Central Oregon Adventures | BEST Things To Do Outdoors

Bend, Oregon makes its way onto every “best adventure town” list these days. Located in the Deschutes River Valley at the base of the Cascade foothills, the geography offers up an outdoor playground that’s irresistible for everyone from powderhounds, to helicopter tour seekers, to singletrack junkies, to river rats, to casual day hikers. It’s an outdoor mecca!

Take a Helicopter Tour of The Ring of Fire Mountains

Helicopter tours are an exciting way to see all of Central Oregon in one go. From the rushing waterfalls at the Deschutes to the snow-capped peaks of Mt Bachelor and the Three Sisters a 60 minute helicopter tour with Big Mountain Helicopters is the way to go. Take advantage of sunset helicopter flights this summer and prepare to be amazed and thrilled by the scenic vistas in front of you!

Take a River Run and Enjoy The Deschutes

The Deschutes River is not only geographically in the heart of Bend; it’s also embedded in the hearts of this river-loving city’s inhabitants. And water-based recreation on this river abounds. Kayak, float, or tube the river, or stop by the Bend Whitewater Park (located right in the Deschutes River) to enjoy three different channels for different types of adventure. The habitat channel offers calmer recreation and a chance to explore the environment, while the whitewater channel boasts four exciting wave features for adrenaline-packed thrills. Oh, and don’t forget about stand-up paddleboarding on this river! Back in 2014, Bend was named Outside Magazine’s “best SUP getaway”, and with a number of local outfitters that offer classes and rentals, it’s easy to get on the water.

Climb Smith Rock State Park

Known as the “birthplace of modern American sport climbing,” Smith River State Park is a bucket list destination for climbers who come from around the world to take on this park’s 1,800-plus routes. Monkey Face was the first 5.14c-rated route in the U.S., but the 550-foot-high welded tuff basalt walls (made of compressed volcanic ash) have plenty of routes for everyone. Spring and fall are prime time for climbing, but hardy climbers hit the walls year-round, braving sub-freezing temperatures and 100-plus degree scorchers to get their fix. A day use pass is $5 ($30/annual).

Rent a $99 Tent Camper and Go Explore

Big Mountain Adventures in Bend rents rugged and lightweight adventure tent campers for outdoor adventures of every kind. Visit the Alvord desert hot springs, or spend a weekend at a high Cascades lake, or wake up next to the pounding surf of the Oregon coast, your next adventure is waiting!