The best time to visit Bend, Oregon


Bend, Oregon sees four distinct seasons per year, each with its own draw. From winter sports like skiing and ice skating to swimming and horseback riding in the summer, there’s plenty to do in Bend, whatever the weather.

Despite varying temperatures, Bend sees an average of 300 days or more of sunshine each year. What more can visitors ask for? Whether you’re looking to come to Bend to ski, hike, golf, or fish, here are the best times to visit.

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“Ski” the mountain during Bend’s snow season, December through March

The snow season in Bend offers endless opportunities for outdoor enthusiasts willing to brave the cold – skiing and snowboarding top the list. Mt Bachelor, Hoodoo and Willamette Pass are the closest ski runs to Bend. Mt Bachelor is well known for its expansive 360 ​​degree terrain as well as its adaptive sports program, aimed at people with special needs.

For a night ski session, affordable lift tickets and ski-biking, Hoodoo is the best choice. Snowmobiling, Nordic cross-country skiing, skate skiing, snowshoeing, sledding and fat-tire biking are popular at Dutchman Flat, Virginia Miesner and Wanoga snowparks, and are easily accessible, all for the price of one. sno-park permit. Be prepared to share the trails with an abundance of winter enthusiasts.

Other attractive winter sports options include ice skating at the Seventh Mountain River Company, the Bend Pavillion, or the Sunriver Rink. Dog sledding with Oregon Trail of Dreams is also popular with visitors. For a top-notch adventure, get picked up by Elk Lake Lodge in a Snowcat Suburban and driven to the full-service lodge for a beer or a meal. Or extend your trip by spending the night in one of the on-site cabins.

The low spring season (April-May) highlights the flowering of wildflowers

April showers bring May flowers and changeable weather, which puts off some visitors. But as the weather in spring quickly swings between intermittent rain, cold, cloud cover and bright sunshine, the wildflowers are bursting.

Central Oregon’s spring features a unique variety of wildflowers, flowers, and blooms that appear in neighborhoods and desert landscapes. After the elevation, flowers such as native water lilies burst into town first and can be seen on the lower flanks of Pilot Butte. Oregon grape and manzanita flowers follow. If you find the lower elevations flowery, head for the hills. Higher elevations will slowly bloom in tears like falling dominoes uphill as heat and sun exposure increase.

Take a similar approach to spring mushroom hunting.

Overview of Washington, Oregon and the Pacific Northwest

Snowbirds flock to Bend during the summer, from June to September

Many visitors only venture to central Oregon in the summer. With two dozen golf courses in Bend alone, retirees come for the driving ranges and 18-hole amenities. Resorts like Brasada Ranch, Black Butte Ranch, and Pronghorn offer an immersive experience, with additional family options including horseback riding and swimming.

When the midday sun is out, locals tend to head to the Deschutes River. There are many hotspots throughout Bend for swimming and launching kayaks, canoes, and paddleboards. Favorite parks for water access include McKay, Miller’s Landing, Harmon, First-street Rapids, Riverbend, and Farewell Bend Parks.

Perhaps the most iconic summer activity of all is floating down the Deschutes River on an inner tube. Stop at Bend Park & ​​Float to get set up with a tube and shuttle, or a BYO tube. You can easily walk back to your car after the float in about half an hour. Launch at Riverbend Park and exit at Drake Park.

Anglers love the fall season from October to November

Bend often sees warm weather well into late fall, which can last until Thanksgiving. The summer crowds have subsided, the kids are back in school, and the fish (especially rainbow trout) are jumping. Littleleaf Guide Services and Nate’s Rogue Adventures offer guided fishing trips on the Lower Deschutes River, north of Bend. Anglers can also be seen in town trying their hand at casting for a brookie or brown trout.

Be sure to go for a drive and admire the beauty of the fall leaves as they reach their peak color. If you’ve been to the east coast for this hobby, you know how striking the color change of fluorescent yellow, orange and pink leaves can be. Aspens and groves are particularly noteworthy, as well as the golden hue of larches among their evergreen counterparts.

Skiers descend on the slopes during the winter months © Jordan Siemens / Getty Images

January is for discounts and après-ski kick-offs

Many mountain resorts in central Oregon and beyond hold discount days and other discount days in January. Local watering holes and restaurants host après-ski (apres-ski) events, including concerts and social hours.

Go out with Winterfest in February

Every February, Bend throws a festival weekend like no other. Winterfest features dueling stages, food carts, and seasonal crafters. Dance in the cold night air while sipping a micro-infusion with all your favorite snow buddies.

The key events: winter party

Bend is popular for spring breakers in March

Many families descend on Bend for a fantastic spring break on the ski slopes. It’s a good time to go snowshoeing and enjoy the last activities of the winter season.

A group of people rafting in a rubber raft on the Deschutes River
Whitewater rafting is a popular activity on the Deschutes River near Bend, Oregon © Bob Pool/Shutterstock

Whitewater rafting in April

If you’re kayaking or whitewater rafting, you’ll be drawn to high desert rivers in April for their high water flows. With snow beginning to melt in the mountains and rain falling often, experience the out-of-control floodwaters as you cruise the whitewater.

To visit at the beginning of May to quietly enjoy the good weather

Beat the crowds by heading to Bend before Memorial Day. Chances are the weather will be pretty nice and you’ll get the most out of Bend before the busy summer months.

You never know what it will do in June or ‘Jun-uary’

Although June is peak season in Bend, no one is ever quite sure of the weather. Sometimes it snows, other times it’s summer. Prepare for anything!

Have a 4th of July the old fashioned way

If you happen to visit around Independence Day, you won’t want to miss the 4th of July fireworks festival. Start the day with live music, great food and kids games, and end it with the fireworks launched from the top of Pilot Butte

The key events: 4th of July Fireworks Festival, 4th of July Fireworks on the Warm Springs Preserve

Art and music festivals abound in August

If you love art exhibits, check out more than 100 works by visual artists on display at Art in the High Desert, or the work of local metal artists at the Central Oregon Metal Arts Guild’s annual exhibit, both in august. Classical music fans won’t want to miss the Sunriver Music Festival, and foodies should head to Munch & Music in Drake Park on Thursday nights for live music and great food.

The key events: Art in the High Desert, Central Oregon Metal Arts Guild annual show, Sunriver Music Festival, Munch & Music

Fly Fishing in Bend Oregon
September is a great month to fish in Bend. Here, a fly fisherman casts his line in a stretch of the Metolius River, a tributary of the Deschutes River © RyanJLane / Getty Images/iStockphoto

Go fishing in September

Early fall is a great time to visit – temperatures still reflect the heat of summer, but the kids are back in school and the crowds have subsided. This month also begins fall fishing for rainbow trout and salmon – keep an eye out for public salmon pastries.

The key events: Salmon Run, Mill-Luck Salmon Celebration

Fall fun is everywhere in October

The Old Mill district hosts a kid-friendly Halloween, complete with trick-or-treating and more, while many other venues around town host adult-only festivities. Smith Rock Ranch is popular this month, with its pick-your-own pumpkin patch, corn maze, and pumpkin catapult. October also kicks off several design and arts festivals.

The key events: Halloween in the Old Mill, Bend Design Week, Bend Venture Conference, Bend Film Festival

November harvest festival

Despite its dry climate, the high desert attracts an abundance of locally grown food every year, and November is usually the height of harvest season. This is your last chance to discover local farms before the winter season.

The key events: Veterans Day Parade on the Warm Springs Reservation

Enter the holiday season in December

Visit Bend in December for the best holiday events. See locals decorate their canoes and boats with lights as they float down the Deschutes River in the Old Mill neighborhood for the Winter Holiday Lights Paddle Parade. Or watch a nighttime light show at Sunriver Resort. Bend and Prineville also hold spectacular annual parades during the holidays.

The key events: Winter Holiday Lights Paddle Parade, Sunriver Resort Holiday Lights Shows


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