Blink and you’ll miss it! Spring in Bend is short, but oh–so sweet.
To help you get the most out of this fleeting season, here are some of our favorite things to do in Bend during the spring. And because the season straddles the snowy winter and the delightful warm days of summer, you can do such a wide range of activities this time of year. You can even go skiing and golfing in the same day — or travel by tube down a snowy hill before hitting the river.
No matter what you decide to do, the diverse terrain and beautiful scenery in Bend makes spring a magical time of year. How many of these activities can you knock off your to-do list this year?
COVID NOTE: Check the website for each business or destination before your visit. And as always, be sure to maintain a 6-foot distance from others and wear a face covering while in public places.
Embark on an Adventure With Wanderlust Tours
Wanderlust Tours provides half-day guided tours and trips throughout the year in Bend, Sunriver and Sisters. During the spring, Wanderlust Tours include kayak and canoe tours, craft beverage tours, lava tube caves and volcano tours, and photography tours. The lava cave and volcano tours are especially unique experiences — providing a rare glimpse at some of the extreme highs and lows in Central Oregon. Become immersed in nature with one of Wanderlust Tours’ action-packed tours.
Sure, spring makes us excited about warmer, sunnier days ahead, but we all know there are still plenty of colder days on the forecast. Help make your time outside a bit more tolerable by soaking in a natural hot spring! Hot springs mysteriously merge science with relaxation in a unique and unexplainable way. Central Oregon is home to a number of hot springs, including Bigelow Hot Springs, Cougar Hot Springs and Paulina Lake Hot Springs. Learn more about these hot springs and others in Oregon and Southwest Washington here!
During a warm spring day, there’s nothing quite like a scenic cruise in a kayak — and thankfully we have an iconic river conveniently located in the middle of town. Nestled along the mighty Deschutes River just north of the Old Mill District, Tumalo Creek Kayak & Canoe has everything you need for a successful day on the river. Here, you can rent kayaks, canoes and rafts for just a couple of hours or for 24 hours! Your rental comes with all the equipment you need, including flotation devices, paddles, and other optional gear you can purchase. Click here to see Tumalo Creek Kayak & Canoe’s COVID policies.
Mount Bachelor has one of the longest ski seasons in the country, typically extending from mid-November through the end of May. That means you can go skiing and snowboarding on this 9,068-foot mountain well into the spring season. Don’t miss Woodward Mountain Park, a network of featured terrain zones that offer a balanced variety of exciting on-mountain experiences for all ages and abilities. Plus, there’s so much more to do at Mount Bachelor no matter the season — check out our guide for more activities and tips!
Visit Smith Rock State Park
All year long, visitors flock to Smith Rock State Park, a massive 641-acre state park in nearby Terrebonne with both deep river canyons and towering rock formations. But during the spring, Smith Rock State Park is an absolutely spectacular sight to see — and one of our favorite hiking destinations in the area. There is so much to explore within the park, whether you like to hike, mountain climb, camp, bike, run or simply admire nature and wildlife. The park is open from dawn to dusk year-round and the day use fee is $5 per vehicle. Spring is an ideal time to visit, as temperatures aren’t quite as hot as the summer, when it can reach 100 degrees!
Go Rafting With Sun Country Tours
Starting in May, opt for a more action-packed adventure with a river rafting trip with Sun Country Tours. Their most popular and convenient rafting trip is the Big Eddy Thriller, which features Class III rapids. The company provides transportation to and from the river, all equipment needed, and expert guiding to make your adventure more enjoyable and safe. The 3-mile journey will provide an unforgettable experience that will leave you breathless and wanting more. Click here for Sun Country Tour’s latest information and FAQs about COVID-19 and their policies.
Promising lots of sunshine, mountain views, towering trees and an overall dry climate, Central Oregon is an exceptional place to go golfing. And thankfully, there is no shortage of courses to choose from, whether you’re a resident looking to pick up the sport as a hobby or an avid golfer traveling here for a golf getaway. Tee off at one of the best courses in Central Oregon, including several in the heart of Bend and others in more remote locations, from Prineville to Sunriver. Personally, we think they’re better than par.
Drink a Beer
Photo Courtesy of Sunriver Brewing Co.
After all this adventure, you’re sure to be craving an ice-cold beer. And thankfully, Bend is without a doubt a craft beer mecca. In fact, Bend has the highest microbrewery per capita in Oregon and has even been called Beer City USA. There are over 22 breweries in Bend and an estimated 91,122 residents, which means there is one brewery for every 4,142 humans. Plus, there are other renowned breweries in surrounding towns, including Redmond, Sunriver and Sisters. Get to know a handful of our favorite breweries in the Bend area — then pick up a six-pack to-go or enjoy one or two on the patio.
Visit High Desert Museum
If the weather doesn’t allow for outdoor adventures, consider a visit to the High Desert Museum, a unique museum revealing the natural world and cultural history of the high desert region through artful exhibits, alluring animals, engaging programs, and meaningful history. Visitors have an opportunity to get up close and personal with native wildlife such as river otters, bobcat and birds of prey, see intriguing art, chat with historic characters, visit an authentic homestead and sawmill from 1904, learn about Native American culture and history, and much more! At this time, the interior exhibits at the museum are open, but timed tickets are strongly recommended.
Take a Wildflower Hike
Hiking in Central Oregon is a year-round sport — but the scenery is made all the better during the spring, when tiny desert flowers start to bloom and snow-capped mountains loom overhead in the distance. Iron Mountain is a popular wildflower hike in the area. Situated just east of Sweet Home near Tombstone Pass, this out-and-back hike is an excellent place to see wildflowers. You’ll discover over 300 species of plants and wildflowers, in addition to about 17 tree species. Travel along fairly steep switchbacks to encounter views of Mount Jefferson, the Three Sisters, and a variety of wildflowers during the spring. Click here for more jaw-dropping wildflower hikes in Central Oregon — and elsewhere in the region.
At the start of the pandemic and all through the summer, we saw many restaurants in Bend get creative with extended outdoor patio seating, allowing for distanced seating and the ultimate ventilation for diners. We’re thrilled to welcome some more warm weather so we can sit outside, eat great food, and support our favorite restaurants. Click here for a list of restaurants in Bend offering outdoor dining and here for a list of Old Mill District restaurants, which lists their various offerings, including takeout and outdoor seating.
No matter how you spend your time, enjoy your spring in Bend! With our ever-present sunshine, snow-capped mountains and local attractions, it’s hard not to.