8 Great Winter Activities in Bend, Oregon


Winter weather is a little slow to arrive this year, but it’s coming soon and will probably pack a punch when it does: There’s no better way to celebrate than to bundle up and join everyone living in Bend for fun winter events. Let’s look at some of our favorites and when they start so your calendars will be ready!

1. Oregon WinterFest – 2/18

There’s no better way to start our list of events than with WinterFest. This traditional Bend festival is packed with incredible food and goods from West Coast vendors, including some of Northwest favorites you’ll want to stock up on for snack time. There’s also the popular ice carving competitions and iron fireplace sculptures, as well as light decorating options. Events range from concerts and boarding tricks to the cute K9 Kings show. But there’s one important change this year: The WinterFest is currently located at the Redmond Expo Center instead of the Old Mill grounds, so make your plans accordingly.

2. Wanderlust Tour’s Snowshoeing (and New Year’s, and Valentine’s) Adventures

Outdoor recreation in Bend isn’t complete without planning an outing with Wanderlust Tours and their snowshoe specialties. The organization offers a bonfire trip, a “Brews and Views” hike, and a Starlight/Moonlight tour, along with other options for all kinds of hikers! Don’t worry if you’ve never been snowshoeing before, these aren’t difficult hikes and they’re a great way to learn more while also meeting new people. These tours are ongoing throughout the season, so you can find multiple dates that could work for you.

Wanderlust also offers options for a variety of unique winter experiences, such as a New Year’s Eve bonfire, a special Valentine Weekend excursion, and more. If you want a special winter activity with the special people in your life, you should check it out.

3. High Desert Museum Winter Nights

Winter Nights occur after hours every Thursday in winter at the High Desert Museum. They open the café for food and drink (as well as the museum store for browsing) and showcase specific exhibits for patrons to enjoy. It’s a perfect option if you feel like going out to a special event but also would like to get out of the cold for a while.

4. Oregon Observatory Nighttime Visits

When the winter sky is clear, it’s the perfect time to grab the cocoa and head to the Oregon Observatory to enjoy the incredible Central Oregon night sky. The Observatory, located in Sunriver, makes this even easier with scheduled tours every Wednesday and Saturday in winter. Tickets cost $20 and must be purchased ahead of time online.

5. WinterVention – 1/22

After working in Bend all day, you may be looking for a winter watering hole to take a break. While there are many options with outdoor fireplaces and heaters to call your own, mark a spot on the Calendar for WinterVention at Avid Cider. Held by Hoodoo, this event allows you to sign up for a chance to win something from $50,000 in prizes, including lift tickets, snowboards, and more. It’s totally free, and you can enjoy some delicious ciders while you participate.

6. Trail of Dreams Sled Dog Rides

Mt. Bachelor offers these fun-filled and family-friendly outings to anyone who loves dogs, sleds, and dog sled adventures! Professional mushers take you for a ride along the slopes of Mt. Bachelor with trained dog teams – and you can even help feed and water the dogs afterward! This is an excellent pick for the young ones older than three in the family, who may not be old enough to hit the slopes on their own but still want to have fun: You can book sledding sessions throughout winter!

7. Elk Lake Resort Moonlight Ski and Bike

This special nighttime event is held periodically throughout the winter and is an excellent adventure for those looking to flex their winter sports muscles. Groups leave from the Dutchman Flat Sno Park and ski to Elk Lake Resort, where a delicious dinner awaits at the lodge. Don’t worry – you’ll get transportation back if you’re feeling full afterward.

8. Polar Plunge 2022 – 2/5

Riverbend Park’s Polar Plunge is on for this winter and you can sign up today for the morning splash. Money made with tickets helps benefit the Special Olympics, and people generally dress up in costumes and have a fun – and bracing – time. Old Mill is just a brief walk away if you want to change and warm up or try out some winter shopping.

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