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Best Outdoor Activities in OR - Bend

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What Bend, Oregon lacks in size, it makes up for with adventures. This quaint city on the Deschutes River is one of the best summer adventure capitals in the United States. With sprawling mountains and 14 alpine lakes, you have endless options for outdoor adventures. Whether you want the rush of mountain biking or road biking, or explore Bend’s riverways by kayak or stand up paddleboard, this adventure hub has it all. A summer visit to Bend, Oregon can entail almost limitless outdoor adventures in the surrounding mountains and wilderness as well as visits to this city’s world class breweries, or taking in the beats at colorful outdoor music festivals. This small (but quickly growing) Oregon destination is family-friendly, has great hotel and camping options, and an impressive dining scene delivered by over 50 restaurants and many craft breweries. Bend is an adventure hub – gear rental shops and outdoor adventure providers offer endless activities that’ll give you a sun-soaked vacation!

Once you get on a bike in Bend, Oregon, you’ll know why it’s considered a prime biking destination in the country. With over 277 miles – and counting! – of flowy, challenging singletrack, you have seemingly endless choices for mountain biking. All of Bend’s MTB trails are impressively maintained and range from beginner-friendly tracks and scenic cross country routes, to technical downhill and dirt biking. The area’s lift-served bike park on nearby Mt. Bachelor makes downhill biking in Bend, Oregon extra exhilirating.

Though the press is always all about Bend’s mountain biking scene, the city has fantastic road biking options – great back country routes, panoramic views, and fresh air. Bend, Oregon road biking is best enjoyed on the popular Three Sisters Scenic Bikeway – a 50-mile loop that has a collection of top road cycling routes connecting the most scenic places in Central Oregon. Try Crooked River to Prineville reservoir if you’re a fan of scenic, remote routes. Or take on the epic Mount Bachelor Ride – a local’s favorite featuring buttery-smooth pavements with stunning views of the Three Sisters.

Beyond the renowned biking trails in Bend are it’s lakes where water sports like kayaking and stand up paddleboarding dominate. Elk Lake is just 25 miles from Bend, and has been a local favorite for almost 100 years. The lake is one of the best places to stand up paddleboard and kayak in the area, featuring serene waters that are great for beginners. Another top paddling destination is the scenic Deschutes River, which cuts right through downtown Bend.

The best time to visit Bend, Oregon is from June to September when the mild weather encourages outdoor summer activities. Winter activities include skiing, snowboarding, snowshoeing and cross-country skiing, mostly centered around nearby Mt. Bachelor.

TripOutside features the best local shops in Bend, Oregon for gear rental and outdoor adventures.

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