BEND, OREGON – The true winter beauty of our little mountain town in Bend is in its many faces and climates. Winter’s first snow brings activities and tours to suit every taste. Over the Cascades and into the high desert, Bend remains partly sunny and in the low 30s all winter long. Just 30 minutes away deep snowpack cover the Cascades and Mt Bachelor as far as the eye can see.
Whether you’re visiting for the first time or a seasonal winter visitor we have a cornucopia of activities.
Winter Wonderland Helicopter Tours
No question about it, winter in Bend is colder and darker than summer. But that doesn’t mean our little mountain town shuts down. In fact, some of Bend’s most amazing experiences happen in winter. Like what, you may well ask? Well, you can start your winter activities in Bend with a Winter Wonderland Snow Tour of the Cascades and beyond with Big Mountain Heli Tours.
Cross Country Skiing Tours
Do you like your trails groomed for skating and classic cross-country skiing? Head to the Mt. Bachelor Nordic Center, Hoodoo Ski Area or the Virginia Meissner Sno-Park. If, however, you prefer un-groomed skiing on marked trails, then try one of the region’s 14 Sno-Parks. If making your own path through the forest is the order of the day, almost any place that has snow in the Deschutes National Forest is there waiting to be tracked.
Backcountry Skiing Adventures
Fly with Big Mountain Heli Tours to explore the Cascade Range snowpack this year and to scope out the most accessible backcountry skiing locations just minutes north and northwest of the Mt. Bachelor Ski Area. A slightly longer haul is required to get into some virginal backcountry runs in the Newberry National Volcanic Monument, the Three Sisters volcanic peaks from nearby Sisters and Pine Mountain east of Bend.
Snowmobile Adventures and Tours
Thanks to the efforts of regional snowmobiling clubs, there are literally hundreds of miles of groomed and well-marked trails to “sled” throughout Central Oregon. Popular take-off spots include the snowmobile parking and shelter area at Wanoga Sno-Park on Century Drive near Bend, Edison Butte on the road between Mt. Bachelor and Sunriver, the Newberry National Volcanic Monument at La Pine and nearby Hoodoo Ski Area outside of Sisters. Another local favorite is to head from Dutchman Flat along Century Drive and out to Elk Lake Resort. Don’t have your own sled? You can rent one for a couple of hours or the whole day from Central Oregon Adventures – they set up shop at Wanoga all winter long.
Wherever there’s snow cover in Central Oregon, there’s an opportunity to snowshoe. Try marked snowshoe routes at Virginia Meissner and Swampy Lakes Sno-Parks off of Century Drive just outside of Bend. These are two main areas where snowshoers can find trails, warming huts and solace in the Deschutes National Forest.
Low Tech Winter Sledding
The place to be for family sledding fun is Wanoga Sno-Park off Century Drive on the way to Mt. Bachelor. There’s ample parking and plenty of room to sled, toboggan or inner tube. Bring your own hot chocolate or buy it from the snack trailer in the parking lot. Head a little farther up to Mt. Bachelor’s Snowblast tubing park and snag a day-pass for an afternoon of zooming down the mountain on innertubes. In Sunriver, SHARC has its own snow-tubing hill, and Hoodoo’s AutoBahn Tubing park is one of the largest snow-tubing parks in entire West!