On one hand, the sheer volume of recreation around Central Oregon—indoors and out—makes our region a popular playground all year long. We’re lucky to host so many outstanding breweries, hiking trails, golf courses, and bike paths—but on the other hand, what happens when you’re not sure where to start? When you’re curious but don’t have the equipment, know-how, or even time to get acquainted with what might become your next favorite activity?
Fortunately, that’s where guided tours come in handy. Professional guides across the region work countless hours to remain up-to-date in their line of work—and are happy to show you the scene’s hottest new brewery, lead a hike on less-traveled trails, and offer behind-the-scenes experiences most of us can’t enjoy on our own. These tour leaders even show you the ropes if you’re new, keep you safe, and tailor experiences to your time constraints or levels of expertise. So if you’re looking to enjoy the wide range of recreation around Central Oregon, here’s a rundown of some of the region’s best guided adventures.
Bend Brewery Tour
With nearly two dozen breweries dotting Bend, it can be tough to know where to begin. Luckily, you don’t have to know—thanks, in part, to several tour operators showcasing the city’s celebrated craft beer scene.
Cycle Pub of Bend: Perhaps the most recognizable brewery tour around town is Cycle Pub of Bend—in which groups of up to 14 can pedal between stops in what looks like a roving pub on wheels. Each two-hour tour includes a professional guide, a stop at Silver Moon Brewing in downtown Bend, and optional stops for snacks and growler refills.
The Local Pour: If you’d rather someone else do the work, consider an ale trail trip with the Bend Brew Bus. Daily tours include light snacks, behind-the-scenes tours, and tastes at three breweries and distilleries—all with a knowledgeable guide who’s happy to explain the wide range of craft libations available around Bend.
Let it Ride Bend Electric Bikes: For customized tours from e-bikes, consider a two-hour outing with Let it Ride Bend Electric Bikes. The local tour operator hosts tours that usually show off breweries and tasting rooms—but which can also include cider makers, wine tasting rooms, and even crafters of kombucha (depending on your group’s preferences and interests).
Still thirsty? Learn more about taking a Bend brewery tour.
Central Oregon Hiking Trails
Hiking trails crisscross the mountains, forests, and deserts of Central Oregon—and tour operators offer guided experiences that get beyond basic treks.
Bend-based Wanderlust Tours, for instance, hosts guided sunset hikes in summer, with easy to moderate outings available to hikers of all skill levels. Each tour includes a professional naturalist guide, headlamps for the return trip, beverages (hot cocoa or Deschutes Brewery beer—your choice), and sweeping views of our colorful sunsets. Wanderlust also offers guided daytime hikes at nearby landmarks, such as Fort Rock, Smith Rock State Park, the Metolius River, and Black Butte, year-round.
And if you’re looking to enjoy a guided snowshoe hike in winter, Wanderlust has you covered with daytime and nighttime tours—the latter including time around a campfire.
Curious about where else to hike around the region? Get the skinny with our page on hiking trails in Central Oregon.
Scenic Drives near Bend
Central Oregon is rich in both history and scenery—and tour options abound for experiencing both with the help of a thoughtful, knowledgeable guide.
The Bend Tour Company is one such outfitter, offering trips through the landmarks of Central Oregon in open-air electric touring cars. Trips showcase the Deschutes River, the Old Mill District, Drake Park, downtown Bend, and more. (You can even book a combo tour that includes a trip to Bend breweries for more on what makes the city so special.)
Central Oregon Golf Trail
Okay, so not all of our tours and trails are led by professional guides. Case in point: the Central Oregon Golf Trail, a self-guided round-up of 30 golf courses throughout Central Oregon.
Staying at one of our world-class resorts? Hit the Scottish-style links at Tetherow, designed by award-winning architect David McLay Kidd, or one of the four courses at Sunriver Resort—where golfers can enjoy wetlands, pine forests, panoramic Cascade views, lava rock, and other natural wonders while spending a day on the links. Further north, the 18-hole Jack Nicklaus Signature Course at Pronghorn Resort was designed by the golf legend himself and includes a wide range of natural features that showcase Central Oregon’s unique landscapes—including lava rock ridges and juniper forests. (Of course, the golf courses at many of our resorts offer lessons and coaching if you’d still like a little guidance.)
Elsewhere around the region, you’ll find plenty of courses to stay busy. The 18-hole Meadow Lakes Golf Course crosses the Crooked River four times in Prineville, with nine ponds and 62 bunkers adding to the high-desert scenery. And just north of La Pine, the 18-hole Quail Run Golf Course hosts four sets of tees that create course lengths of more than 6,800 yards; views include verdant forests and panoramic views of Cascade peaks.
Central Oregon Bike Trails
Guided bike tours cover a lot of terrain—literally and figuratively—around Central Oregon.
Cog Wild, for instance, offers guided mountain bike tours for all skill levels around Mount Bachelor and Bend (which include snacks and post-ride beverages), fat biking tours on groomed trails at nearby sno-parks in winter, half- or full-day lessons, and other popular services. Another local outfitter, The Paulina Plunge, promises a descent of 2,000 vertical feet on a fat bike—with visits of up to six waterfalls (which range from 10 to 40 feet tall) and two natural water slides if you need to cool off.
For something closer to Bend, Wheel Fun Rentals operates a popular rental shop in the bike-friendly Old Mill District. There, visitors can rent surreys (four-wheeled bicycles for up to six riders), cruiser bikes, tandem bikes, and more; guided e-bike tours are also available.
Want to know where else your bike can take you? We host a page on popular biking trails in Central Oregon.
Ski Trails in Central Oregon
It’s a bit of a misnomer to call them “ski trails” in Central Oregon, but that might be a blessing in disguise: You’re blazing your own trail when heading into the region’s snowy backcountry with local outfitters—sometimes literally.
Oregon Ski Guides, for instance, offers numerous private ski tours—not to mention ski descents from South Sister, multi-day mountaineering clinics around Broken Top, and other only-in-Central Oregon adventures.
Cross-country skiers, meanwhile, can reserve a self-guided hut-to-hut tour with Three Sisters Backcountry. The 22-mile route follows the eastern boundary of the Three Sisters Wilderness, passing through an old-growth forest while occasionally enjoying views of the Three Sisters and Broken Top; the three-day, two-night traverse includes overnight stays in well-appointed huts (stocked with food, stoves, and kitchen supplies), ski equipment, and a shuttle between the start and end points.
Want to learn more? Hit the slopes with help from our page on ski trails in Central Oregon.
Local Professional Tour Guides
Looking for another kind of guided tour around Central Oregon? Whether on land or in air, you’ll find plenty of professional tours for almost every activity offered around the region.
For a testament to the seemingly never-ending variety of professionally led adventures, look no further than a hot air balloon tour with Big Sky Balloon Co., whose tours show off sweeping views of Smith Rock State Park, Cascade peaks, the Crooked River, and more.
For something more down-to-Earth (literally), join Central Oregon Adventures for a fast-paced snowmobile tour into the Cascade Lakes backcountry and around Mount Bachelor (with trips heading out as far as Elk Lake Resort); outings are offered all winter long.
Want to try fly-fishing on some of Central Oregon’s blue-ribbon waterways? River Borne Outfitters offers day-long and multi-day outings on the Deschutes River, Crooked River, and lakes on private ranches throughout Central Oregon. Elsewhere around the region, Cascade Guides & Outfitters offers guided trips along the Cascade Lakes Scenic Byway (at the likes of Wickiup Reservoir and Crane Prairie Reservoir), with half- and full-day trips available.
Want to try a guided rafting tour of the Deschutes River—whether Big Eddy Thriller near Bend or the many rapids around Maupin? We’ve got you covered with a page on whitewater rafting in Central Oregon.
And if the world-famous rock formations at Smith Rock State Park are calling to you, consider a class with Smith Rock Climbing School or Chockstone Climbing Guides, who will help you with guides, clinics, and other adventures.
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.