Bend, Oregon

Photo: Dustin Mitsch via City of Bend
Photo: Dustin Mitsch via City of Bend

To call you an outdoor enthusiast is a bit of an understatement. You try to go running or biking each evening after work. Summer weekends are spent swimming, hiking, and rock climbing. You plan vacations around skiing and whitewater rafting. While you sneak in fishing and golf whenever you get the chance. So how have you not been to Bend yet?

Bend sits in Central Oregon along the Deschutes River and the eastern edge of the Cascade Range. It’s where a dense ponderosa pine forest thins into arid land. Extinct volcanoes rise above the flattening plains. Plus peaceful lakes fill old craters. This is where Native Americans used to fish and hunt. Fur trappers arrived in the early 19th century. A logging town was established a century later. Today, with its historic downtown and breathtaking surroundings, Bend is considered one of the best places to live in the entire country.

Your first stop is the Oxford Hotel. The boutique hotel is chic, despite focusing on being green and organic. Your suite is spacious with both a living and kitchen area. Locally roasted coffee and loose-leaf tea sit by a French press. Locally sourced ingredients are served at 10below downstairs. Cruiser bikes sit outside. While the friendly staff is happy to fill you in on the best beers along the Bend Ale Trail, which features 16 local breweries.

Photo: The Oxford Hotel
Photo: The Oxford Hotel

The area’s breweries—plus wineries and distilleries—can wait though. You’re here to play outside. Pilot Butte, a volcano that’s now a cinder cone hill, rises 500 feet above the plains. A scenic road winds up and around the butte, a nearly two-mile trail wraps around its base, and two more trails lead to the summit. From the top, you have views of the Cascade peaks—including the Three Sisters, Broken Top, and Mount Bachelor—and the city of Bend. It’s the perfect place to get your bearings.

From there, your options seem endless. The Horse Lava Tube System, where lava flow created tubes and caves, lies at the eastern edge of the city. The Cascade Lakes Scenic Byway passes 14 lakes and the Mount Bachelor ski area, which mountain bikers rule right now. Newberry National Volcanic Monument is home to two alpine lakes full of trout. Plus the Three Sisters Wilderness area features more than 250 miles of trails. There’s a lot to keep you busy and active in Bend.

By the time you’re sipping a Crush Cucumber Sour at 10 Barrel Brewing at the end of the weekend, you’re already thinking about your next adventure in Bend. A long weekend might not cut it next time though.

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