A Change of Seasons Ups the Fun in Central Oregon’s Liveliest Town
The OutdoorsBachelor boasts one of the nation’s longest ski seasons, with lifts typically running through Memorial Day. Spring means warm, windless days and sunny lunches on the deck at Clearing Rock Bar. In 2016, the resort’s $6 million high-speed quad lift Cloudchaser opened 635 more acres of terrain to lift access in what was already one of the largest ski resorts in the country. Starting in late spring and cruising into fall, Bendites shift gears and go biking. (The Central Oregon Trail Alliance offers maps and trail information.) When snow covers trails west of town, riders head north to the Maston area near Redmond for fast, flowy spins through 4,100 acres of high desert scrublands, or east to Prineville, for spectacular 20-mile rides around Lookout Mountain. The Gravity School at Bachelor offers lessons and a rental fleet of high-performance bikes for rides on its 13 miles of lift-serviced trails. Biking not your thing? A hike among ancient junipers in the 29,180-acre Oregon Badlands Wilderness Area, which begins about 16 miles southeast of Bend, is a wonderful way to stretch your legs when the Cascades are still socked in. Access the Ancient Juniper Trail from the Flatiron Rock Trailhead. In town, the Pavilion, off S.W. Simpson Avenue, offers ice-skating and curling lessons through March. As summer approaches, you can rent an inner tube to float down mellow sections of the whitewater park near the Old Mill District.
Dining and NightlifeBend’s beer reputation continues to grow with 19 breweries now in town and 25 in the region, as of last count. Catch the sunset with a pint of On the Fence at Crux Fermentation Project (above) or hit Worthy Brewing for its luscious warm beet salad and spacious beer garden. (Remember to plan a safe ride home.) Beyond beer, you can dig into Spanish-style tapas and the best off-the-menu bloody mary in town (ask for the chile Colorado sauce!) at Barrio, on Wall Street. The Stihl Whiskey Bar offers grilled or seared meats that pair with selections from its 200-strong menu of bourbons, ryes and other whiskeys. As tourist season goes full throttle, locals like to head out to eat at newer, lesser-known spots. Try Rockin’ Dave’s Bistro & Backstage Lounge for saucy meatballs served with a side of the Rolling Stones on the sound system, or Bethlyn’s Global Fusion for a Thai coconut curry bowl with fried julienned yams. Washington Dining & Cocktails, in Northwest Crossing, offers a fire pit on the patio and shucked oysters on the half shell.
–Written by Tim Neville
Interested in planning your next road trip with AAA Washington? Call your travel agent directly or your nearest AAA store to get pro tips, TripTik maps, and more. Find more Pacific Northwest scenic drives and road trips.
- From Portland: About 165 miles
- From Hood River: About 150 miles
- From downtown Bend, Mt. Bachelor ski resort is approximately 22 miles east
- The resort community of Sunriver is about 17 miles south.
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