Plan Your Visit To
Madras—the county seat of Jefferson County, Oregon—started in the early 1900s to serve the region’s ranchers. Over the years, it grew into a trading post and community for nearby farmers, many of whom grew (and continue to grow) garlic, carrots, onions, and other crops. Even today, you’ll still see ranches on the rolling hillsides outside of town and farms lining US-97—but change is afoot.
As Madras grows, it’s beginning to serve new audiences alongside the longtime standbys. Today, visitors can sample beer and spirits crafted in town, peruse a new wave of growing dispensaries, and find plenty of outdoor recreation—from a skate park and skydiving to camping, boating, hiking, and more. With so much to see—and so much change in recent years—it can be tough to know where to start. So here’s a look at how to plan your next epic trip to Madras.
Map of Madras, Oregon
US-97 runs north-south through town and offers easy access to most of the city’s best-loved attractions.
But getting off the highway and exploring the area beyond city limits is a rewarding experience.
Here’s a map to help you get started, whether staying in town or traveling further afield.
Plan your adventure to Central Oregon.
Sunset Hiking Tour
Adventure: Wanderlust Tours is the premier destination to discover a sweet spot to view our gorgeous sunsets behind Oregon’s backbone, the Cascade Range on the edge of Bend, Oregon. Join us on this super hike for vistas that are life-enriching!Naturalist Guided Experience: Somewhere in the forest, atop one of our local volcanoes, we’ll together reach ascents for red-splashed vistas filling our skies. Sunsets initiate a sense of peace at the day’s close. Usually a couple of miles with some elevation gain, our terrific guide will pick the right peak to climb to reward everyone with our globe’s days’-end rotation away from our bright star’s light. We’ll highlight the area’s flora, fauna and local history en route and provide a local beer or hot cocoa at our destination. We pick the amazing location you pick the beverage.Don’t see the date you’re looking for? Please call our office at (541) 389-8359 to check availability.
$70 - $100
Cascades Ring Of Fire Helicopter Tour
Fly with us to all the great locations around Bend and the Cascade Range. Tour highlights include Broken Top, Lava Lands State Park, Mt Bachelor, Tumalo Falls, The Old Mill and more! Year Round Tours and Adventures in Bend, Oregon Helicopter tours in Bend allow you to see more and go further. Our Cascades Ring of Fire Helicopter Tour is an unforgettable 80 mile scenic helicopter adventure for Bend visitors who want to experience as much of our magnificent snow-capped Cascade Range as possible. Paired with a complimentary wine tasting and bottle of wine after your flight, we have your day of exploring Bend covered.On this spectacular mountain helicopter tour you’ll soon be flying with us above the summits of Bend, with gorgeous views of snow-capped Cascade Mountains stretching from north to south and including Mount Hood, Mount Jefferson, Three Fingered Jack, Mount Washington, North Sister, Middle Sister, South Sister, Broken Top, and Mount Bachelor. It’s scenic flying that will leave you with lasting memories. Fly Bend, Oregon’s Cascade RangeOur Cascades helicopter tours showcase the unique part of the Pacific Ocean’s Ring of Fire, the ring of volcanoes and associated mountains around the Pacific Ocean. In fact all of the eruptions in the contiguous United States over the last 200 years have been from Cascade volcanoes. You’ll be front and center in your own private helicopter to see the after effects of our last “big one” at Broken Top Mountain 100,000 years ago, revealing the colorful insides of our very own complex stratovolcano and high altitude glacial lake at 10,000 feet.While Broken Top Mt is our local volcanic star on this helicopter tour, two well known stratovolcanoes are Krakatoa, best known for its catastrophic eruption in 1883 and Vesuvius, famous for its destruction of the towns Pompeii and Herculaneum in 79 CE.You’ll also fly in your own private helicopter over our local lakes and streams that feed into the mighty Columbia River flowing to the Pacific 300 miles away. The Cascade Range is still active to this day. Mt St Helens to our north remains hot after a devastating and well known eruption in 1980.The Helicopter TourOur Ring of Fire Helicopter Tours depart from our private heliport in Bend, Oregon the tour includes aerial views of the City of Bend, The Old Mill and the Deschutes River as well as soaring volcanic peaks. The tour is hosted aboard one of our comfortable and air-conditioned green R44 helicopters with wraparound windows. These aircraft have been designed for sightseeing and feature a nearly 180 degree field of view, clear passenger to pilot communications. Wine Tasting & Bottle of Wine Included We know you’re in Bend for a few days, so please enjoy a complimentary bottle of wine on us and a wine tasting at Va Piano Vineyard tasting room in The Old Mill. Walla Walla Washington (we love saying that) Va Piano Vineyards set up shop here in Bend at a lovely tasting room overlooking the Deschutes River. The perfect location to sample regional wines in Bend after a day of play. Our way of saying…welcome to Bend! Helicopter Tour Gift Certificates Corporate gift giving, holidays and birthdays means exciting gift certificates for Bend’s best scenic helicopter flights and tours through the stunning Cascade Range and beyond. Book your helicopter tour today and give the gift of exciting memories to those you love on this amazing year round helicopter tour. Guaranteed good weather flights. You’ll love getting up close to Mt. Bachelor and the Cascades. Breathtaking views on your own private helicopter are all yours to discover.
K1 Speed Indoor Kart Racing
Indoor Go Kart Racing Bend, OregonIn addition to our Hillsboro location, we also have an indoor go-kart racing location in Bend to meet your needs. Our K1 Speed Oregon locations are world-class entertainment venues that are designed to keep you entertained and engaged, whether you’re on or off the track. If you want to experience indoor karting yourself, are interested in hosting a fun and memorable party for a friend or loved one, or would like to plan a unique corporate function, we can help.K1 Speed Bend is a fun thing to do near Deschutes, Redmond, Tumalo, and Alfalfa, and is located near popular Bend attractions such as Deschutes Brewery, Les Schwab Amphitheater and the High Desert Museum.Indoor Go Kart Racing – The K1 Speed DifferenceSo what makes K1 Speed unique? Well, where do we start?! First off, every one of our locations, located throughout the United States from Southern California to Southern Florida, is entirely self-contained. Our indoor go-kart racing locations, including our Bend, OR location, allow individuals to race every day of the year, regardless of weather. Rain, snow, sleet, or blistering heat, driving enthusiasts can come to K1 Speed, escape the weather, and start racing!The other difference that sets K1 Speed apart from the competition, and the feature that we have grown and built our reputation on, is our use of 100-percent, all-electric karts. Forget about the lawn mower-powered go-karts of your youth. Our European-style electric karts are high-performance machines, producing tremendous torque and horsepower from advanced electric motors. These zero-emission karts outperform their gas-powered counterparts while being better for the environment, quieter, and arguably, easier to drive. With our karts, you don’t have to worry about stalling the engine or dropping out of the power band in a tight corner – our electric motors produce maximum torque at all speeds! Race wheel-to-wheel at speeds approaching 45 mph on an indoor track!
$22.95 - $54.95
Full Day Walk-In Upper Deschutes River
Full Day Walk-In: Upper Deschutes River
Cascade Lakes Brews & Views Canoe
Taste locally crafted beers and canoe the Cascade Lakes!Adventure: Wanderlust Tours is the premier destination for canoe tours in Bend, Oregon! Join us on this iconic paddling tour on the high elevation mountain lakes in the mighty Cascade Range. Naturalist Guided Experience: Our renowned naturalist guides will highlight the sweet spots on these stunning lakes that might not initially meet the eye. During our 2 hours on the water, along with the fun and sun, you’ll come to know our local beer scene through the sense of taste! Plus what a super time for the whole family to swim in our mountain lakes. You may also learn about the indigenous people who called Bend home and how they used the mountains and lakes for their livelihoods over 1000’s of years. Your crew will be energized with revelations about natural and cultural history that’ll keep your mind humming with delight long after you return home with fond memories of the tour.Location: Wear your swimsuit for a refreshing dip along with eco-friendly sunscreen! You’ll see parts of these large lakes that are only accessible by paddling into the fingers, coves, bays, and wetlands created by ancient eruptions and erosion. With sweeping views of our local mountains, our Bend, Oregon canoe tours have it all!OUR COMMON GOAL OF ENVIRONMENTAL CAREWe live, visit and play in Bend because of its physical beauty. Wanderlust Tours donates $1 for every person who participates on this tour to Pledge for the Wild. These funds help support the interconnected habitat for all who rely on it.
$70 - $100
Cascade Lakes Kayak Tours
Join us on this iconic paddling tour on the high elevation mountain lakes in the mighty Cascade Range.Adventure: Wanderlust Tours is the premier destination for canoe tours in Bend, Oregon! Join us on this iconic paddling tour on the high elevation mountain lakes in the mighty Cascade Range. Naturalist Guided Experience: Our renowned naturalist guides will highlight the sweet spots on these stunning lakes that might not initially meet the eye. During our 2 hours on the water, along with the fun and sun, we may impart an understanding of the region’s geology- how fire and ice built and sculpted our landscape. Or we might highlight how wetlands surrounding the lake provide incredible habitat for vocal avians amped on finding great lakeside food! Your crew will be energized with revelations about natural and cultural history that’ll keep your mind humming with delight long after you return home with fond memories of the tour. Location: Wear your swimsuit for a refreshing dip along with eco-friendly sunscreen! You’ll see parts of these large lakes that are only accessible by paddling into the fingers, coves, bays, and wetlands created by ancient eruptions and erosion. With sweeping views of our local mountains, our Bend, Oregon canoe tours have it all!Our kayaks are tandem sit-on-top models, which are comfortable, fun, and easy to paddle. Kayak tours are best for those over the age of 8, and the weight limit is 450 lbs per kayak. If you want to paddle with younger kids, consider our Canoe Tour!
$70 - $95
Experience the peace and serenity of Elk Lake While gliding on top of the water on a paddleboard. Paddle boards can be rented in 2 hour increments and can be picked up at the Elk Lake Marina. Reserver your stand up paddle board rental.
$40 - $160
Daytime Nature Photography Tour
Guided Photography Tours in Bend, Oregon and beyond.Want to capture the spectacular beauty of Oregon’s mountain and high desert landscape? Wanderlust Tours has partnered with one of Central Oregon's most talented landscape photographers to bring you the best Bend Oregon Nature Photography Tours. Join celebrated photographer Mike Putnam in venturing out to capture iconic images found only in Central Oregon. Don’t see the date you’re looking for? Please call our office at (541) 389-8359 to check availability.
$125 - $350
Deschutes River Kayak Tours
Adventure: Wanderlust Tours is the premier destination for kayak tours in Bend, Oregon! Join us on this iconic paddling tour on a sweet and placid reach of our signature river, the Deschutes. Naturalist Guided Experience: Our renowned naturalist guides will highlight the lava flows that influenced this reach of the river. The many species of flora and fauna that call the flow and its banks home is super intriguing with takeaways of the importance of all living things. Adaptation to ecosystems is nature’s way of coping and thriving and will keep your mind humming with delight long after you return home with fond memories of the tour.Location: The stretches of the Deschutes River we kayak are devoid of rapids, and provide a peaceful paddling experience for all ability levels. Even if you’ve paddled the Deschutes River before, with a professional naturalist guide, you’ll see the Deschutes from a completely new perspective! Don’t see the date you’re looking for? Please call our office at (541) 389-8359 to check availability.
$70 - $95
Things to Do in Madras, Oregon
Whether you’re spending the day or staying the night, you’ll find no shortage of things to do in Madras, Oregon—from outdoor recreation to craft food and beer to one of Central Oregon’s most colorful lavender farms. Here are a few ideas for enjoying your time in Madras.
Photo credit to @valvecovergasket
Sample the city’s best international cuisine: Madras is home to dozens of eateries, from national chains to a growing number of restaurants and food carts serving fare from around the world. The city, in particular, hosts a robust number of Mexican food offerings. Mi Casa Restaurant, for instance, is known for its hefty burritos and filling street tacos crafted with homemade tortillas; nearby, Rio Distinctive Mexican Cuisine serves a menu of inventive dishes that draw on both modern and traditional influences. Still hungry? Check out more Madras, Oregon restaurants to find your next favorite meal.
Visit the Erickson Aircraft Collection: Just north of Madras, the Erickson Aircraft Collection showcases a private collection of more than 20 rare, vintage aircraft—some of which date back to World War II and many of which are still in flying condition today. If the aircraft collection grabs your attention, make time for other museums across Central Oregon that showcase natural history, the region’s earliest residents, and more.
Catch some air at Madras Bike & Skate Park: Beginners and experts alike find plenty to love about Madras Bike & Skate Park, which hosts several fun features—such as deep bowls, rails, and ramps—that cater to athletes of all skill levels. A set of bleachers even encourages parents to stick around and watch their little boarders and BMX riders test their mettle. Want to know where else you can shred around the region? Learn more about Central Oregon skateparks.
Visit The Cove Palisades State Park: Just a half-hour southwest of town is The Cove Palisades State Park, one of the most popular hiking, boating, and angling destinations anywhere in Central Oregon. The park sits where the Crooked, Deschutes, and Metolius rivers come together to form Lake Billy Chinook, the backbone of the park’s outdoor recreation opportunities. Watercraft and water toy rentals are available between April and October, a few hiking trails crisscross the park, and wildlife viewing (especially of raptors soaring overhead) is a popular pastime in the park’s high-desert expanse. And while Lake Billy Chinook might be massive, with 72 miles of shoreline, it’s far from the region’s only body of water—so learn more about the lakes in Central Oregon.
Visit the city’s dispensaries: Since Oregon voters approved a measure to legalize marijuana in 2014, dispensaries have grown (sorry) like weeds around the state—and Madras is no exception, with a handful of dispensaries around town. Plantae, for instance, sources its flower from a farm in Central Oregon—and sells concentrates, edibles, topicals, and more.
Explore the area’s nightlife: Whether you want to kick back or keep the party going, Madras has plenty of nightlife to suit your needs. Madras Brewing Co. brews its own beers and pours a variety of wines and cocktails to pair with a food menu that leans heavily on wood-fired pizza. And just south of town, in the community of Metolius, the Desert Inn Sports Bar and Grill boasts a lively atmosphere with pool tables, shuffleboard, a classic pub food menu, a full bar, TVs for catching the big game, and an outdoor beer garden with a horseshoe pit, fire pit, and a stage for live music. Want to know where else to grab a drink, play pool, or hear some live music around town? Get details on the bars in Madras, Oregon.
Taste the spirit of Madras: When you sip a spirit from New Basin Distilling Company, you’re truly enjoying a taste of Madras. The distillery sources its grains from a Madras farm and prides itself on crafting small-batch spirits—including vodka and a variety of whiskeys. Want to learn more about the city’s craft beverage producers? Kick back with more on distilleries in Madras, Oregon.
Try your hand at skydiving: The Madras-based Skydive Awesome! showcases some of the best views in Oregon while offering one of the most thrilling experiences anywhere in the region; certified instructors have completed thousands of dives and specialize in tandem skydiving—making the activity accessible to divers of all skill levels. Views range from the Cascade Range to Lake Billy Chinook to Central Oregon’s high-desert landscape.
Enjoy a summertime visit to Cascade Lavender Farm: Every summer, the normally tan landscape of Central Oregon’s high desert is awash in vibrant hues of pink, blue, white, and (of course) deep purple at Cascade Lavender Farm. Between late June and early August, visitors can pick their own lavender from more than 4,000 plants—and other family-friendly attractions include a plant nursery, lavender shop, farm animals, and more.
Madras, Oregon Accommodations
If you’re coming from points north, Madras acts as a kind of gateway to Central Oregon—making the city a popular overnight stop. Plenty of international chains line US-97 through town, but if you’re looking for something a little more local, consider the Inn at Cross Keys Station; the three-story, 72-room hotel offers a wealth of amenities—including an indoor pool and hot tub, outdoor patio, free Wi-Fi, and an exercise room.
If you’re looking to rough it a bit, several RV parks and campgrounds can be found nearby. In particular, The Cove Palisades State Park hosts some of the best camping in Central Oregon, with more than 250 sites and three cabins spread across two campgrounds; amenities include flush toilets, showers, ranger-led interpretive programs, and easy access to nearby Lake Billy Chinook.
More stories from Madras
More inspiring stories, adventures, and tips & tricks for planning and experiencing the best Central Oregon has to offer.
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.
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.
Hopless in Central Oregon: Experience Scenic Cideries and Vino with a View
In an area dominated by craft beer, you might be wondering is there anything else on tap? The answer is, ‘Yes’. Central Oregon is home to award winning cideries and wineries and with postcard-worthy views from their tasting rooms – you won’t be disappointed. Named after the Three Sisters, Faith Hope and Charity Vineyards is just over 30 miles from Bend. It’s hard to complain about the drive though when furry faces from the Alpaca farm nearby greet you right before you turn onto the property.
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.
Winter Isn’t Only About Snow in Central Oregon
It’s true that when winter rolls around in Central Oregon, most people’s minds veer toward things to do in the snow. With Mt. Bachelor, Hoodoo, sno-parks and more, there’s plenty of options for folks to get out and play.