loader image


Visit Central Oregon logo in black.

Pole, Pedal and Paddle Whenever You Want in Central Oregon

Every May in Bend some 3,100 people participate in the US Bank Pole, Pedal, Paddle multi-sport race. (And there’s still time to sign up for this year’s event, held on May 20th.)

The event starts with three legs at Mt. Bachelor – a short downhill ski, 8k Nordic race and 22-mile bike ride – before the 5-mile run, 1.5-mile kayak and half mile sprint legs back down in Bend. It’s become the signature athletic event for Bend – if you’re not participating, you know someone who is or someone who is part of the army of volunteers it takes to pull it off so smoothly. (The race is the main fundraiser for the Mount Bachelor Sports Education Foundation, which promotes and supports amateur alpine, cross country, snowboard, and cycling training for junior athletes.

The event showcases everything that is great about Central Oregon – and the perfect time of year when doing all of those things in one day is possible.

But you don’t have to be competing to take advantage of everything the PPP provides. You can pole, pedal and paddle almost whenever you want.

There’s still tons of great powder up at Mt. Bachelor for some spring skiing. Or you can head over to the Nordic center for some great cross country skiing (and, many locals will tell you, the best burritos in Bend!) The ski area is expected to be open through May – extending one of the longest ski seasons in the country.

But come summer, when the snow’s gone you can just replace the “ski pole” with a different kind of pole…a fishing pole. Let the guides at Stillwater Fly Shop in Sunriver take you to one of their secret spots or go rent some gear at The Fly Fisher’s Place in Sisters and venture out on your own.

Once the snow melts enough, the road to Mt. Bachelor – also known as the Cascade Lakes Scenic Byway – is a great place for a long road ride, but there are plenty of other scenic bikeway options for you in Central Oregon. (McKenzie Pass early in the season is open only to cyclists, which is a great time to check out one of the most scenic rides in the state!) Or, you can turn it up a notch and hit some of the Central Oregon mountain bike trails nearby. Pine Mountain Sports, The Hub Cyclery and Hutch’s are a couple of great spots to rent bikes if you need them – or, if your legs are a little tired take a guided Bend brewery tour with Let it Ride Electric Bikes.

If you’re not quite ready to kick off the race season in May, no problem. In June, Sunriver Resort hosts Central Oregon’s largest athletic event, the Pacific Crest Weekend Sports Festival.

More than 5,000 athletes, their family and friends, converge on majestic Central Oregon to take part in what is known as the jewel of multisport events in the Northwest. It has become a traditional destination race for athletes from across the nation, as well as from across the globe. Coupled with a finishing in a five-star destination resort, it is the perfect family vacation destination.

There is a race for absolutely everyone from the Long Course Tri/Du/Aquabike, Olympic Tri/Du/AquaBike, Ulta-Sprint Tri/Du/AquaBike, Marathon, Half Marathon, 10k, 5k, 26 and 55 mile Tour de Crest, Kids Tri and Kids ½ mile and 1-mile dashes.

If running is your thing, you’re in luck. It’s Central Oregon’s thing too. With more than 65 miles of maintained trails just in Bend alone, you can find a running route to fit your needs whether it’s pavement, track or dirt – including the very scenic Deschutes River Trail (which is part of the PPP course.)

And while it’s not yet hot in Central Oregon, it’s warm enough to take advantage of all the water sport activities the region has to offer. Tumalo Creek Kayak and Canoe is located right on the river so it’s easy to rent some gear to get your paddle boarding muscles in shape for when high lakes open up this summer.

You can also create your own multi-sport event to impress all your friends. Click here for a look at what we like to call the “Central Oregon 6-pack.”

Whatever you decide to do, just get out, explore and have fun!

Life’s not about being timed.

Other stories

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

  • Sisters Outdoor Quilt Show Brings Fabric Artists to Central Oregon
    Sisters Outdoor Quilt Show Brings Fabric Artists to Central Oregon

    Blankets keep you warm. Quilts tell a story. So imagine all the tales to be told at the Sisters Outdoor Quilt Show on the second Saturday of July, when the streets of this small Central Oregon town are blanketed (pun intended) with the creative tapestries woven by thousands of quilters from around the world.

  • Backstory: Bend’s Historic Tower Theatre
    Backstory: Bend’s Historic Tower Theatre

    The Tower Theatre occupies a proud spot in Bend’s vibrant downtown area. The theater is filled nearly every night with high-profile acts––it could be called Bend’s living room. But its lights nearly went dark for good.

  • Central Oregon Mountain Bike Trail Guide
    Central Oregon Mountain Bike Trail Guide

    The Central Oregon mountain bike scene is 300 miles of diverse singletrack through high alpine forests and sagebrush dotted deserts from Madras to La Pine, Sisters to Prineville. Bulletin newspaper reporter Mark Morical has ridden just about every one of the trails you’ll find on any mountain bike trail map – and he’s written about his experience.

  • Bend’s Old Mill District Wears Many Fun-Filled Hats
    Bend’s Old Mill District Wears Many Fun-Filled Hats

    The Old Mill District, located in the heart of Bend along the Deschutes River, is a must-visit during your stay in Central Oregon. Once the center of Bend’s thriving lumber mill operations, the area deteriorated and sat vacant until a developer stepped in to turn it around in the late 1990s. Now, it’s a beautiful and vibrant mixed-use area filled with restaurants, a movie theater, local shops and national retail chains (GAP, REI, Victoria’s Secret, etc.)

  • Airshow of the Cascades – Sky High Thrills for the Family
    Airshow of the Cascades – Sky High Thrills for the Family

    For 20 years, Madras has been home to one of the more unsung family events in the region, the Airshow of the Cascades. It’s Oregon’s second-largest air show, giving people a chance to get up close and personal to aviation history both on the ground and in the air. You’ll see vintage and high-tech aircraft doing stunts and flying through a wall of fire.

  • Pumpkin Patches + Petting Zoos = Fall Family Fun
    Pumpkin Patches + Petting Zoos = Fall Family Fun

    As soon as the first hint of autumn rolls around, my three kids ask on a regular basis when we can go to the pumpkin patch. This is not simply because they’re eager to gather Halloween décor. To my kids (all under the age of 12), fall means visiting the farm and getting all the animal petting, ropes course playing and barbecue eating they can squeeze into one afternoon.

  • Hiking Black Butte – Central Oregon’s Iconic & Majestic Cinder Cone
    Hiking Black Butte – Central Oregon’s Iconic & Majestic Cinder Cone

    From a distance, Black Butte looks like it doesn’t quite match the picturesque alpine mountains that surround it. The volcanic rock that emerges above the tree line gives the impression of a hill constructed with loose stones that was carelessly dropped in the middle of the woods. Unlike the Cascades that puncture the horizon to the west and north, Black Butte can be hiked and enjoyed in under four hours.

  • Scenic Bikeways Showcase Central Oregon’s Backroad Beauty
    Scenic Bikeways Showcase Central Oregon’s Backroad Beauty

    Oregon’s official scenic bikeways are the first of their kind in the U.S – and Central Oregon is home to 6 of the state’s 11 most beautiful bike routes. An absolute summer must for road cyclists are riding the best of the best – our scenic bikeways. Every rider can find a ride to suit their style and mood, from family-friendly to adventurous.

  • Bend Concert Season Heats up at Les Schwab Amphitheater
    Bend Concert Season Heats up at Les Schwab Amphitheater

    Central Oregon’s iconic music venue, the Les Schwab Amphitheater in Bend, is bigger and better than ever before after undergoing a major renovation.