Spring can be a tricky season here in Central Oregon as just when the flowers start to bloom and the weather warms, we can easily get hit with another snowstorm. However, the promise of longer days and sunnier skies is in the air. That gets us thinking about the very best Bend, Oregon springtime activities that you don’t want to miss out on.
Trails, trails, trails: It’s no secret that we have a multitude of amazing trails all over Central Oregon. From the popular river trail running through town, to open-sky east side trails in the Badlands, you don’t have to look far to find the path that’s right for you. Whether you are walking your dog, taking a run or mountain biking (stay in lower elevations this time of year), spring is a great time to get outside.
Golf, your way: Central Oregon boasts some exceptional golf courses, which will start to open up this spring after their winter hibernation. Many golfers will be breathing a big sigh of relief to get back on those greens again. Even if you aren’t a traditional golfer, you can still enjoy outdoor mini golf at Sun Mountain Fun Center or play disc golf at Pine Nursery Park.
Hit the slopes: Skiing and boarding aren’t just winter activities at Mt. Bachelor. Some of the best turns can be found in a T-shirt and sunglasses on bluebird spring days. The mountain offers a spring pass at a discounted price valid for up to 65 days of skiing or snowboarding – or as much as you can squeeze in between March 27 and May 30.
Have a picnic: Pick a sunny day on the weather forecast, pack up your basket and pick one of the many Central Oregon parks to visit. It’s fun to plan the menu, and there are plenty of diverse locations to choose from for outdoor dining. One of our favorites is Shevlin Park, which has several nice, tucked away places on both sides of the river for laying out the picnic blanket.
Start a garden: Join the many people around the world who have taken up gardening over the past year, due in part to stay-at-home orders. Even if you just have a small patio or corner of your yard, you can grow food here in Central Oregon – with the right approach. If you don’t have space, check out our local community gardens to see about getting a plot.
Visit the alpacas: What would spring be without seeing some baby animals? There’s a good chance that you can see a fluffy little cria (alpaca baby) in springtime on a visit to Crescent Moon Ranch in Terrebonne. Open to the public, you can get up close and personal with their alpaca herd and visit the gift shop for items made from alpaca fiber.
Explore Peterson Rock Garden: This historical landmark is like a childhood dream come true, especially if one grew up visiting this magical place. Built more than 80 years ago by one man, Rasmus Peterson, the park has fallen into disrepair, but some of its whimsical beauty remains and it is still worth a visit to view the miniature castles, bridges and sculptures made from Central Oregon rocks and gems.
Lava Lands: The Central Oregon region was shaped by massive volcanic activity, and Lava Lands near the Newberry Crater is one of the best places to learn about it. With a Visitor’s Center that includes interpretive displays and videos, plus several trails around the lava flow (and the Lava River Cave nearby), visiting here will help you understand the massive events that formed our landscape.
Hike Pilot Butte: You won’t find a hike quite like this one anywhere else in the region. You get a special reward at the top of your climb: a 360-degree view of Bend and its surroundings. The full Cascade Mountain range can be seen towering to the west, all the way to the expansive high desert beauty to the east. Seeing local landmarks from this vantage point can also give you a new perspective.
Discover the High Desert Museum: The true gem of Central Oregon, we are lucky to be home to such an amazing, interactive depository of our natural and cultural heritage. You can see new exhibitions on a regular basis, or revisit some old friends in their permanent installations, including the wildlife that live full-time on site. The museum often holds special events, so check their site for any upcoming activities.
Get out there Central Oregon, it’s springtime!