Plan Your Visit To
Nestled at the eastern edge of Central Oregon, and in the heart of the Crooked River Caldera, Prineville has a lot in common with the rest of the region—but has consistently blazed its own trail since being founded in 1870.
Today, the oldest city in Central Oregon has plenty of what you love about the area: high-quality food crafted with care, cutting-edge craft beers, and plenty of outdoor recreation. But the city of 10,000 also makes its mark as the gateway to the Painted Hills, as a hotbed
of year-round angling opportunities, as a fun outpost with robust nightlife, and as a premier golf destination.
So as you plan your next getaway, here’s how to discover the charms of historic Prineville, Oregon.
Map of Prineville, Oregon
There’s a lot to enjoy in and around Prineville. Here’s a map for finding your way around, discovering your
next favorite attraction, and making the most of your time in the Prineville area.
Plan your adventure to Central Oregon.
Explore every corner of Elk Lake while paddling around in one of our kayaks.
$35 - $85
Night Photography Tour
Since Bend is located in such an amazing spot with hardly any ambient light, it lends itself to some awesome night photography. Whether it's the milky way, star trails, light writing, or the moon... we can target your tour to your specific night photo goals.Private Tour capped at 2 people to ensure personalized instruction and individualized attention.Tour Price: $325 up to 2 people
Brews & Views Paddling Tour
Adventure: Wanderlust Tours is the premier destination for paddling tours in Bend, Oregon! Join us on this iconic paddling tour on the high elevation mountain lakes in the mighty Cascade Range or along a sweet reach of the Deschutes River. Naturalist Guided Experience: Our renowned naturalist guides will highlight the sweet spots on these stunning lakes or the river 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! 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: Fall in Central Oregon brings us beautiful colors and crisp cool air. Along with these beautiful natural elements comes the uncertainty of conditions. Our guides will determine our paddling location (river or lake) on the day-of the tour that will best suite conditions, comfort and accessibility. This time of year we kayak on Deschutes River and Canoe Cascade Lakes.Deschutes River: The stretches of the Deschutes River we kayak are devoid of rapids, and provide a peaceful paddling experience for all ability levels.Cascade Lakes: 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!Don’t see the date you’re looking for? Please call our office at (541) 389-8359 to check availability.
$70 - $100
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
Besides comfort, the Day Dock provides some privacy for you and your group. It is your own private "beach." Includes BBQ, tables and chairs for 32, umbrellas, changing rooms, day bed, and an upper deck with a stellar view. Dogs are allowed! The Day Dock stays tied to the shore for easy access to bathroom facilities at the resort. There's a ladder on the swim dock and plenty of cleats to tie up your water toys, boats, and kayaks.
$300 - $400
Boomerang Bike Rental
The Pedego Boomerang is the most accessible electric bike ever. The ultra-low, 9” step-thru frame makes riding fun and easy for more people.A Pedego electric bike rental is the very best way to experience Bend and beyond! The nearby bike trails are safe and breathtakingly beautiful.Visitors always say it’s the most fun and memorable activity of their trip. And locals are surprised to find such an amazing experience right in their own backyard.Wherever you’re from, we’ll bend over backward to make sure you leave with a giant smile on your face!We deliver and pick up for Rentals watch for upcoming Rental Tent Locations. Let have some social distancing” FUN ”Locks and helmets are included with every rental.
$30 - $60
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.
Experience the peace and serenity of Elk Lake while paddling around in a canoe. Canoes can be rented in 2 hour increments and can be picked up at the Elk Lake Marina. Our canoes accommodate two people.
$45 - $85
Bonfire on the Snow Snowshoe Tours
Adventure: Wanderlust Tours invented this one-of-a-kind snowshoe tour under the light of our solar system’s twinkling lights. Cruising on snowshoes, our destination is a hand-carved amphitheater in the snow where a crackling bonfire awaits. Join us for a magical meander through the powdery snow-filled forest at night in the Cascade Mountains west of Bend, Oregon. Naturalist Guided Experience: Kicking through the snow-laden forest after the fall of darkness, our nose will, in part, lead us to a Michaelangelo-esque creation- an amazing snow built amphitheater. When the whiff of pine hits our nostrils anticipation will grow for a taste of delectable desserts and hazelnut espresso vodka-laced hot cocoa. Our naturalist guides will point out planets, stars and constellations as we relax in the glow of the fire. The hushed ambience of the forest will stir your soul. The magic of this wholly unique experience will remain instilled within you forever!Location: Snowshoeing tours take place in the areas around Mt. Bachelor and the surrounding Deschutes National Forest of the Cascade Mountain Range of Oregon. New to off-trail snowshoeing? Let Wanderlust Tours do the driving and teach you fun snowshoeing techniques and tricks. All tours include instruction. Wear winter boots and powder/ski pants to keep your feet and legs dry while snowshoeing.
What is Prineville, Oregon Known For?
With such a storied past and exciting present—not to mention some of Central Oregon’s most breathtaking outdoor beauty—it’s hard to narrow down what specifically Prineville is known for. But we’ll give it our best shot.
History: Prineville was founded in 1870 and, more than 150 years later, is the oldest city in Central Oregon. Visitors feel that connection to the past in the brick buildings that line Main Street through the heart of town, the neon lights buzzing over businesses that date back decades, and in stone architecture that recalls Prineville’s past (and present) as a trading post for the local ranching community. The city is even home to Oregon’s oldest public structure: the Crook County Courthouse, built in 1909. Best of all: You can learn about that history at the A.R. Bowman Museum, which traces the region’s history through exhibits, artifacts, displays, and more.
Growth: Even with such remarkable history, Prineville’s present and future are no less exciting. Apple and Facebook have a presence in the city, and a new class of entrepreneurs are opening restaurants, breweries, food cart pods, and other exciting businesses to serve locals and visitors alike.
Natural beauty: The Ochoco National Forest and Ochoco Mountains sit at Prineville’s eastern doorstep, offering access to dozens of miles of hiking and mountain biking trails through forests of ponderosa pine, wide-open meadows covered in colorful springtime wildflowers, towering rock formations, epic angling opportunities, dusty OHV paths, and more. Further east are the Painted Hills, boasting some of the state’s most-photographed attractions. Even the Ochoco Wayside State Scenic Viewpoint, perched above the Crooked River at the western edge of Prineville, affords dramatic views of the region’s disparate landscapes.
Things to Do in Prineville, Oregon
Whether making a day trip or spending the weekend, you’ll find plenty of things to do in Prineville, Oregon. Here’s a rundown of where to eat, where to go, and where to stay around the region.
Enjoy a satisfying meal: Prineville has long been surrounded by farms and cattle ranches, a tradition that continues today. So when you head out to eat, chances are good you’re enjoying locally sourced meats, fresh herbs and produce, and other elements of farm-to-table fare. Club Pioneer, for instance, opened in 1942 and remains a Prineville institution; the restaurant serves a meat-heavy menu that includes steak and prime rib (sourced from regional farms), seafood, pasta, and more. For a more casual dining experience, Dillon’s Grill prides itself on serving burgers crafted with fresh ingredients, authentic barbecue, steak, and seafood—along with 13 rotating taps of quality craft beer from regional breweries. In addition to these filling eateries, the city is home to a variety of cuisines—including tacos, sandwiches, sushi, ice cream, and more—so find your next favorite meal by exploring restaurants in Prineville, Oregon.
Visit the Painted Hills and the John Day Fossil Beds National Monument: The Painted Hills, one of three units comprising the John Day Fossil Beds National Monument, sit just an hour east of Prineville and showcase some of the oddest landscapes anywhere in Oregon. Check out the Painted Hills for mounds and rolling hillsides covered in soils of red, yellow, and other vibrant hues; short hiking trails lead through the otherworldly landscape and ascend to sweeping overlooks that showcase the breadth of the region.
Ride the Crooked River Canyon Scenic Bikeway: Dedicated cyclists love traveling the 37-mile Crooked River Canyon Scenic Bikeway, which departs from the southern edge of town before heading south along paved roads and into the heart of the Crooked River Canyon. Along the way, cyclists pass llama farms and cattle ranches in the shadow of basalt cliffs, follow the bubbling Crooked River, and ascend to viewpoints that showcase the sweeping expanse of the Central Oregon high desert. Ride in spring or fall for cooler temperatures and seasonal color in the trees and wildflowers lining the roadway. And if you’d rather see the region’s natural beauty from the comfort of your car, check out our round-up of scenic drives in Central Oregon.
Catch your dinner: Prineville sits surrounded by some of the region’s best angling opportunities. Try your fly on the Crooked River, which runs through town and is known for its year-round trout populations, or on the Prineville and Ochoco reservoirs. The Prineville Reservoir sits at the base of the Ochoco Mountains, boasts a surface area of roughly 3,000 acres, and is home to large populations of largemouth and smallmouth bass, as well as brown bullhead catfish; the Ochoco Reservoir, meanwhile, boasts approximately 1,000 surface acres and is home to large populations of rainbow trout, bass, and crappie. If you’re excited to fish other waterways throughout the region, learn more about the rivers in Central Oregon.
Sip some quality craft beer: After a day exploring the Painted Hills or cycling the Crooked River Canyon Scenic Bikeway, does anything sound better than a cold craft beer? We think not—and Prineville has plenty of suds to keep thirsty visitors sated. Crooked Roots Brewing, for instance, pours its own beers and ciders alongside ales, lagers, meads, seltzers, and wines from regional producers. And at the western edge of town, the Corral Taproom & Food Carts hosts a handful of up-and-coming food trucks dishing international cuisine, along with an indoor beer garden and plenty of outdoor seating; beer, cider, wine, kombucha, and hard seltzer is all available. Still thirsty? Get to know our breweries in Prineville, Oregon.
Unwind with a night away: Prineville is known for its laid-back, down-home charm—and that vibe extends to nearby lodgings. Discover Brasada Ranch Resort, just a half-hour southwest of town, for an unforgettable overnight experience that offers comfort, class, and style in equal measure. Attractions at the ranch include indoor and outdoor pools, spas, ranch-to-table dining, a weekly farmers market, nightly s’mores around the resort’s fire pits, an open-air Peloton Studio, more than 900 acres of horseback riding, an 18-hole golf course, and summertime activities for kids of all ages.
Enjoy the nightlife: Prineville works hard during the day—and knows how to cut loose when the sun goes down. The city boasts a fun nightlife scene, with a few downtown bars and pubs catering to locals and visitors looking to enjoy a night on the town. Sons of Beer has become a community gathering spot, thanks to a hearty food menu, friendly service, and 15 craft beers from Central Oregon and the broader Pacific Northwest on tap at any given time. Elsewhere around town, The Horseshoe Tavern bills itself as Prineville’s oldest bar and offers all kinds of fun—including open mic nights, a pool table, live music, weekly food specials, and more. If you want to keep the night going, explore the many bars in Prineville, Oregon.
Hit the links: Sunny days, warm temperatures, and stunning landscapes make Central Oregon a hotbed for bustling golf courses—and Prineville is no exception. Sitting right in town, the (public) Meadow Lakes Golf Course crosses the Crooked River four times and challenges golfers with rolling mounds, nine ponds, and 62 bunkers over the course of 18 gorgeous holes. Golfers love generous fairways, large greens, and five sets of tees. Want to know where else to play, including at nearby Brasada Ranch? Learn more about golf across Central Oregon.
If you’re looking for other fun activities around the region, learn more about things to do in Central Oregon.
More stories from Prineville
More inspiring stories, adventures, and tips & tricks for planning and experiencing the best Central Oregon has to offer.
Central Oregon Winter Adventures
WHEN THE SNOW FLIES, CENTRAL OREGON SHINES. ALL YOU HAVE TO DO IS CHOOSE YOUR ADVENTURE.
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.
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.
Central Oregon Golf: Best Par 3s
Play a good golf course and chances are that when you’re back at the 19th hole, you’re talking about the Par 3s. The short one you made double on. The bear where you snaked in a 20-footer for your only birdie all month. They’re the “short” holes that can make or break a round. Some of the signature holes on the Central Oregon Golf Trail are Par 3s. Here’s a look at some of the best.