Bend Summer Activities: 9 Ways to Experience the Great Outdoors
Bend, Oregon, offers four seasons of adventure packed with things to do. In the summer, visitors flock to this mountain town for water recreation, action-packed thrills and a climate perfect for exploration. From laid-back tours to renown fly fishing and golf, Bend delights outdoor enthusiasts. Read on to learn about the top Bend summer activities.
Top Bend Summer Activities for Your Central Oregon Vacation
River Rafting and Tubing
With a location on Deschutes River, Bend welcomes thrill-seekers to ride rapids or float all day. Three companies offer white-water rafting tours in the area, ensuring everyone has a good time and stays safe.
Among the top-rated, Sun Country Tours offers five rafting tours ranging in time and experience. The 3-mile Big Eddy Thriller ranks as the most popular and lasts approximately three hours. Due to safety regulations, rafting trips best suit guests ages 6 and older. Those who prefer a more relaxing activity can rent an inner tube and float with friends and family. Other companies to check out include Seventh Mountain River Company and Ouzel Outfitters.
Canoeing, Kayaking and SUP
One of the best ways to enjoy Bend’s scenery is taking a canoe, kayak or stand-up paddleboard through the area’s waterways. These activities enable guests to see the area at their own pace.
Wanderlust Tours offers half-day canoe and kayak tours on Cascade Lake where guides teach visitors about the environment and wildlife. While touring, keep an eye out for otter, mink, ospreys and eagles. Many visitors also enjoy venturing into bays, caves, and coves only accessible by kayak or canoe. Additionally, visitors can wear their swimsuits and swim to cool off. Kayak tours best suit ages 8 and older, however canoe tours offer an adventure for all ages and sometimes pets. Guests should call ahead before bringing dogs.
To rent stand-up paddleboards, try Sun Country Tours and explore Old Mill District. The company provides a board, paddle and jacket, with some pet-friendly boards available.
It’s no secret that biking is a way of life in Bend. The city offers over 300 miles of single-track trails on and off road. In addition, cyclers have access to an urban trail system and Three Sisters Scenic Bikeway, a collection of road cycling routes that connect communities within central Oregon.
For a trip downhill, Mt. Bachelor Bike Park gives riders access to 13 miles of downhill trails. The park has a beginner lift that introduces the area to new riders, as well as trails for intermediate and expert riders. To book a guided bike tour in Bend, check out The Bend Tour Company and Cog Wild Mountain Bike Tours. Both suit individuals and groups.
Hiking also ranks among the most popular Bend summer activities. The area houses hundreds of miles of hiking trails that wind past caves, lakes, waterfalls, and climb high into the mountains.
With nearly 20 popular trails, hikers find a path for their ability and schedule. Oregon Desert Trail, the longest on the list, measures a whopping 750 miles, and travels through canyons, deserts and mountain ranges.
For a easy hike around 2 or 3 miles, try trails at Pilot Butte State Park, Todd Lake, Sparks Lake and Farewell Bend River. Need more of a challenge? Tumalo Falls, Green Lakes and Sisters Mirror Lake all offer trails that range from 4 to 8 miles and increase in elevation.
The city’s lakes, rivers and streams also provide access to some of the best fly-fishing in the west. In fact, Bend even earned a spot on Fly-Fisherman magazine’s top fly-fishing towns in the U.S. Just head to Deschutes River to cast a line in its 250-plus miles of fishable waters, with catches including rainbow trout and steelhead.
Deep Canyon Outfitters, one of the top fly-fishing companies in Bend, offers half- and full-day trips. Half-day fishing trips are perfect for families and newcomers, and spend four hours fishing. Full-day trips last at least eight hours. Both options help anglers learn about the sport and catch fish. However, each guest will need a valid fishing license in order to book a trip.
For another option, try Fly and Field Outfitters. This company offers seven fly-fishing trips ranging in duration and experience. Families enjoy the half-day walk and wade trips, while enthusiasts book a two- to five-day trip on Deschutes River. Fly and Field also accommodates groups as large as 24 people.
Play Golf in Bend
Home to 25 courses and named among the best places for golfers to live by Golf.com, Bend welcomes golfers to tee off on scenic courses. In the summer, the city’s dry sunny climate helps make this a golfer’s paradise. Additionally, greens are situated near picturesque mountains, trees and water features.
Bend Golf and Country Club features an 18-hole course that measures over 7,000 yards from championship tees. Designed by Chandler Egan, the course welcomes golfers to play and walk through the course. Course challenges include tall pines, water features, sand bunkers and slight elevations.
Pronghorn Resort features a Jack Nicklaus-designed course with ancient lava formations, canyons and views of Cascade Mountains. The 18-hole public course measures just over 7,200 yards where nature and challenging holes enhance the game. The resort also has a Tom Fazio Championship Course, measuring over 7,400 yards with foot canyon and lava tube.
Other notable golf courses in Bend include River’s Edge, Broken Top Club, Juniper, Tetherow and courses at Sunriver Resort.