Winter might be the best season to visit Bend. Whether you’re into snowboarding or skiing, the options are obvious with Mt. Bachelor being just a quick jaunt up the Cascade Lakes Highway. Maybe you’ve already experienced the mountain or just have other ventures in mind… Bend will deliver!
Ice skating is the quintessential winter activity, especially around the holiday season. The Pavilion is Bend’s NHL-sized ice sheet that has open skating, curling lessons, and local hockey league games. Skates can be rented and there are locker rooms on site. Warm up after all your ice-capades with a visit to the warming room. There is a fireplace and an outdoor fire pit to help you enjoy your time off the ice. The Pavilion is home to the Winter Solstice celebration, an event featuring hot cocoa, raffles, photo booth, skate sessions, and performances by the Bend Ice Figure Skating Club. Check out the Pavilion’s schedule of events here.
If you’re interested in taking a little drive, another option for ice skating is available at Seventh Mountain Resort just outside of Bend. Here you will indulge your inner child as you glide around the ice under the cosmic lights, pausing to take a break while sipping a cocktail from the rink-side bar. Make a weekend of it and stay in one of the elegant suites at Seventh Mountain.
There are a myriad of outdoor activities available to Bend visitors in the winter. Snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, hiking, and sledding are just some of the things you can get yourself into. If you’re interested in gear rentals, check out Powder House Ski & Snowboard. They will get you set up with everything you need, and they’re conveniently located on your way up to the mountains. Check in with the employees there for guidance regarding trails and permits for your winter fun.
If you’re feeling up for a bit of an adventure, a tour with Wanderlust Tours might be just the ticket. Wanderlust offers moonlight snowshoeing and stargazing excursions as well as their Bonfire on the Snow tour. With this trip, a naturalist will guide you through the forest and into a hand-carved snow amphitheater where a bonfire and drinks will be enjoyed under the gorgeous winter sky. You’ll be able to learn about the forests, wildlife, and do a bit of stargazing while enjoying local spirits and hot drinks. Check out Wanderlust’s winter tours here.
If you prefer to guide your own winter adventure, we’ve done some of the work for you. Click here for our piece on the 7 best hiking trails in Bend.
It would be remiss to mention wintertime in Bend without bringing up Mt. Bachelor. Mt. Bachelor serves up a winter wonderland for gravity sports enthusiasts. Offering lessons for both adults and kids (as well as childcare if your tot is too young to play on the mountain), Mt. Bachelor is welcoming to seasoned athletes and newcomers. If you’re going to be on the mountain to look for a unique experience, book a sled dog ride! Join an experienced Iditarod racer for an unforgettable trip gliding across the snow, learn about sledding, and take in the epic views of the Cascades. Check out Mt. Bachelor’s website for more details and scheduling.
The Oregon Winter Fest is an annual tradition that happens in Bend. Featuring 3 days of music, family activities, food, and entertainment, this event is a must-see. There are fire pits, ice sculptures, a wine walk, and hot cocoa run. There is no such thing as bad weather in Bend, just improper clothing! This festival celebrates all things winter and occurs in February each year. The Rail Jam is sponsored by 10 Barrel Brewing and offers participants the chance to shred the rail. Enjoy a stroll through the marketplace or check out the Polar Market sporting goods expo to get your gear for Bend’s recreation. The festival caters to all ages with a family play zone with bounce houses and the OMSI science tent. Winter Fest is a great way to experience everything that Bend has to offer both locals and visitors.
Maybe you’ve spent all day at the mountain, or trekking through the snow in snowshoes. What better way to treat yourself after a long day of fun than with a nice, hot soak?
McMenamin’s Old St. Francis soaking pool is a sparkling turquoise oasis. With an open ceiling, you can watch the snow fall in to the steamy, glittering soaking pool. Take some time after your soak to venture out to O’Kane’s Pub on the McMenamin’s grounds. O’Kanes has fire pits outside where you can warm up from the inside out with a seasonal cocktail. Head through the old church doors to imbibe the house distillery flights. If you take the time to wander around McMenamin’s, you might stumble upon a broom closet… Push through the unassuming door to discover what’s being served up on the other side!
Perhaps your tastes lean toward the refined, or you just want to experience over 400 varieties of whiskey…Stihl Whiskey Bar has what you’re looking for. Stihl boasts a carefully crafted menu and a vast array of whiskeys and cocktails to suit every need.
You can’t go wrong in the dining arena while strolling around downtown Bend. Check out our article about Bend’s best places to eat and discover your new favorite spot.
The winter season in Bend is a great time to get outside or indulge in some relaxation and luxury. Let us know your favorite winter activities in Bend in the comments below!