come to fly fish, kayak, canoe and white water raft. One of the local favorites is to float down the river on hot days from the Old Mill District to Drake Park Downtown on your favorite inflatable or inner tube. When you’ve finished, grab a bite and dine alfresco on the CURRENTS patio and watch the water as it flows past the rocks.
2. Tumalo Falls
Cascading water plunges almost 90 feet into a pool at Tumalo Falls. One of the top places to visit in Bend, Tumalo Falls is a great place to explore for hikers, mountain bikers and photographers of all ages and skill levels. Enjoy the majesty of the waterfall from the viewing platform at the bottom or continue the hike up the hill to see many more waterfalls and experience the beauty of Deschutes National Forest.
3. Smith Rock State Park
A magnificent outcropping of red and orange rock towering above the Crooked River, Smith Rock is another great place to explore in Central Oregon. Located 30 minutes from north of Bend off Highway 97. The state park offers hiking trails, climbing and bouldering routes for climbers of all abilities and great views of the Cascades from the top. The infamous monkey face rock formation is located around the corner of the Crooked River and can be accessed by the trail along the river. Beginners and experts will find perfect places to climb, all the while taking in the fantastic views. If climbing or biking isn't your thing, there are plenty of hiking trails or places along the river to enjoy a picnic with the family. Mountain bike trails are nearby to get the blood pumping. Spring and autumn are prime times to visit the park with cooler temperatures and less people.
4. Mt. Bachelor
When it comes to skiing or snowboarding, Mt. Bachelor is the place to get your snow fix and enjoy winter. Blessed with ample snow, plenty of lifts, more than 25 major runs and trails, a cross-country ski lodge and trails and three snowboarding parks, there’s bound to be a route that suits skiers or boarders of all skill levels. Ski school and private lessons are also available. In the summer, Mount Bachelor transforms to offer chair lift rides to Pine Marten Lodge, where you can enjoy lunch with views or sunset dinners. Frisbee golf course and mountain biking trails are also available in the summer months.
5. Lava River Cave
Exploring the Lava River cave is an adventure you’re sure to remember and one of the top tourist experiences in Central Oregon. The lava tube is a geological wonder and will provide excitement for the whole family. Make sure to bring flashlights, sturdy shoes for sure footing and a warm jacket as it can be chilly underground. This is a great adventure for a hot summer day.
6. Les Schwab Amphitheater & The Old Mill District
When it comes to outdoor music concerts and venues, the Les Schwab Amphitheater located close by in the Old Mill District hosts a variety of musical acts, local bands as well as top national performers. Find out who is coming to Bend this summer. The Old Mill District offers shopping, dining and movies all while along the Deschutes River. Paved trails are available for biking and walking. Bike rentals are available in the Old Mill as well.
7. Lava Lands Visitor Center & Newberry National Volcanic Monument
There are a number of volcanic features in and around the Bend are that were created thousands of years ago. At Lava Lands Visitors Center, you can explore trails and learn about the volcanic activity in the area from forest rangers and interpretive displays. The Newberry National Volcanic Monument seeks to preserve these sights with its 55,500 acres encompassing trails through lava fields with past cones, vents and a caldera. It’s a great place to learn about the destructive and creative forces of nature and geology. Go to the top of Lava Butte to view the extinct cinder cone or walk along the lava lands interpretive trail.
8. High Desert Museum
Bend has long been known as the place where the forest meets the desert. Learn about the history and wildlife of its dry environment at the High Desert Museum. With art shows, living-history exhibits and desert dwellers such as bobcats, porcupines and birds of prey to greet visitors, the museum is a local Bend favorite. It's a combination of zoo, museum and entertainment that is great for all ages. Changing exhibits means there is always something new to explore and discover.
9. Brew Bus Tour
Enjoy amazing microbrews with Wanderlust Tours and then relax in the grand accommodations of the beautiful Riverhouse on the Deschutes. Have Wanderlust tours meet you at the front lobby and whisk you away to enjoy some of the best craft beers and insider brewery peeks of FOUR of Bend's outstanding local watering holes. Tours are age 21 and older only. Run 1:30pm-5:30pm Reservation required 72 hours in advance. Rate subject to availability. Package priced per person. MUST be 21 or older.
10. Pilot Butte
Another photo opportunity is Pilot Butte, an extinct cinder-cone located within Bend’s city limits. With its panoramic views of the city and the Cascade Mountains, Pilot Butte is the most-visited Oregon State Park east of the Cascades. It’s a short, steep hike to the top but the rewards are great. In the summertime, the road to the top is open and you can drive your vehicle to experience the views from the top.