Bend, Oregon is a magical place to visit in winter, offering an enchanting array of attractions to make your vacation dreams come true.
The Central Oregon playground is ideally suited as a winter getaway destination, with diverse activity options from snow sports to some of the best breweries in the US, wineries, distilleries and the festive charms of Downtown Bend.
Dry, deep powder attracts skiers and snowboarders to Central Oregon’s mountains during the winter months, while forests and sno-parks host cross-country skiers, sledders, tubers, sled-dog teams, snowmobiles and more. And there are plenty of ways to relax and recharge après-ski – such as reclining in a cozy lodge or around the fire pit with a dark winter beer.
Bend, Oregon is rightly acclaimed as a great place to plan a winter vacation, with many activities available during the season and the High Desert providing the perfect climate for your wintery cold weather travel destination.
Here is a list of a few of our favorite things to do in Bend to explore this winter wonderland.
Winter Sports in Central Oregon
Bend and Central Oregon offer two popular nearby mountain ski resorts providing plenty of skiing and snowboarding opportunities. Beyond the lift ticket scene, there is also the chance to enjoy cross-country skiing, snowmobiling, and sledding at various sno-parks dotted around the area. Or you can stick closer to town and plan a family trip to one of several ice-skating rinks. The options are endless and make for a fun-packed vacation.
Skiing and Snowboarding
If you’re planning a winter trip to Central Oregon, you will find ample options for swooping down powder-dusted slopes whether you prefer snow play with a pair of skis or a board. Mt. Bachelor just 22 miles from Bend, has been named “One of the Top 25 Ski Resorts” in the Country by Ski Magazine, stands tall as the model of a complete snowsports resort, offering 360-degree lift-served groomed skiing and riding from its 9,000-foot-plus volcanic summit. The volcanic cone has more than 4,300 acres of lift-accessible territory and 101 runs (including 15 at beginner level) and the highest skiable elevation in all of Oregon and Washington. Just 44 miles west of Bend, Hoodoo Ski Area sits on the summit of Oregon’s Santiam Pass and is the state’s most centrally located destination for winter sports enthusiasts. It offers more than 800 acres of terrain, 34 runs, five lifts, one of the largest tubing parks in the West, and is the only resort in Central Oregon that offers night skiing.
Snowshoeing, Sledding, and Sno-Parks
Wherever there is snow cover in Central Oregon, there’s an opportunity to snowshoe. Marked snowshoe routes at Virginia Meissner and Swampy Lakes Sno-Parks off Century Drive on the way to Mt. Bachelor are two main areas where snowshoers can find trails, warming huts and solace in the Deschutes National Forest. Wanderlust Tours, takes small groups into lesser known sections of the forest, including for memorable moonlight or bonfire trips. One of the best places to be for family sledding fun is Wanoga Sno-Park, off Century Drive. There’s ample parking and plenty of room to sled, toboggan or inner tube. In Sunriver, SHARC has its own snow-tubing hill, and Hoodoo’s AutoBahn Tubing park is one of the largest in the country. The region’s 14 Sno-Parks in the pristine foothills of the Cascades, are full of day-trip backcountry adventures for snowshoers, sledders, cross-country skiers, mushers, snowmobilers and fat-tire bikers looking for powdery fun, no chairlift required.
Snowmobiling in the Cascade Mountains
Bend has garnered a reputation as one of the Northwest’s truly epic spots for snowmobiling. The Mt. Bachelor trail system alone spans more than 250 miles into acres of backcountry brimming with open snowfields and old growth pines as well as breathtaking views. Central Oregon Adventures, Inc. offers two- and four-hour snowmobile tours leaving from Wanoga Sno-Park.
Bend has plenty of options for ice-skating escapades. The Pavilion in Bend is Central Oregon’s only full NHL-sized ice rink, complete with a 200′ by 85′ ice sheet with a state-of-the art system that ensures quality ice even in marginal weather. For a more intimate experience, head to Seventh Mountain Resort and its cozy ice rink nestled in the trees. The Village at Sunriver, located 10 miles south of Bend, offers a covered ice-skating rink during the winter months, while just up the road downtown Redmond boasts a snug 4,000 square foot rink open seven days a week during the winter months.
Bend Breweries, Wineries, & Distilleries
Bend, Oregon is known for its craft beer and many breweries, but there is also a wide variety of local wineries, wine bars, and award-winning distilleries in the area that offer tastings and tours. The winter season is the perfect time to enjoy the local spirits.
Bend boasts some 18 famous breweries but also has a robust craft cider scene including Avid Cider Co., which showcases some of the unique fruits that grow around the Pacific Northwest. Micros distilleries include award-winning Bendistillery in nearby Tumalo and Oregon Spirit Distillers is within walking distance from the Waypoint Hotel.
Downtown Bend in Winter
Downtown Bend is nothing short of magical in the winter season. Stroll the historic Wall and Bond streets downtown, complete with sparkling lit wreaths and lampposts, while enjoying the festive spirit in the air. Downtown offers an abundance of unique shopping with stores offering both fashion and fun, as well as award-winning restaurants, state of the art spa services and regular entertainment and events. Just south of downtown, The Old Mill District along the Deschutes River has a host of familiar stores along with movie theaters and restaurants.
Winter Lodging at Waypoint Hotel
The Waypoint Hotel is a unique newly renovated venue located just off Highway 97 in Bend’s Mid-Town. This hotel includes a spacious lobby featuring eight local brews and ciders on tap, outdoor fire pits, and an on-site food truck serving comfort food. Just around the corner from the Waypoint Hotel you’ll find several brewpubs and a distillery. A convenient grab-and-go breakfast is complimentary with each night’s stay – especially welcome when you are headed out early to hit the slopes. Book your winter vacation lodging today!