Holy frostbite Aspen, I don’t think we’re in California’s Central Valley anymore! To ring in the New Year we visited Bend, Oregon to see how many adventures we could fit into four days. Let me tell you, once we started moving the blood began to flow, feeling returned to our appendages, and the adventures never stopped. Here’s how we spent four days in high desert paradise:
Snowshoe the mountains – When researching trails to snowshoe, Vista Butte sounded like an optimal view, but our options were limited to dog-friendly trails. I decided on Tumalo Falls since it seemed to be a Bend must-see. We parked at Skyliner Sno-Park and hiked along the south side of Tumalo Creek only seeing a few other folks until we reached the falls. The view was ours for few fleeting moments until a stream of visitors came flooding in. For the return trip, we strapped the snowshoes to our packs and hiked along plowed Tumalo Falls Road where we found the source of the visitor stream. It was a nice seven-mile loop with two different trails. Pick your route and enjoy a winter wonderland.
Shred Mount Bachelor – We were a few days late for fresh powder, but once the sun warmed the icy slopes the groomed runs were seemingly bottomless. We heard ski patrol had gone up to the summit and their trip down was icy and treacherous, so sadly we didn’t get to see the panorama from the top. However, the view of The Sisters from the northern slopes sufficed just fine. Also, be sure to stop at Clearing Rock Bar for a Bloody Mary, they have four tasty options!
We parked at the Ruffwear Dog Park at the western end of the West Village lot. The website description makes it sound like a magical dog haven. There was a groomed play area, but that’s about all that matches the description. The pet waste station was over flowing and there was a sign stating leashes required, not that anyone was taking note. Don’t get me wrong, Aspen frolicked in the snow with other adventure pups safely away from cars, but she was promised more…
Explore the desert – We went rockhounding in the desert east of Bend. The unnamed road we turned down and the mesa we hiked up were ours alone. The view from the top was vast and dusted with snow. We also pondered visiting Smith Rock State Park; word had it the snow on the ground was a nice complement to the craggily rocks. Sadly, there just wasn’t enough light on this winter day.
Travel the Bend Ale Trail – Challenge extended – visit 10 breweries along the ale trail to earn a Bend Silipint. Challenge accepted! The ale trail is a great way to explore the town and get a taste of what it has to offer. Look for a more detailed report next week, but in the meantime, I highly recommend taking on this challenge and I’ll be back to travel the trail when summer ales are flowing!
Explore town – Find your favorite coffee shop. Hike Pilot Butte. Walk around downtown, you may even discover an event! We happened upon First Friday Art Walk – downtown shops open late displaying local artwork, musicians playing, and spirits flowing to keep visitors warm. On our first night we stopped in at Crow’s Feet Commons to pick up Wildlife 4-8’s new skis. They invited Aspen in, which won me over from the start. Then looking around we found snow and bike equipment, coffee, and our first taste of Bend beer – it had it all and they liked my dog!
Keep it local – You can eat at Applebee’s and stay at a Holiday Inn just about anywhere. Eat, drink, and stay local. For breakfast we visited McKay Cottage Restaurant. My strawberry-yogurt crepe was delicious, but I’d be perfectly content eating a plate full of the scones covered in their homemade jam. For dinner we visited The Lot, a food truck courtyard with a beer garden. I was sad my stomach didn’t have enough space to finish my fish tacos from Real Food Street Bistro. Wildlife 4-8 enjoyed his pad thai from Thailandia. Plus the beer bar allowed us to revisit our favorite Bend beers! As for lodging, our first night we stayed at McMenamins Old St. Francis School, then rented the Drake West Bungalow from Home Spun Vacation Rentals, I highly recommend both!
Here’s to another day in high-desert paradise.
P.S. Find more helpful links on my Bend, Oregon Pinterest board.