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Everything to know for Visiting Bend Oregon



Bend is an outdoorsy person's heaven. This town is tucked away in the mountains of Eastern Oregon. There's the ever-so-tall-and-skinny Douglas fur trees that tower above you (but don't obstruct your views), enchanting forests with lush greenery and powerful waterfalls, snow covered peaks perfect for alpine skiing, and a unique dry desert to bike or hike in! This small town consists of young adult families and other adventurer lovers. You can start your day mountain biking on a trail and then skiing down Mt Bachelor for sunset. The ocean is still a days' drive away too! There's no limit to what you can do here.


Where to Stay

Bend can be pretty expensive, but it's worth it to stay in downtown so you're close to all the cozy restaurants, boutique shopping, and breweries! I love walking along the river trail too, the fall was particularly nice here. I don't recommend trying to stay North of Bend/Redmond to save money; it gets a little more sketchy once you go out of town. For safety as a girl, just stay in downtown Bend area. I've enjoyed my pet-friendly stays at Fairfield inn and Campfire Hotel (very cute and instagrammable, the pools and fireside seats were a nice touch when i visited in chilly November!).


Where to Eat

Despite being a smaller town, there are surprisingly good eats here! Everything from smaller, chill vibes to fancier restaurants with river views. I went with my dad to the Pine Tavern for a more upper scale meal; i loved this restaurant not only for the food, but they had this massive tree they built the restaurant around (instead of cutting down!). For more low-key vibes I recommend Sora sushi (it's a bonus that it's my dog's name!) and Active Culture (healthy quick bites!).


Also as you'll see on almost every Bend blog, you must try the ocean rolls at Sparrow Bakery. There are two Sparrow Bakeries when you search on google, but this is the one to go to! I've never gone and not had to wait in line, but it moves pretty fast! I enjoyed their coffees and croissant sandwiches too.



Hiking in Bend Oregon


About 20-30 minutes from Bend, is one of the most popular trails and viewpoints: Tumalo Falls. This is easily accessible and doesn't require any hiking. We tried to find a trail, but couldn't see where it started, so we just took in the views of the breathtaking falls and got up close and personal to it! I tried going here in the winter and it wasn't as pretty, so this is better saved for summer and fall! You can get up-close and personal with this waterfall, just be careful and watch your step. Bring your tripod to freeze the falls like the first photo below.


Located about 1.5 hours from Bend is one of the most beautiful hikes i've ever done: Tamolitch Blue Pool. The river resurfaces at the base through porous lava to create the intense blue color of the pool. However, it's freezing, so don't swim without some kind of dry suit and use caution with your pups. The hike isn't very long and is mostly flat, but it will take an additional 30 or so minutes to find your way down to the water; it's not very clear where to hike, but we circled around it and found a path down eventually. It rained on us the entire hike, but the rainforest-like trees are so dense that it didn't even get us wet, and the made its way out when we reached the end, so the drone could come out!




Smith Rock State Park (about 30 minutes from Bend) and did the main trail next to the parking lot. Dogs are allowed here, but it was honestly too hot for my dog in June. I'd recommend doing Misery Trail earlier or later in the year for cooler temperatures (or just wake up super early and knock it out!) This is a great place for rock climbing if you're into that as well.


Sparks Lake

For photography, this is a great spot to SUP and get some gorgeous sunset photos with Mt Bacheler ski resort in the background! You can also swim here in the summertime since it's not that deep.


Crater Lake National Park is about 2 hours away, making it a great day-trip! I haven't been able to visit this park yet due to weather conditions whenever I've been in the area, but it's high on my list! The park is really not worth it unless the visibility is clear. You can check conditions on their live webcams here.


Three Sisters

About 23 miles west of Bend are the Sisters mountains. I have still yet to do the Sisters summit hike, but it's been on my list for awhile and i'm hoping to climb it this summer. Three sisters (North, Middle and South sister) are each volcanoes and reach somewhere around 10,000 ft in elevation! You can find Oregon's highest alpine lake here and the third, fourth and fifth tallest peaks in Oregon.


Other Things to Do in Bend Oregon


Explore Downtown Bend

It's such a cute town, I immediately could see myself wanting to raise kids there because it's just so kid and dog-friendly! There's so much to do and lots of other young adult families! Drake Park or Riverbend park are both scenic and great places for your morning run as the trails both are nicely packed with gravel and follow the Deschutes River. I loved shopping with my pup at some of the fancy boutiques as well; I was able to find one of my favorite winter hats at Dutch + Bow. I also got some unique gifts for friends at the Ju-bee-lee store. Desperado Boutique has lots of western cowgirl vibes if that's what you're going for. Most of the places are dog-friendly too which makes it even better! You can also visit the final remaining Blockbuster store of course for some 90s nostalgia.



Cave Exploring

I admit that I haven't had the chance to do this yet, but really want to next time i'm there. If you're looking for a guided experience you can reserve a guide here. This is a great activity for children, but not something you'll want to do if you're just looking for dog-friendly things.


Horseback Riding

Riding horses in the mountains is a really unique way to explore an area! They are gorgeous creatures and it's really fun having the challenge of riding one while also seeing a beautiful place. You can reserve private groups here for the river trail.


Brewery Hoppin'

I'm not a huge beer drinker, but I do enjoy a glass in the summertime, especially if I can bring my dog and the views are nice! I love the brewery along the river. It's honestly so scenic and stunning! I don't always know where to go, so if you struggle with choosing, you can get a guide to help take you on a brewery tour!


If you just want a taste of the beer there, hop on over to 10 barrel brewing Co. It's a highly popular beer brand that originated in Bend, Oregon. This was the first (and last!) place that my dog tried beer. I made the mistake of letting her try an IPA from our flight and she has never trusted me again when it comes to beer! She made the scrunchiest sour face from it.


Mt Bachelor Skiing

Obviously if you're here in the winter then downhill skiing at Mt Bachelor is a must! Make sure you have your IKON ski pass if you plan on skiing here to save money! Mt Bachelor Nordic Center is a great place to checkout if you want to try Cross Country skiing as well.


Tips
  1. Bring your tripod because the waterfalls can be hard to capture smoothly. The lighting is also pretty dim in places like Blue Pool unless it's a sunny day, so my camera had difficulty focusing in the low light a bit! It would have been much easier with my tripod.

  2. GoPros are great to have for the clear blue water and withstanding the Oregon rainfall!

  3. Pack a nice raincoat. The weather changes all the time and it can be sunny one minute then raining the next! You just never know in the Pacific Northwest.

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Hi! I'm Jackie and my dog is Sora. I work remote as an engineer, but I love to spend my free time in nature and by traveling to new places. I take my camera wherever I go, and sometimes my drone.

Somewhere With Sora is a Seattle-based lifestyle and travel blog that provides helpful travel and adventure tips for all kinds of trips, with or without the dogs.

Let me help you plan your next trip!

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