Central Oregon Travel Guide
  • Plan Your Central Oregon Vacation

    Photo: Jen Lynn Arnold / Shutterstock

Plan Your Central Oregon Vacation

After a day on the Sunriver bike paths, a first-time visitor from Europe shook her head. "This place is paradise," she declared. It's easy to see why she thought so. Central Oregon has snowfields so white they sharpen the edges of the mountains; canyons so deep and sudden as to induce vertigo; air so crisp that it fills the senses; water that ripples in mountain lakes so clear that boaters can see to the bottom, or rushes through turbulent rapids favored by rafters.

A region born of volcanic tumult is now a powerful lure for the adventurous, the beauty-seeking, and even the urbane—Bend has grown into a sophisticated city of 87,000-plus, a magnet for people retreating from larger, noisier city centers. For most visitors Bend is the sunny face of central Oregon, a haven for hikers, athletes, and aesthetes, but with the charm and elegance of much larger cities.

From Bend it's easy to launch to the attractions that surround it. To the northwest, Camp Sherman is a stunning place to fish for rainbow trout or kokanee. The Smith Rocks formation to the north draws climbers and boulderers, and, to the south, Lava Lands and the Lava River Caves fascinate visitors more than 6,000 years after they were chiseled out of the earth. The Oregon Badlands Wilderness to the east draws hikers and horseback riders wanting to connect with the untamed landscape. Lake Billy Chinook to the north is a startling oasis, where summer visitors drift in houseboats beneath the high walls of the Deschutes River canyon. The Deschutes River itself carries rafters of all descriptions, from young families to solo adventurers.

The area's natural beauty has brought it a diverse cluster of resorts, whether situated on the shores of high mountain lakes or cradling golf courses of startling green. They dot the landscape from the dry terrain around Warm Springs to the high road to Mt. Bachelor.


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Top Reasons To Go

  1. Become one with nature Central Oregonians live on the flanks of the Cascade Range and are bracketed by rock formations, rivers, lakes, forests, ancient lava flows, and desert badlands. Bring your golf clubs, carabiners, snowboard, or camera, and explore deeper.
  2. Visit Bend Downtown Bend is lively and walkable, with a variety of appealing restaurants, galleries, and stores.
  3. Kick back at Sunriver This family-oriented resort has bike paths, river trails, horse stables, tennis courts, a golf course, and several restaurants.
  4. Check out the craft-brewing scene With nearly three dozen breweries—and more on the horizon—you can discover nearly any type of beer that fits your tastes.
  5. Discover the Old West Cowboy towns, such as Sisters, offer a glimpse into what life was like when the West was wild.

When To Go

When to Go

Central Oregon is a popular destination year-round. Skiers and snowboarders come from mid-December through March, when the powder is deepest...

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