Twinkling lights, fresh snow and fire pits bringing people together; it’s winter in Central Oregon! Bend and the surrounding towns within Central Oregon are great places to cozy up when the snow falls, and even better places to take part in winter recreation. Locals love to explore the nearby Cascade Mountains, with Mount Bachelor and plenty of sno parks located just a 30 minute drive away. Back in town, there are several breweries, cideries, wineries and distilleries waiting to be sampled. With so much to do, it can be tough to know where to start. Luckily, tours in Central Oregon that showcase the best outdoor and indoor recreation are available to help visitors make the most of their winter vacations.
Snowshoeing Tours in Bend and Central Oregon
Snowshoeing in Central Oregon is the perfect way to get out into nature and experience the stillness of a true winter wonderland. This activity is easy to pick up, yet still provides a good workout, much like warm-weather hiking. While plenty of snowshoeing is done throughout the region, a lot of it is done through rentals that are available in Bend, Sunriver and Sisters. There’s also an option for a guided tour with an established outfitter such as Wanderlust Tours. Wanderlust offers tours of all kinds in Central Oregon, and they are the only group to include snowshoe tours. They offer professionally-curated tours through spectacular scenery, aiming to show visitors quiet and secluded sections of the Cascades. Wanderlust also offers special tours like night treks where visitors wander under the stars, and holiday specials, such as a guided Valentine’s Day snowshoe trip that leads visitors to a secluded, romantic bonfire to enjoy warm drinks.
Guided Snowmobiling Trips in Central Oregon
As versatile as they are fun, snowmobiles are a popular way to get out into nature. Whether you’re looking to stick to the trail for an easy-going ride, or shred through several feet of powder in open meadows, snowmobiling in Central Oregon is sure to entertain. Similar to snowshoeing, there are plenty of rental options in Bend and Sunriver, but only one tour company offers a guided experience: Central Oregon Adventures. COA has a team of experienced backcountry riders who know all the best trails, climbing hills and meadows. The team promises to take guests to hidden sweet spots to provide an unforgettable experience. COA customizes their tours, offering guests the freedom to decide how advanced the ride will be, on the fly. This way, everyone from complete beginners to expert riders will be able to enjoy the day and make the most of the trip.
Discover Local Breweries with the Bend Ale Trail
A brewery tour offers a chance to sample the best drinks from several breweries and cideries in Bend. Use the Bend Ale Trail to visit a variety of watering holes, stamping a passport along the way and getting the chance to win prizes with each location visited. Here’s how it works: thirsty guests acquire either a physical passport or a smartphone app and plot out a course through seven unique territories. Beyond Bend, this adventure will showcase all the great breweries and cideries in Central Oregon. Stop by one of the locations listed in the app or passport to collect a stamp. Collect all the stamps from one territory to win a prize, and finish all seven territories to win an even bigger prize! Since this tour is not guided, it allows guests to design their own trail to fit their personal tastes, budgets and schedules. This tour requires finding a designated driver, but the DD doesn’t have to miss all the fun—designated drivers are eligible for their own prizes, like a new Hydroflask, as a thank you for being responsible.
Winery and Distillery Tours in Central Oregon
Bend might be known as Beer Town USA, but the options for wine and liquor tastings are nearly as vast as their brewed counterpart. The landscape in Central Oregon lends itself well to distilling processes; local distillers say that the high-quality water here is essential to their process, while any gin distiller will likely rely on the huge local supply of fresh juniper berries. Historically, Central Oregon’s agricultural backbone is wheat, making the region prime for whiskey-making. Those looking to sample the best distillery tastings and tours should check out the five Central Oregon distillers on The Oregon Distillery Trail. For a more localized experience, contact Wanderlust Tours for the Local Pour Tour, in which local guides take guests to three top distilleries around town. For wine, Bend Wine Tours offers personal-walking tours of the Old Mill District featuring four different wineries. Another option is to craft a DIY wine tour, and we can recommend some good spots! The Wine Shop and Beer Tasting Bar and The Good Drop Wine Shoppe are great locations to start your tour. From there, try walking down to the Old Mill to find Elixir Wine Group, Evoke Winery and Va Piano. Then, make your way to Northwest Crossing for Portello Wine Cafe.
So where it’s playing outside and cozying up by a fire pit for a brew, we are sure you will be able to find a winter tour or activity to enjoy during your stay in Central Oregon.
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Our Favorite Sledding Hills in and Near Sunriver
The town of Sunriver sits on the edge of Deschutes National Forest, surrounded by tall Ponderosa pines and, as the name suggests, plenty of sunshine and the meandering Deschutes River. However, Sunriver isn’t just a great spot to spend sunny days on the water. The town gets an annual 50 inches of snow, about 20 inches more than the nearby city of Bend receives, on average. Central Oregon weather can vary heavily within relatively small areas, and Sunriver is a huge benefactor of this. As a result, snow in Sunriver falls fast and hard, and leads to the perfect opportunities to break out winter sleds. Whether it’s an old school tobogan or something a bit more modern, be sure to visit Sunriver and the surrounding area for plenty of sledding options.
Ice Skating Rinks You Have to Try in Bend and Sunriver
Bend and Sunriver are two excellent winter destinations. The offering of winter activities in Central Oregon are immense. Snow typically falls fast and heavy and visitors get to experience a winter wonderland filled with snow capped Ponderosa pines and fresh powder. In such a winter wonderland, it makes sense that Bend and Sunriver would have a selection of ice skating spots. Whether guests choose to twirl on the ice, casually glide or just kick back with a hot cocoa while the kids play, a trip to the ice skating rink can help cap off any Central Oregon winter getaway.