Spring is a time of rebirth and growth in Central Oregon. While the Cascade peaks remain covered in snow—a world-class destination in their own right—signs of the season abound at lower elevations across the region.
Fed by winter snowmelt, the Deschutes River twists and turns through the region at its roaring peak; wildflowers bloom in the high desert and sun-kissed forests; and gradually warming temperatures bring sunny skies and open up a world of outdoor adventures. As spring blossoms, you can enjoy prime conditions for climbing, cycling, hiking, horseback riding, and other fun activities.
So as you plan your springtime outing in Central Oregon, here’s a round-up of what to get excited about.
Dozens of scenic golf courses in Central Oregon attract golfers from around the world—their curiosity piqued by the region’s natural beauty, perpetually sunny skies, and the sheer volume of courses.
Around Bend, Tetherow Resort features an 18-hole, Scottish-style links course designed by renowned architect David McLay Kidd, with scenery that includes shrubs, pine, and numerous Cascade peaks.
And at Sunriver Resort, four courses showcase iconic views across 63 gorgeous holes. The resort’s Crosswater Golf Course, for instance, was named one of the 100 best courses in the United States by Golf Digest—while Meadows Golf Course is beloved for its vintage design and sweeping mountain vistas.
Elsewhere around Central Oregon, Black Butte Ranch hosts a pair of courses that show off panoramic views of the nearby Three Sisters—and Pronghorn Club at Juniper Preserve features an 18-hole course that incorporates the region’s famous lava flows into its layout and was designed by legendary golfer Jack Nicklaus.
Cliff sides, khaki-colored rock faces, and craggy rock formations dot the Central Oregon high-desert landscape—all of which offer excellent opportunities for climbing and bouldering. And with mild temperatures, spring is an excellent time to try the sport yourself.
Smith Rock State Park, which in 1986 became the birthplace of sport climbing in the United States, is ground-zero for climbing in Central Oregon. The park, just outside Terrebonne, features several thousand climbs (more than a thousand of which are bolted) on formations and rock walls—all of which are accessible to beginners and veterans alike. For more on Smith Rock, local climbing gyms, bouldering, and more, visit our page about climbing in Central Oregon.
If you’re excited to explore Central Oregon on two wheels, you’re in luck. Road cyclists can ride the region’s scenic bikeways, with dramatic landscapes around every corner, while mountain bike riders can navigate a variety of well-designed trail systems. And in spring, pleasant temperatures and excellent trail conditions make it a good time to hop in the saddle for memorable biking around Central Oregon.
Road cyclists love exploring our Oregon Scenic Bikeways—state-designated routes that show off panoramic mountain vistas, the crystal-clear Deschutes River, massive lava flows, and more. Families, meanwhile, love the 5.5-mile Sun-Lava Paved Path, which heads between Sunriver and the Lava Lands Visitor Center (part of the Newberry National Volcanic Monument). Get the skinny on road biking in Central Oregon.
If shredding the trails is more your style, you’ll find plenty to love about mountain biking in Central Oregon. The region boasts more than 300 miles of trails—with epic rides at Mt. Bachelor Bike Park, the well-maintained Phil’s Trail Complex near Bend, and the Peterson Ridge Trails system just south of downtown Sisters.
There’s no bad time to go hiking in Central Oregon—but there’s something special about spring. The season brings wildflower blooms, sunny skies, and crisp afternoons to Central Oregon—essentially, all you could want from a day on the trail.
Just east of Bend, the Oregon Badlands Wilderness Area hosts several miles of trails that pass centuries-old juniper trees, ancient lava flows, and craggy lava formations; cooler temperatures and occasional wildlife sightings make the largely shade-free Oregon Badlands a solid spring outing.
Near Sunriver, the Deschutes River Trail passes through pine forests and lava flows while offering views of two raging waterfalls in the river. Further east, just a short drive from Prineville, the Steins Pillar trail heads through a forest of ponderosa pine, passes meadows of colorful wildflowers, and ends at the base of its namesake rock formation.
Curious about other outdoor opportunities in the area? Learn more about hiking in Central Oregon.
Other Spring Activities in Central Oregon
The number of outdoor opportunities you can enjoy in Central Oregon is limited only by how much time you have on your next vacation. So if you’re still looking for inspiration, here are a few additional ideas for your next trip.
State & National Parks
Wherever you go in Central Oregon, you’re never far from the region’s state and national parks.
Our state parks include Smith Rock State Park, home to craggy rock formations along the Crooked River; Pilot Butte State Scenic Viewpoint, which boasts 360-degree views of Cascade peaks, the expansive high desert, and the city of Bend; and Tumalo State Park, where you can camp in a forested high-desert environment near the Deschutes River.
Central Oregon is also home to several parks managed by the National Park Service. Those include Crater Lake National Park, Oregon’s only national park; the Painted Hills unit of the John Day Fossil Beds National Monument, home to colorful hillsides and geologic wonder; and the Newberry National Volcanic Monument, where you can enjoy lakes, lava flows, sweeping views, and other scenic sites.
Learn more about national parks and state parks in Central Oregon.
All over Central Oregon, disc golf courses offer a fun, laid-back way to get outdoors. The Pine Nursery Disc Golf Course, for instance, boasts 18 holes, views of Cascade peaks, and a few lava flows that entice beginners and veterans alike. And in Sisters, the Hyzer Pines Disc Golf Course features 18 holes that pass through meadows and wooded areas alike. To learn more, get the lowdown on courses with our page about disc golf in Central Oregon.
From the Deschutes River to lakes and reservoirs around the region, Central Oregon is home to myriad fishing holes with cool waters that attract trout, steelhead, and other species.
The 3,9000-acre Lake Billy Chinook, for instance, sits in the heart of The Cove Palisades State Park (just a half-hour north of Redmond)—and offers a variety of opportunities to catch trout, kokanee salmon, and smallmouth bass. The crystal-clear Metolius River, meanwhile, sits near Sisters and teases anglers with runs of brown trout, bull trout, and rainbow trout. See where else to go (and what you’ll catch) with our guide to fishing in Central Oregon.
You’ll find plenty of scenic destinations for horseback riding in Central Oregon.
Smith Rock Trail Rides, for instance, departs from a private ranch that borders its namesake park and offers peaceful jaunts through the Crooked River canyon. And Sunriver Stables offers rides for beginners and experts alike between spring and early fall at Sunriver Resort. Outside of Sisters, Black Butte Stables leads trail rides in the forests around Black Butte Ranch.
Whether you’re enjoying spring break with the family or a weekend getaway with the squad, pamper yourself with spa services on your next visit to Central Oregon. The Japanese-inspired Shibui Spa at FivePine Lodge, for instance, offers massage services, facials, wraps, waxing, and other services at the eastern edge of Sisters. And Sunriver Resort’s Sage Springs Club & Spa offers treatments, mani-pedis, and more. Learn more about health and wellness in Central Oregon.
Kids of all ages find plenty to love about Central Oregon—from educational outings to active adventures. The award-winning High Desert Museum, for instance, offers indoor and outdoor attractions that include live animals that are native to the area, interpretive exhibits on the history of the region, and more. For a rainy-day excursion, check out K1 Speed in Bend—where zero-emissions go-karts zip around a customized, one-of-a-kind track you won’t find anywhere else in the world. And if your little one is a budding hiker, check out the mostly flat hike to Sahalie and Koosah Falls along the McKenzie River.
See our round-up of additional kid-friendly activities in Central Oregon.
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.