Bend is famous for its abundance of clear, sunny days and relatively low precipitation (especially compared to the rest of the Northwest), but new residents moving to Bend still have questions about the high desert’s dramatic turns from summer to winter, and what to expect with each season. So we made a guide just for that! Here’s what the seasons look like in Bend, Oregon.
Spring in Bend is a constant jostling between winter and summer as both seek to remain dominant. That can lead to some wacky weather, including warm sun one day and snow the next! The good news is that spring also opens both the cold and warm month activities for residents. There’s still enough powder on the slopes to make regular trips up to the mountains, but the weather is getting warm enough to enjoy more outdoor time, hikes, jogging, and other activities that may have been paused over the winter.
Businesses also take advantage of this by opening up more outdoor spaces and advertising outdoor activities, from concerts to paddling boarding events. Just keep in mind, if you’re hitting the trails then you’ll really want your mosquito spray during this time of year!
Summer is when outdoor activities around Central Oregon really bloom. From bike races to free concerts at the Les Schwab amphitheater, there’s really something from everything. Make sure you put important events like Beerfest on your calendar! Temperatures here rise to reliable high 80s and venture even further up as August approaches, but the dry heat of the high desert doesn’t hinder anyone from enjoying the outdoors.
Pets and people alike love playing in the water during this time, so the Deschutes River can become a popular, crowded place. This is also the best time to plan summit hikes or camping trips around the trails in Central Oregon, many of which are not accessible during winter. If you can do it under the open sky, summer is the season to do it in! Unfortunately, the slopes do close for winter sports during this time, but there is still lots of mountain biking and zip-lining to try!
Unlike the back and forth of spring, fall tends to be a slower, steadier progression into winter weather. Temperatures usually remain high through September (make sure you check out Oktoberfest) and then start a steady decline. While Central Oregon doesn’t have many native trees that turn colors, Bend is full of carefully selected deciduous trees that look gorgeous in October. The nights start getting crisp and cold, and it’s best to finish any outdoor plans you have before the real winter weather hits.
This is also the season to bundle up, make sure your snow gear is prepared, and switch to winter tires on your vehicles if necessary. Snow in autumn isn’t very common until late November/December, but it can happen.
Outside the city, the higher elevations already have plenty of snowfall by the time winter hits, and that only increases during the coldest months – this is the perfect time for winter sports of all kinds, so make sure your slope passes and parking plans are ready! Snowshoeing and sledding are also popular, family-friendly activities. Temperatures are now well below freezing every night, so be sure to stay warm. Many businesses will put out heat lamps and light fires so people can still stay cozy.
Inside the city, snowfall can vary greatly from year to year. At least a few inches throughout winter is the norm, but some winters are much drier while others introduce Bend to several feet of snow with every blizzard. It’s best to prepare for anything! Ask the locals for advice if you have any questions, we’re always happy to help give advice about winter driving, how to prep your new home, and any other questions you may have!