How to spend 3 days in Bend, Oregon in the Winter

Bend, Oregon is known as an outdoor-lovers paradise. It is truly a city full of adventures, good vibes, and endless nature! Even more, Bend enjoys sunny days almost every day of the year. This means that Bend is also an incredible winter destination and I’m here to share with you how we spent 3-days in Bend, Oregon in the middle of Winter!

Bend in the winter brings plenty of snow-sports and adventures. Known for world-class skiing and snowboarding along with some of the most beautiful snowshoeing trails makes Bend a great place to explore in the winter. As I mentioned earlier, Bend enjoys mostly sunny days but its unique location creates soft, fluffy dry snow in the mountains! Read on for our winter adventures in Bend!

How to get to Bend, Oregon

Bend is a large city in Central Oregon that is known for its adventurous outdoor space, breweries and sunshine. The closest large city is Portland, Oregon which is about 2-3 hours away. Bend is located to the East of Portland and tucked away in the Cascade Mountain Range, right next to the high desert.

Getting to Bend means driving 2-3 hours from Portland, or flying into Richmond from Rogers Field Airport and driving 20-minutes to Bend! If you’re driving from Portland, you’ll either be driving Route 26 to 97 or Route 20. From Seattle to Bend will take you 5-6 hours, and from Vancouver to Bend it took us 8-9 hours.

Where to stay in Bend, Oregon

You’ll have some great options available for your stay in Bend. Bend is an extremely pet-friendly city and we found some great options for pet-friendly hotels and off-leash trails. You can choose to stay right downtown at Campfire Hotel or the Oxford Hotel, or outside of town at LOGE. You can also find some really great options on AirBnb for cozy cottage-like stays or consider camping outside of Bend in the summer.

Campfire Hotel

This is where we stayed with our dog at the Campfire Hotel in Bend! We found that the Campfire Hotel was a great sized room for all of us with cute camping decor. One of the main reasons we booked our stay here was for the outdoor space! The large campfire was lit every night for guests until 10PM, and the hot tub and pool were always ready to relax in post-hike! The on-site restaurant was great for a breakfast smoothie or snack before heading out on adventures.

LOGE

LOGE was another option that we considered, this room features a pretty cool hammock in the middle of the space! It’s situated a bit further from town, but the camping vibes were definitely met here. This motel/hostel is the closest stay to Mount Bachelor and a 15 minute walk from downtown.

Oxford Hotel

This boutique hotel option at Oxford Hotel is located downtown and will give you a more luxury experience to come home to after your adventures in Bend! This building offer eco-friendly amenities and includes parking and an on-site restaurant.

Weather in Bend, Oregon during the winter

One thing I want you to know about Bend is that they enjoy year-round sunny weather! Unlike other parts of Oregon, Bend is protected by the Cascade Mountain Range from the harsh rain that hits other areas in the state. Situated beside the high desert means that Bend enjoys a warm, dry climate in the summer and dry, sunny winters with plenty of snow in the mountains!

We visited Bend in January, and we were lucky to enjoy a full snow day with fresh powder. Temperatures would reach anywhere from -2 to 6 degrees Celsius. The sun makes up for the chilly winter days, and make sure to bring sunscreen because the sun will get you even on the cloudy days!

Take “The Bend Pledge”

We admire and respect Bend as an outdoor adventurers paradise, and we’re happy to introduce “The Bend Pledge” to you all! The Bend Pledge means that we plan to leave Bend the way we found it by leaving no trace and respecting people, nature, and the trails. The Bend Pledge covers important topics of respect and bringing your best self to Bend and taking care of each other.

Read more about Bend’s dedication and commitment to the environment by taking The Bend Pledge and learning more about how you can be a respectful visitor.

Bend, Oregon Itinerary: Day One

You’ve made it to Bend! Day one is all about arriving in this beautiful city and getting situated before you start to explore. Take some time to check-in to your hotel room, grab some lunch, drive around town and get ready for a favourite local hike.

Check-in & Check out the City

We arrived in Bend around noon and were able to check-in early to our room at Campfire Hotel. Our hotel was located in the perfect area off the highway with plenty of parking! We had a chance to tour the facilities, move our luggage into our room and get ready to explore.

The two of us like to drive around a new city that we’re visiting to get to know the area on the first day! We checked out the area around our hotel, looked for restaurants, found some shopping centres, and got to know Bend by car.

Lunch at El Sancho’s Tacos

El Sancho’s Tacos was a fantastic taco restaurant with a heated outdoor patio. Our first day in Bend was sunny (of course) and we enjoyed our tacos and beers outside in the sun! We tried the Shrimp, Carnitas, and Barbacoa tacos with a Modelo beer. The tacos were amazing and the restaurant had a chill vibe to introduce us to the city of Bend.

Sunset hike at Pilot Butte

Since we arrived in the afternoon and the sun set around 5PM, it was time to check out a local favourite hike in Bend called Pilot Butte. This large, cinder-cone hill was formed by volcano eruption 200,000 years ago and has been used as a lookout for years.

Located in the city, the road up to the top of this hike is closed in the Winter and you’ll be hiking 3KM with 138M elevation gain to the top. At the top, you’ll enjoy 360 degree views of the city of Bend and the surrounding mountains. It is truly a local gem and the views are really great at sunset.

Order Pizza Mondo for dinner at hotel

We decided to hangout at our hotel and order a pizza in for our first night in Bend. Campfire Hotel lights up at night, and you’ll notice the massive campfire that is lit every night. Guests gather around the fire to enjoy the flames with a local beer, and the hot-tub and pool are always on until 10PM. Campfire Hotel is a vibe at night!

We asked for pizza recommendations and found 2 that we really enjoyed the look of. We ordered Pizza Mondo and tried 2 different flavours done half-and-half style. We tried the Barnyard and Big Island, and we also heard their white pizza is incredible too. Our second option would have been Cibelli’s!

Bend, Oregon Itinerary: Day Two

Day two is a full day of adventures in Bend! You’ll be waking up early for a special sunrise from above, having brunch on one of the top bakeries in town, and going for a winter waterfall hike.

Sunrise Helicopter Ride with Fly Bend

This is by far the best way to see Bend – from above! We met up with Scott from Fly Bend to coordinate a sunrise helicopter ride where we got to fly over the city of Bend, Mt Bachelor, Broken Top mountain and the Sisters. The views were incredible from above and the sunrise made it that much better. This is definitely an experience to add to your Bend bucket-list!

Breakfast at Sparrow Bakery

Sparrow Bakery was very high on our list for places to eat in Bend. We had heard that the French-inspired bakery was known for something called an Ocean Roll, which we later found out was similar to a cinnamon roll but with vanilla sugar and cardamom. It was delicious! We enjoyed cappuccinos, a breakfast sandwich and my pastry outside on the patio.

Afternoon hike to Tumalo Falls

After our breakfast, we decided to go for an afternoon hike because it was so sunny outside! Tumalo Falls is a local hike that becomes more difficult to access in the winter. This means that you’ll be walking down the road (that is typically open in the summer) for about 1 hour until you reach the waterfall lookout.

This hike was very easy and could take 1.5 to 2 hours depending on your fitness level. Since we are quick, it took us 1 hour each way and we only stopped at the first lookout. You can continue your hike further up to the second viewpoint. It was super easy and enjoyable in the snow with proper hiking boots!

Brewery Tour for Dinner

Everyone in Bend had been telling us to check out the local breweries instead of going out to a restaurant to eat. For this reason, we decided to go for a mini-brewery tour for our second-night dinner! Bend is known for having the most breweries per capita in the state and the beer in town is made from water flowing from the mountains. People in Bend know good beer here!

Our first stop was 10 Barrel Brewery where we enjoyed nachos with fries and chips alongside our beer. We both tried a sour at this location, and the Apricot sour was our favourite. The atmosphere here was very chill for apres-ski. Our second location was Deschutes Brewery for wings and one of the tastiest beers I’ve ever had. Their Peach Cobbler beer caught our eyes for the award-winning brew that smells and taste just like dessert!

Bend, Oregon Itinerary: Day Three

Day Three in Bend was a snow day, and it was a perfect day to go into the mountains and play in the fresh snow! We took advantage of the weather and spent the entire day at Mount Bachelor before heading to Downtown Bend for some shopping.

Breakfast to-go from Rockin’ Dave’s

Rockin’ Dave’s is known for having the best bagels in the city, and we were excited to order our bagel breakfast sandwiches to go. We got to choose from fresh bagel flavours for our base with bacon, cheese and egg placed wrapped perfectly to take out on our adventures. This spot caught our eye as it was featured on a popular TV show called Diners, Drive-ins & Dives.

Mt Bachelor Ski, Snowboard or Nordic Ski

Mount Bachelor is the gem of Bend in the winter and in the summer. It’s a world-class ski-resort with some of the best views and runs in the country. The entire mountain is covered in ski hills and lifts so you can access up to 101 runs to explore. As beginners, we opted for a Nordic Ski and enjoyed some easy backcountry skiing views.

Lunch at Mt Bachelor Ski Resort

After our Nordic Ski adventure, we decided to grab hot chocolates and lattes as the ski resort. There are so many options to dine at Mt Bachelor including the Sun Bar with an epic sunny patio, the Sunrise Grill with chili cheese fries and sandwiches, and The Rock for epic Mt Bachelor views with nachos. So many other options include the food trucks located around the resort!

Shopping Downtown Bend

Between our snowy adventures, we had some time to explore downtown Bend and do some shopping. Here’s your chance to explore some of the shops, maybe hit up the Old Mill District, and grab some souvenirs from The Bend Store. We stopped at Patagonia Bend for a locally owned purchase!

Afternoon Snowshoe with Wanderlust Tours

Our second adventure in the snow brought us back up into the mountains for a guided snowshoe tour with Wanderlust Tours. Our naturalist guide, Charlie, took us into the backcountry through the old-growth forest in the middle of a snowstorm! The dry, fluffy snow made for an awesome trek through fresh powder and we learned a lot about Bend’s geography, history and environment.

Wanderlust Tours was an awesome way to get outside and they typically host tours of up to 10 people. We enjoyed our tour to ourselves, and if we had more time we would have booked a nighttime tour with them. Definitely check out their tour offerings on your trip to Bend!

Dinner at Sunriver Brewery

After chatting with our naturalist guide about the best places to eat and drink in Bend, he told us we needed to go to Sunriver Brewery for dinner to end our time in Bend with the best beer. When in Bend, you go to breweries! We tried a local favourite beer called the Vicious Mosquito and had some of the best wings we’ve ever had. This was a great spot that was recommended plenty of times so we recommend it now to you!

More Winter Outdoor Activities to do in Bend, Oregon

  • Ice Skating at The Pavillion
  • Sledding & Tubing
  • Snowmobiling
  • Hike to Steelhead Falls
  • Hike to Benham Falls
  • Walk along the Deschutes River

More Restaurants to Try in Bend, Oregon

  • Bend Brewing Co.
  • Worthy Brewing Company
  • Mother’s Juice Cafe
  • Noi Thai Cuisine
  • Dump City Dumplings
  • BOSA
  • Lemon Tree

Final Thoughts on the best things to do in Bend, Oregon

Bend is definitely an outdoor adventurers paradise, and no matter what season you’re visiting you’ll have plenty of things to do. Bend is known as the second-fasted growing city in America and for plenty of good reasons. The people, the food, and the nature are all fantastic parts of Bend and by taking care of it and leaving Bend how we found it we’re making sure others can enjoy Bend, too.

This blog post is sponsored by Visit Bend and all opinions are our own! if you enjoyed reading this blog, make sure to read our other blogs on Oregon including 5 Waterfalls you Must see in Oregon, and Day-Hiking Smith Rock State Park!

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