Day trips from Bend.
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12 TOP Day Trips From Bend

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Taking a day trip from Bend is easy, and there are plenty of options!

Being that Bend has been home and my base for a good chunk of my life, trust me—you can’t go wrong using it as your point of return for some cool adventures nearby.

Here are our favorite and, most importantly, actually realistic, day trips from Bend.

Oh, and don’t worry—None of that 3 hours drive one-way crap, that’s not a day trip! We noted how far these spots are from Bend below too.

1. Check Out The Resort Town of Sunriver

25 minutes from Bend

Sunriver is a popular spot for people looking for great day trips from Bend. Golfing? Check. Biking? Miles of scenic trails. Kayaking? You bet.

This resort town offers a wide range of outdoor activities that can satisfy everyone from thrill-seekers to peace-seekers. Its vibe makes you feel like you’re always on vacation.

People walking and riding bikes along a tarmac pathway through Sunriver Resort with lake and mountain views.
Soak in the pretty views at Sunriver Resort before or after an exciting day on the water.

Sunriver is where you go to play, relax, and maybe brag a little to your friends about your epic Oregon adventure. You’ll also find LaPine State Park nearby is a great spot to hike around and go camping!


READ MORE: 7 Adventurous Things to Do in Sunriver, Oregon


2. Drive The Epic Cascade Lakes Scenic Byway

30 minutes from Bend

Buckle up for a drive on the Cascade Lakes Scenic Byway, where every turn is a postcard waiting to happen.

Nina in a bathing suit walking over a log besides the emerald-colored water of Devil's Lake and the surrounding forests of Oregon.
Insane color water at Devil’s Lake!

This route is dotted with more than a dozen alpine lakes, each offering unique vistas and activities. Whether you’re here to fish, paddleboard, or just soak in the views, the Cascade Lakes area is the spot.

You’ll want to head to Lava Lake or Elk Lake to rent water sports equipment. If you’re in the mood for trails, head to Devil’s Lake and start the ascent to South Sister, one of our favorite hikes in Bend!

You could spend DAYS out here in the Cascades Lakes, it’s absolutely stunning and one of the best days trips from Bend.


READ MORE: Exploring The Cascade Lakes in Oregon


3. Check Out The Newberry National Volcanic Monument

30 minutes from Bend

Welcome to a land sculpted by fire and ice, where volcanoes, lava flows, and lakes tell tales of Earth’s fiery past.

Nina looks out over Newberry National Volcanic Monument from Paulina Peak
Enjoy incredible views over Newberry National Volcanic Monument from Paulina Peak

The Newberry National Volcanic Monument is an outdoor classroom, adventure park, and science lab rolled into one. Explore the Lava River Cave, hike up to Paulina Peak for panoramic views, or relax by the twin lakes of Paulina and East.

Nina standing on the stairs leading into Boyd Cave near Newberry National Volcanic Monument.
Add Boyd Cave on to Your Newberry National Volcanic Monument Itinerary!

You’ll also find some pretty darn cool caves out here too, our favorites are Arnold Ice Cave and Boyd Cave.


READ MORE: Your Guide To Newberry National Volcanic Monument


4. Take a Trip Back in Time in Sisters, Oregon

30 minutes from Bend

Sisters is the kind of small town that big city folks daydream about. With its Western-themed architecture and friendly community, it’s as charming as they come.

A view across the lawn of the general store with a bunch of things for sale on it in Sisters.
Sisters!

But don’t let its quaintness fool you; Sisters is a gateway to outdoor adventures like hiking, biking, and fishing. We suggest going underground at Skylight Cave or hiking for great views above ground at Black Butte Trail!

The town also hosts an array of events throughout the year, from the famous Sisters Rodeo to the Outdoor Quilt Show. Sisters is where charm and adventure meet for a cup of coffee – and you’re invited.


READ MORE: 12 Awesome Things To Do in Sisters, Oregon


5. Head to The Underrated Ochoco National Forest

60 minutes from Bend

If you’re looking to escape the crowds and find your own slice of peace, the Ochoco National Forest is your spot. We don’t know why most people skip right over it!

With its diverse landscape of dense forests, open meadows, and rugged cliffs, it’s a haven for those who love the great outdoors.

A tall column of rock protruding
from the Ochoco Forest below on a sunny day.
Don’t miss out on Steins Pillar hike in Ochoco!

From star gazing at clear night skies to discovering secluded trails (our fav is Lookout Mountain), Ochoco offers a quieter area to hit the trails and take in some high desert landscapes.


READ MORE: Your Guide to The Ochoco National Forest


6. Hike to Salt Creek Falls

90 minutes from Bend

Salt Creek Falls is one of those places that remind you how cool nature really is. As the second-highest single-drop waterfall in Oregon, it offers a spectacular show of water power.

Salt Creek Falls seen from the nearby viewing platform with stunning vistas of forests, mountains and the sunset.
The views at Salt Creek Falls will take your breath away.

The viewing platform is just a short walk from the parking area, making it easily accessible for all. And for the adventurous souls, you can continue along the trails and check out Diamond Creek Falls which is well worth the extra effort.

7. McKenzie River Trail – A Hiker’s Paradise

90 minutes from Bend

In the heart of Oregon’s lush wilderness, the McKenzie River Trail is one of the most epic day trips from Bend because you get SO much bang for your buck (or I guess I should say time).

A long exposure of a river in the forest along the McKenzie River trail.
Along the McKenzie River trail.

You’ll be trekking alongside the crystal-clear McKenzie River, where the famous Blue Pool awaits to mesmerize you with its almost surreal, vibrant turquoise waters. But that’s not all.

The trail is also home to the thunderous Sahalie and Koosah Falls, which are two stunning falls which you may think are hidden in the forest but are both very easily accessible from the McKenzie Pass. Score!

Nina standing on a river bank overlooking Koosah Falls in the forests of Oregon.
Koosah Falls is a great stop along the trail!

Out this way, you’ll also want to pop by Clear Lake. You can choose to walk the trails around the lake, take it in while munching on a picnic, or just set up camp for the night and head back to Bend tomorrow.

We love this area, and it’s so close to Bend; it’s a perfect spot to spend the day. Don’t worry about actually hiking the whole trail either, you can easily see everything we listed above with a short stroll. There are several access points.


READ MORE: Your Guide To Hiking The McKenzie River Trail


8. Check Out Proxy Falls

90 minutes from Bend

Just when you thought waterfalls couldn’t get more stunning, Proxy Falls swoops in, boasting its own unique brand of breathtaking.

Garrett standing on a fallen tree in front of Proxy Falls waterfall in Eugene Oregon.
Garrett at Proxy Falls.

This spot is like nature’s version of a double-feature movie – two for the price of one! The lower and upper falls cascade over ancient lava beds, creating a misty, magical atmosphere that feels straight out of a fairy tale.

Proxy Falls is one of our favorite Bend Oregon waterfalls.
Lower Proxy Falls

You’ve never seen a cascade waterfall like this before, with insanely vibrant green moss peeking out from behind and perfectly strewn driftwood. It’s pretty darn easy to boot, making the reward that much sweeter.


READ MORE: Proxy Falls Hike


9. Lookout Over Lake Billy Chinook

90 minutes from Bend

The Cove Palisades State Park offers a stunning view over Lake Billy Chinook, and as soon as you step foot in the area, you know it’s something special.

The lake is set in a dramatic deep canyon surrounded by towering rimrock basalt cliffs; this isn’t your average lake.

A view over Lake Billy Chinook in between cliffs and bushes with the sun shining overhead.
Lake Billy Chinook in Oregon.

There are kayak tours available here, or you can put in your board or kayak at the Deschutes day-use area.

There are the Deschutes Camp and Group Camp campsites just behind the day-use area, so you can extend your stay here.

Just down the street, there’s the Tam-a-lau Trail for a moderate six-mile walk around The Cove Palisades so you can take in more of those views.


RELATED: Your Guide to Cove Palisades State Park


10. Tackle Mount Thielsen or Relax at Diamond Lake

90 minutes from Bend

You could spend a few days around this area and not get sick of it. The hike to Mount Theilsen will be a feat, it’s a hard 9-mile trek, but luckily there’s Diamond Lake just below where you can cool off.

A road leading through trees with a view of Mt. Thielsen in the distance on a sunny day.
Mt. Thielsen and Diamond Lake are great places to go near Bend.

Take a dip, kayak, paddleboard, fish, or almost any other lake activity you can think of is here.

11. Explore Mars Explore The Painted Hills

two hours from Bend

Nerd out on the history and paleontology and then hit the trails. The majority of the trails are straightforward walks that only go a short distance but transport you to an alien landscape of colorful multilayered hills for miles.

Nina in a blue dress looking out over the stunning read and orange colors of the Painted Hills.
Looking out over the beautiful Painted Hills in Eastern Oregon.

There are more trails in either direction from the Painted Hills at Sheep Rock Unit and Clarno, but you won’t be able to fit these three areas in one day.

While you’re in the area, a drive-through Mitchell is inevitable. Grab a brew and a bite to eat at Tiger Town and fill up your tank if needed.


READ MORE: Your Guide to Exploring The Painted Hills


12. Visit Oregon’s Only National Park, Crater Lake

two hours from Bend

There are around twenty or so trails sprinkled around Crater Lake, and it will easily take days to enjoy them all, but if you are looking for things to do around Bend, it’s possible to squeeze in a well-worth it visit here.

View from Phantom Ship Overlook on the Crater Lake Rim Drive
View from Phanton Ship Overlook at Crater Lake.

You can pop in to see Plaikni Falls and easy two-mile trail, then come back out for The Watchman Peak Trail, which is a moderate 1.6 miles up a peak for some truly spectacular views of the lake.

Nina in a yellow sweater and backpack sitting beside a tree by Crater Lake along the Cleetwood Cove Trail.
Crater Lake in Oregon.

There’s a trail down to Cleetwood Cove as well if you plan on taking a boat tour out, and if you’re strapped for time, you can quickly drive around the west rim and get some great views.


READ MORE:
Things To Do at Crater Lake National Park
Crater Lake Rim Drive: Everything You Need to Know!
9 Best Crater Lake Hikes You’ve Got to Take On!


Read more of our guides to Bend:

We hope this helped you choose which day trips from Bend to tackle!

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