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Bend is located 175 miles southeast of Portland, a three-hour drive. If you’re coming from out of state, you can fly into the busy Portland International Airport (PDX), or search out flights to Roberts Field Airport (RDM) in nearby Redmond (17 miles away), which is served by four major airlines. There are plenty of car-rental options at both airports, and taxis, rideshares, and airport shuttles from the Redmond airport can take you to your destination.
If you’re not planning on using a car while you’re in town, several motorcoach companies cross through Central Oregon. North-south Amtrak trains stop at Chemult, and riders can then take an Amtrak bus on to Bend. In town, public bus routes are plentiful, as are bike rentals, and the Mt. Bachelor Shuttle will take you up the mountain in summer and winter.
Every story you’ve heard about rainy Oregon? They don’t apply to Bend, located in the state’s high desert. This part of Central Oregon receives fewer than 12 inches of rain a year, plus another two feet of snow in wintertime, and sunny days outnumber cloudy ones.
Bend has four distinct seasons. From June through September, temperatures in the 70s and 80s Fahrenheit are common, while the shoulder seasons of spring and autumn are more likely to be cool, with days in the 40s and nights dropping down to the 20s. Temperatures frequently drop below freezing between November and March, and the slopes are covered in dry powder. Oregon may be the most casual state in the nation, so pack seasonally appropriate activewear and don’t worry about dressing up.
Viewing this spectacular 97-foot cascade, located 14 miles outside Bend, is only one reason to hike along Tumalo Creek. Many hikers use the falls as a starting point for four-to-eight-mile loops that wend past smaller but equally scenic waterfalls.
Snowboarders and skiers from all over the West make pilgrimages to Bend for Mt. Bachelor’s 101 runs, which range in skill level from novice to expert. In the summer, mountain bikers take the same lifts up to fly along trails that descend through the trees.
Surfing in the middle of Bend? When the city parks department created a whitewater play area on the Deschutes River in 2015, short-board surfers flocked to its Green Wave feature. You can also rent an inner tube or a raft (plus lifejackets) for a leisurely two-mile float through the center of town. The bravest rafters can steer through the rocky, fast-flowing whitewater channel — dodging surfboards, of course.