Autumn feels like a long, slow exhale around Central Oregon. With summer behind us and kids back in school, crisp fall mornings give way to breezy, sun-kissed afternoons—the perfect weather for lazy hikes, relaxing horseback rides, and savory meals on our scenic patios.
There’s a lot to love about autumn in Central Oregon, so here are a few ideas to inspire your fall getaway:
Fall Activities in Central Oregon
Savoring Our Food Scene
With smaller crowds and fewer lines, fall is a great time to explore our exciting culinary scene. All over the region, chefs use locally sourced ingredients to craft palate-pleasing fare in fine-dining establishments, casual eateries, and bustling food cart pods alike. Get the skinny with our guide to dining in Central Oregon.
The kids might be in school again, but who says you can’t enjoy a weekend getaway? Educational opportunities await at museums and observatories, get active in parks and indoor play areas, and turn dinner into a night of fun and games at countless family-friendly restaurants. Get inspired with our round-up of kid-friendly activities in Central Oregon.
Head through colorful aspen groves, follow the bubbling Deschutes River, and take in views of snow-covered peaks with a horseback ride through the diverse landscapes of Central Oregon. Many of the region’s destination resorts and tour companies offer guided tours—as well as lessons for kids of all ages. Find the horseback riding locations around the region.
More than a dozen disc golf courses cover Central Oregon, catering to casual players and avid aficionados alike. The Hyzer Pines Disc Golf Course, sitting just west of downtown Sisters, is a mostly flat, 18-hole course that offers an approachable introduction to the sport. Further east, the Pine Nursery Disc Golf Course hosts 18 holes at the northeastern edge of Bend. Explore more on our region’s disc golf courses.
Central Oregon was formed, quite literally, by volcanic activity—and thousands of years of eruptions have left behind several underground caves and lava tubes for visitors to explore today. Check out our guide to visiting caves in Central Oregon for the lowdown on popular caves, tips on what to wear, what you can (and can’t) bring inside, and more important information.
Craft Beer and Cocktails
Spend a night on the town, sampling some of the many craft cocktails dreamed up by our region’s creative mixologists. Whether using regional juniper berries for gin or seasonal berries in small-batch vodkas, Central Oregon distilleries and cocktail bars are on the cutting edge of the craft beverage movement. If you’d rather sample our world-class ales and lagers, learn more about craft beer in Central Oregon.
Other Fall Outdoor Activities in Central Oregon
Crisp afternoons, colorful aspen groves, and bluebird skies all make autumn a great time to go hiking in Central Oregon.
Epic views await at the 97-foot-tall Tumalo Falls—as do hiking trails that ascend from its base and into forests of ponderosa pine alongside Tumalo Creek. For a quicker outing, hike to Steelhead Falls near Terrebonne; the wide waterfall flows into the Deschutes River in the heart of a rocky canyon. And if you need one last mountain hike before winter’s first snow, the nine-mile (round-trip) Green Lakes Trail shows off some of the Cascade peak views anywhere in Central Oregon. (Just be sure to snag your Central Cascades Wilderness Permit before heading out.)
Sweeping backroads, protected bike paths, and forested mountain bike trails span the Central Oregon landscape—making it a world-class destination for cyclists of all types. Ride nearly 40 miles of paved biking trails in Sunriver, get your heart pumping with wide-open road biking on five state-designated Oregon Scenic Byways across Central Oregon, or shred the many mountain bike trail systems within the region—including Mt. Bachelor Bike Park, which welcomes riders through September.
Arts and Culture
Central Oregon’s arts and culture scene is as wide-ranging as the landscapes that cover our beautiful region. Our screen and stage offerings alone span live music, arthouse films, and live performances—while our museums and galleries cover local history, wildlife, landscapes, and public art. You can even find the perfect souvenir with our guide to shopping in Bend, Sunriver, and beyond.
Challenging crags big and small dot the Central Oregon landscape, drawing climbers to our countless routes. Smith Rock State Park is the birthplace of sport climbing in the United States and is the region’s most popular climbing destination today, thanks to several thousand climbs (many of which are bolted routes) on dust-colored rock formations. And on those rare rainy days, move your climbing indoors to Bend Rock Gym or The Circuit Bouldering Gym. Learn more about climbing in the region and guided experiences.
Explore Nature’s Beauty
From the sagebrush-covered plains of the high desert to the towering pines and majestic mountain peaks, discover the diverse landscape Central Oregon has to offer.