Get Outdoors – Central Oregon Summers Shine

Want to start a debate at a Central Oregon brewpub? Ask a local which season is best: Summer or Winter?

Mt. Bachelor might get all the press – it is the Pacific Northwest’s largest ski area after all. But you’d be hard pressed to find a better summer destination than Central Oregon.

The Deschutes River has always been the lifeblood of Central Oregon and vital to any “must do” list. Taking a refreshing and relaxing inner tube float down the Deschutes from Bend’s Farewell Bend Park is required river therapy.

The best part of the float—apart from its highly social nature—is the availability of a shuttle bus ride from Drake Park back to Farewell Bend Park to do it all over again.

Three paddleboarders join a canoe on the water of Elk Lake near Bend, Oregon.

If recreational kayaking, canoeing or stand-up paddling is more to your liking, there are acres of open water with great views out over the mountain and forest landscape in the High Cascades Lakes of the Deschutes National Forest or on Paulina and East lakes in the Newberry National Volcanic Monument.

For those who fancy lakes with houseboating, water skiing and swimming, there’s Lake Billy Chinook near Madras.

There’s also fishing in all the region’s lakes such as Cultus and Davis lakes and reservoirs such as Crane Prairie and Wickiup, and, of course, the Deschutes, Crooked and Metolius rivers. The Deschutes is famous for its native “redside” rainbow trout and its annual steelhead runs. The smaller Metolius River is known for being home to monster bull trout. Crane Prairie Reservoir, Davis Lake and East Lake are all noted for their trophy trout. You can go on a fly fishing trip with expert guides throughout Central Oregon.

On dry land, there’s more than 300 miles of Central Oregon mountain bike trails. There’s a wide variety from mellow cruisers for beginners to technical downhill trails on Mt. Bachelor requiring expert skills.

The singletrack trail network is also well used by trail runners and hikers. Some of the best Central Oregon hiking is in the Three Sisters Wilderness, at Newberry National Volcanic Monument and at Smith Rock State Park—a world-famous rock climbing venue that has plenty of family-friendly routes as well.

Back on pavement, Central Oregon has become a hub for road cycling with scenic bikeways fanning out in every direction. The region is also known for hosting top-notch cycling events like the Cascade Cycling Classic, Cycle Oregon and more. Whether you’re a pro or just ride for fun, Central Oregon offers stunning views during your ride.

With 30 – that’s right 30! golf courses in Central Oregon, the region has become a nationally recognized golf destination. From Top-100 courses to award-winning resorts, it’s easy to see why many people plan their bucket-list trips here. Go to the Central Oregon Golf Trail to learn more.

No matter what time of year and what recreation precedes it, the region’s brewpubs are always alive with activity. Brewing craft beer and the publican lifestyle have become a Central Oregon hallmark. Many of the region’s pubs have integrated their indoor space with expansive outdoor dining while offering excellent food, live music and, of course, tasty ales, lagers and stouts. Cheers!

A closeup photo of a taster size beer at Crux Fermentation Project in Bend, Oregon.

Other stories

More inspiring stories, adventures, and tips & tricks for planning and experiencing the best Central Oregon has to offer.

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