Winter Activities in Central Oregon

Central Oregon shines in the wintertime, when snow covers Cascade Range forests and mountain peaks between late October and April.

With such a long season, it’s no surprise locals and visitors alike clamor for wintry fun around Central Oregon. And whatever winter means to you, chances are good you’ll find plenty to love around the region—including our downhill ski areas, groomed cross-country trails, skating rinks, and even relaxing day spas. Here’s a guide to some of the most popular seasonal activities around Central Oregon.

Enjoying the Snow Around Central Oregon

A family goes snowshoeing just outside Bend, Oregon

Imagine hitting the slopes of the sixth-largest ski resort in North America, cross-country skiing or snowshoeing through snow-covered forests, and snowmobiling into pristine backcountry—all on bluebird days with the sun on your face.

Around Central Oregon, where the first snow falls in the mountains in October and typically remains until March or April, those sunny skies aren’t the stuff of imagination; they’re an everyday occurrence across our region. Best of all: These memorable experiences are available to enthusiasts of all ages and abilities. Dust off your winter jacket, and check out some of our favorite snow activities in Central Oregon.

Cross Country Skiing

Regular snowfall creates the ideal conditions for cross-country skiing in Central Oregon, our sunny days mean the weather is always right for an outing, and snowy forests create an enchanting, fairytale-like setting.

Around Bend and Sunriver, several designated winter wonderlands—officially called Oregon Sno-Parks—pair their groomed trails with peaceful forests and views of nearby Cascade peaks. The dog-friendly Wanoga Snow Play Area Sno-Park is groomed four times per week near Bend, for instance, while Upper Three Creek Sno-Park is beloved for its warming hut and mountain views just outside Sisters. Curious to learn more about other groomed offerings around the region? Get the skinny on ski trails in Central Oregon.

 A couple goes cross-country skiing outside Bend, Oregon
Ice skating at The Pavilion in Bend, Oregon

Ice Skating

For a classic winter experience, try ice skating in Central Oregon—where rinks across the region invite skaters of all ages and offer rentals for the whole family (toddlers and up). 

The Village at Sunriver hosts a covered rink, typically open between late November and early April, boasting a mix of holiday music and upbeat tunes to soundtrack family outings. Redmond, meanwhile, hosts an uncovered, outdoor rink in the heart of downtown.

In Bend, The Pavilion offers covered (but open-air) ice skating between mid-October and April—complete with on-site fire pits to warm up afterward. Nearby Seventh Mountain Resort boasts the region’s oldest outdoor rink, surrounded all season long by light displays and festive decor.


Central Oregon boasts a trio of ski resorts in the Cascades—offering ample opportunities to enjoy one of the region’s most popular wintertime activities.

Mt. Bachelor Ski Resort, sitting just a half-hour from Bend, is the sixth-largest ski resort in North America and the largest in the Pacific Northwest. The popular ski resort boasts 3,365 feet of vertical drop, a suite of helpful services (from rentals to tune-ups), 360º skiing from the summit, and more than 100 runs for skiers of all abilities and skill levels.

Elsewhere, Hoodoo Ski Area has been going strong since 1938—and hosts more than 800 skiable acres, as well as Central Oregon’s only night skiing; Hoodoo offers 23 night runs that remain open until 9 p.m.

Further south, Willamette Pass Resort trades expansive terrain for impressive views: From the upper reaches of the ski area, visitors can spy nearby Cascade peaks, as well as a trio of alpine lakes. Still, Willamette Pass hosts 555 acres of skiable terrain, with eight black-diamond runs for experts.

For more, visit our page on skiing in Central Oregon for details and recommendations.

A skier at Mt. Bachelor near Bend, Oregon
Chairlift at Mt. Bachelor near Bend, Oregon
Sledding near Bend, Oregon


Kids of all ages love sledding and tubing around throughout Central Oregon. The kid-friendly Autobahn Tubing Park at Hoodoo Ski Area offers a gently sloped hillside, as well as a smaller, more laid-back sled hill. And Wanoga Snow Play Area Sno-Park, just outside Bend, deserves a special nod for its sledding opportunities; an open hillside offers easy sledding, and a warming hut provides a cozy respite from winter’s chill.

While you’re in the area, learn more about Bend, Oregon, winter activities.


Snowboarders find plenty to love about the ski resorts and ski areas in Central Oregon, which offer plenty of terrain for shredding throughout winter and spring.

Mt. Bachelor Ski Resort, for instance, hosts specially designed terrain for beginner boarders and a whopping 101 runs. More experienced snowboarders, meanwhile, can tackle the freestyle terrain park at Hoodoo Ski Area, which includes rails, tabletops, jumps, and other features for an adrenaline-pumping challenge.

Snowboarding at Hoodoo Ski Area
Snowmobiling is a popular sport in Central Oregon


With plenty of backcountry terrain to cover, it’s no wonder snowmobiling in Central Oregon has become a fun winter activity.

Just 20 minutes east of La Pine, 10 Mile Sno-Park offers access to more than 100 miles of groomed snowmobile trails within (and around) the Newberry National Volcanic Monument—making it one of the region’s best-loved destinations for snowmobilers. Elsewhere, the appropriately named Junction Sno-Park sits where several alpine lakes and scenic buttes meet and offers a warming shelter among its extensive network of groomed trails.


Central Oregon’s sno-parks host dozens of miles of groomed snowshoe trails for beginners and seasoned veterans alike. Dutchman Sno-Park, just 20 minutes southwest of Bend, hosts several miles of trails that head through open meadows and ascend Tumalo Mountain—with impressive Cascade peak views beckoning throughout. Also near Bend, Meissner Sno-Park/Trailhead boasts dedicated snowshoe trails to a pair of warming huts amid a quiet forest.

Check out our page for more insight on snowshoeing in Central Oregon.

A family snowshoeing outside Bend, Oregon

Other Winter Activities in Central Oregon

Shopping in Redmond, Oregon

Not up for a day in the snow? We get it: The powdery stuff isn’t for everyone. Fortunately, you’ll find plenty of other fun activities all winter long.

Winter Hiking

Want to get outdoors without post-holing or wading into snow drifts? No problem: Central Oregon hosts a bevy of winter hiking trails that remain accessible all season long.

Just a half-hour east of Bend, for instance, the 29,000-acre Oregon Badlands Wilderness hosts nearly 50 miles of trails that crisscross volcanic rock formations, high-desert terrain, and forests of gnarled juniper trees. The Badlands sit at a lower elevation than most popular destinations in Central Oregon, so they see less snow (and remain mostly accessible) in winter.

And sitting between Madras and Prineville, the short, wheelchair-accessible Rimrock Springs Trail passes through a mix of juniper and sagebrush while offering excellent wildlife viewing; keep an eye out for pronghorn antelope, waterfowl, bats, raptors, and more.

Winter hiking in Central Oregon
Shopping in Central Oregon


Shopping in Central Oregon is a popular activity, no matter the season—but holiday deals, seasonal offerings, and a festive spirit make it an especially fun winter pastime.

Downtown Bend is home to several boutiques, souvenir shops, bookstores, and mom-and-pop outfits selling a variety of artisan goods and hand-crafted items. Nearby, the Old Mill District hosts more than 40 shops—ranging from home-grown clothing stores to outposts from big-name brands—along the banks of the Deschutes River.

Downtown Redmond’s walkable core hosts shops that sell clothing, handcrafted items, books, musical instruments, antiques, and other gift-worthy goods. Just a short drive away, visitors can walk the main drag through Sisters, which is home to art galleries, souvenir shops, a bustling bookstore, apparel stores, and more. Further south, The Village at Sunriver is an open-air mall in Sunriver; dozens of shops call the village home, from artisans and booksellers to outdoor outfitters and fashionable boutiques. And at the eastern edge of Central Oregon, the Prineville Charm Trail brings together nearly 30 shops around town—with jewelry, leather goods, homemade items, apparel, and more available from regional retailers.

Day Spas

Relax and recharge with a day at the spa in Central Oregon. Shibui Spa at FivePine Lodge in Sisters is among the most popular spas in Central Oregon, thanks to a range of services that includes massages, body and facial treatments, wraps, and more.

In Bend, Anjou Spa takes a wide-ranging, holistic approach to health, with seasonal offerings, customized skin treatments, targeted massages, body and face detailing, and more. And the popular Spa W takes a thorough approach to rest and relaxation—with a pre-treatment steam room session and services that include manicures and pedicures, waxing, facial treatments, and a wide range of massages. The Sunriver Resort, meanwhile, hosts Sage Springs Club & Spa—a full-service spa that prides itself on offering a wide range of services and products that are (whenever possible) organic, locally sourced, and hand-crafted.

Parent and child enjoying the day spa at Juniper Preserve near Redmond and Bend, Oregon
Family at the High Desert Museum near Bend, Oregon

Indoor Activities for Kids

Around Central Oregon, several indoor activities offer a fun way to pass the time for kids of all ages. One of our most popular destinations is the High Desert Museum, which hosts live animals, exhibits, interactive displays, and more on the region’s history, wildlife, and natural wonders—just a 10-minute drive south of Bend. Elsewhere around town, Trampoline Zone hosts more than 50 trampoline beds—not to mention six climbing walls, a challenging laser maze, a ninja course with 15 fun obstacles, and indoor pickleball courts for active children.

Want to know where else to head inside and warm up around the region? Check out our page for more family-friendly activities.

Central Oregon Mural Trail

Central Oregon has long been home to artists whose creativity is on display in galleries, gift shops, and other memorable venues—so it’s no wonder they’ve worked together to form the Central Oregon Mural Trail.

Across the region, nine murals pay tribute to Central Oregon with retro-inspired designs that pay homage to the “Greetings from …” postcards of yesteryear. The self-guided tour takes visitors to popular stops (like Bend and Sunriver), as well as more off-the-beaten-path communities (such as Maupin, Prineville, and La Pine); each unique design pays tribute to that specific community with artistic flourishes that reflect local offerings. And given Central Oregon’s routinely sunny skies, the mural trail makes an excellent year-round attraction.

Mural in the Old Mill District in Bend, Oregon
Drinks at River Pig Saloon in Bend, Oregon

Dining Out Around Central Oregon

After a day of shopping, skiing, or admiring our murals, there’s no better way to unwind than over dinner and drinks at acclaimed restaurants in Central Oregon.

Wherever you go, you’ll find fresh, local fare at food cart pods (many of which offer indoor seating and cozy fire pits for lazy winter hangs), casual eateries (where beloved chefs whip up a globetrotting menu of international fare), and upscale establishments (many of which are known for incorporating seasonal ingredients in their inventive dishes).

Our mixologists are no slouch, either, putting together creative cocktails at chic lounges, bistros, and bars around the region; learn more about bars in Central Oregon to start planning a memorable night out.

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.