Everyone knows I love warm, tropical destinations, but when I feel like taking a winter trip, there’s no shortage of fun winter activities in Bend Oregon.
With snow-capped mountains, snowy lakes, and frozen waterfalls, Bend is one of the best places to head out on a winter adventure.
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For anyone dreaming of a winter getaway, Bend should be at the top of your list, so here are my top 10 recommendations for winter activities in Bend Oregon.
10 Epic Winter Activities in Bend Oregon
Our first thrill was to embark on a snowmobiling tour with Central Oregon Adventures—an activity that quickly became one of my favorite experiences from the entire trip!
I’ll admit I was a bit scared at first since it was my first time snowmobiling but our guide provided us with thorough safety instructions before taking us to an open spot where we could practice and get comfortable maneuvering.
After about five minutes of practicing, I felt confident and ready to hit the trails!
Our journey was full of stunning landscapes including a breathtaking viewpoint where we snapped some pictures.
The entire experience lasted for almost three hours and it was SO much fun!
2. Hiking at Smith Rock State Park
Smith Rock State Park is truly a natural wonder, so I had to include it on this list of the best things to do in Bend during winter.
This park is located about a half hour outside of Bend, making it an ideal spot for anyone craving some adventure in the form of hiking or rock climbing.
Smith Rock has plenty of trails ranging in difficulty so there’s always something fun to explore regardless of the season or weather.
One of the best hikes to do any time of year is Crooked River Trail, a moderate 4.5-mile out-and-back hike that gains less than 500 feet in elevation.
Make sure to wear something waterproof and bring plenty of snacks, water, and sunscreen.
3. Touring a Cave
Another winter activity I highly recommend is touring one of Bend’s many caves.
If you’re interested in local Bend history, I suggest booking a prohibition cave tour through Wanderlust Tours where you’ll learn how these caves were used to store and distill alcohol in the early 1900s.
My Babes That Wander crew and I went on this tour during our Bend trip and our guide, Katie, was so friendly and knowledgeable.
Make sure to wear proper footwear during your tour—the best option is hiking boots, and I also recommend bringing a small backpack along to store your water, ID, and other essentials.
I consider snowshoeing one of the top can’t-miss winter activities in Bend Oregon, and there are plenty of companies that offer guided tours.
Going on a snowshoeing tour is the perfect way to see some of the most breathtaking sights in Bend.
Even if you’ve never snowshoed before, your guide will teach you everything you need to know and offer help throughout the tour.
This is without a doubt one of the most magical winter activities in Bend Oregon.
What’s a trip to Bend without some shopping?
Our first stop was Crow’s Feet Commons, an outdoor lifestyle store full of clothing and gear designed for hiking, biking, skiing, and more.
We also got a chance to try out some fun seasonal activities like ice skating during one of the open skate sessions at The Pavilion!
6. Paulina Lake Hot Springs
If you don’t feel like freezing your butt off in the Oregon winter, you can enjoy one of the many natural hot springs located near Bend.
One of the best places to take a dip in Bend is Paulina Lake Hot Springs, situated about 30 minutes outside the city near Newberry Volcanic Monument.
The atmosphere at Paulina Lake Hot Springs is so relaxing and you’ll have an amazing time enjoying the naturally heated pools.
You can embark on the 7.5-mile-long Paulina Lake Hot Springs Trail to add some adventure to your trip—the trail offers beautiful views of Deschutes National Forest and makes for a fun winter activity.
The Paulina Lake Hot Springs are lesser-known among tourists making them one of Bend’s best-kept secrets.
Note that the hot springs pools are quite small and can usually accommodate only one or two people at a time.
The temperature of the water at these hot springs fluctuates seasonally from 90 to 115 degrees Fahrenheit.
7. Visiting Crater Lake National Park
Any visit to Bend has to include a day trip to nearby Crater Lake National Park which can be found just an hour and a half drive away.
It’s no secret that the national park destination is gorgeous during the winter, but many visitors underestimate how amazing the experience is.
Winter is the perfect time to explore Crater Lake because the snow-capped mountain peaks and crystal-clear waters become even more beautiful as the temperature drops.
You’ll feel like you’ve stepped into a Disney fairytale as you take in views of rugged, snowy mountains and bright blue lakes.
One of the most unique ways to experience Crater Lake is by snowshoeing (which you’ll be a pro at by now), and there are plenty of ski shops in Bend that offer day rentals for affordable prices.
8. Skiing or Snowboarding
Another popular choice when it comes to winter activities in Bend Oregon is skiing or snowboarding at Mount Bachelor, the 6th largest ski resort in North America.
This ski area offers a variety of runs for all skill levels as well as some delicious restaurants where you can refuel throughout the day.
Looking for a challenge? The terrain park at Mount Bachelor is one of the best in the country with more than 50 rails, boxes, quarter pipes, and other features—not my cup of tea, but so cool to watch!
If you don’t feel like skiing or snowboarding but you’re traveling with folks who do, there are a few vacation rentals and lodge activities available on the mountain to keep you occupied like tubing, cross-country skiing, and sledding.
If you’re looking for luxury ski wear, this post has you covered!
9. Exploring Tumalo Falls
Exploring Tumalo Falls in Bend Oregon should be at the top of your list if you’re searching for the perfect winter adventure.
Tumalo Falls (located in Deschutes National Forest) is a beautiful sight all year round, but it’s especially breathtaking during winter when everything is frozen over.
Since the main access road to the falls is closed to cars during the winter, you’ll have to take on a 5-mile roundtrip hike to see Tumalo Falls.
Thankfully, this hike is relatively flat and can easily be hiked or snowshoed—I promise the views are 100% worth the trek.
In addition to the stunning views, Tumalo Falls is also much less busy in winter so you can expect a peaceful experience.
The best part is that you can bring your furry friends along with you too since this area is dog-friendly!
Don’t forget to dress in plenty of layers and pack gloves, a hat, and winter boots.
10. Warming Up at a Local Brewery
Bend is famous for its craft beer scene and visiting at least one brewery is a must while you’re here.
You can’t miss Deschutes Brewery, a local favorite that offers a range of delicious beers that will warm you up after a hike or snowshoeing adventure.
Other options with delicious beer and a fun atmosphere include Bend Brewing Company and Crux Fermentation Project located in downtown Bend—for more recommendations, check out my guide to the Best Bend Breweries.
There’s nothing better than enjoying a cold beer in front of a warm fire on a cozy winter night, and don’t forget to snack on some classic bar fare like a soft pretzel or nachos.
If you aren’t the biggest beer fan, don’t worry! Many Bend breweries also serve craft cider, wine, spirits, and even kombucha, so you’re sure to find something that satisfies your taste buds.
You can find all the winter activities in Bend Oregon your heart desires and more, from hot springs and snowshoeing trails to caves and craft breweries.
If you’re in the Pacific Northwest and looking for more things to do, check out this post on things to do in Leavenworth, WA in winter!
Tag me on Insta (@wtfab) if you take a winter trip to Bend so I can live vicariously through your adventures!
Planning a trip and need more inspo? Find all my Bend Oregon content here.
Yes, Bend is a great winter destination because it offers plenty of seasonal activities.
Pack plenty of layers, a waterproof jacket, waterproof hiking boots, a hat, and sunglasses—check out my guide on What to Wear in Bend Oregon for more ideas.
Elise Armitage is an entrepreneur and founder of What The Fab, a travel + lifestyle blog based in California. At the beginning of 2019, Elise left her corporate job at Google to chase her dreams: being an entrepreneur and helping women find fabulous in the everyday. Since then, she’s launched her SEO course Six-Figure SEO, where she teaches bloggers how to create a passive revenue stream from their website using SEO. Featured in publications like Forbes, Elle, HerMoney, and Real Simple, Elise is a firm believer that you can be of both substance and style.