Bend is the largest urban area in central Oregon. With a permanent population of around 77,000 people, the modestly sized city is a testament to just how sparsely developed and unspoiled this beautiful region of the Pacific Northwest really is. Bend makes an excellent base for visits to the area, which draws large numbers of tourists each year. Central Oregon has a wealth of outdoor activities to enjoy, with Bend also serving as a noteworthy hub of local history and culture.
If you’re planning a visit, here are 12 activities you’ll want to make room for in your itinerary:
12. Trek Through Smith Rock State Park
This 651-acre state park is open all year round, and features a network of gorgeous hiking trails that offer stunning views of the unspoiled wilderness that extends for miles in every direction. Part of Oregon’s high desert plateau landscape, the park has an elevation of around 3,000 feet, delivering incredible vantage points you’ll remember for a lifetime.
Smith Rock State Park is also a rock climber’s paradise, with well over 1,000 climbing areas. Bear one thing in mind as you plan your visit: conditions can be very hot in the summer, and daytime temperatures can break the 100-degree barrier. Spring and fall are generally the best times to visit.