Take it to the Slopes: Where to Ski Near Bend, Oregon

By Max Bendis  


On our team at Ablis CBD, we have people who are bikers, hikers, joggers, climbers, and skiers, to name a few. We’re athletes, and we love exploring the outdoors. That’s why I’m happy to share my favorite places to ski near Bend, OR, my hometown and where Ablis CBD is based. We love it here for a lot of reasons

If you’re ever in our area and want to plan a day on the slopes, here’s where we’d suggest going near Bend, OR. Hope you have fun!

1. Mount Bachelor

This is closest to Bend, and probably one of the most well-known places to ski. It’s about a 30-minute drive West of Bend and has epic routes (check out this video, and you’ll see what I mean). When you get there, make your way up to the summit and get ready for adventure. 

There’s 4,300 acres of terrain here, and you can access all 360 degrees of the mountain from your starting point at the top. As the sixth largest ski resort in America, Mt. Bachelor has a lot to explore! Their trail map covers a lot of great ground, including the Woodward Mountain Park, a great place to go if you want to test your skills. 

Don’t miss their excellent events, resort activities (like sled dog rides…no, we’re not joking!), and great places to dine in-between your time on the slopes. You can purchase tickets online to save time (and money), and if you have a beginner skier in your crew, be sure to book a lesson in advance at the Gravity School. No skis? No worries—Mt. Bachelor has rental equipment that you can also reserve easily online. 

See it on SkiMaps

See it on Google Maps

Check out Mt. Bachelor’s website

2. Hoodoo Ski Area

Visitors and locals have been heading to Hoodoo for ski days for a long time: since 1934, to be exact. Things really became official in 1946, when they asked for a ski tow. Hoodoo now has one of “the largest tubing parks in the West” and is a must for anyone who wants to experience skiing (day or night) in Central Oregon.

Although it’s an hour southwest of Bend (located in Sisters, OR), the 800 acres of exciting terrain you’ll find here is definitely worth the drive. For a full look at what you’ll experience, check out their trail map. They also offer classes at the Ski & Ride School (with skis, snowboarding, and snow bikes), where you can learn a new skill or two during your visit. 

If you want to experience something you can’t find anywhere else in Central Oregon, make plans to go night skiing at Hoodoo: they have 23 night runs with custom-built lights that make sure it’s smooth skiing down the mountain, under the stars. Keep reading about why I like skiing at Hoodoo here

See it on SkiMaps

See it on Google Maps

Check out Hoodoo’s website

3. Willamette Pass Resort

For a tried-and-true local experience, hit up the slopes at Willamette Pass. This (now) resort was originally founded in 1941 with “a handful of tow ropes” by Roy and Edra Temple. It passed through several hands over the years before the Wiper family began taking care of it in 1982. 

This ski area may be the furthest from Bend (about an hour drive southwest, in Crescent Lake), but again, it’s undoubtedly worth the drive—especially if you’re wanting to get a great skiing experience for less cost. From the trails to the views, Willamette Pass gives the larger ski areas a good run for their money. They also offer skiing and snowboarding lessons, as well as rental gear if you need it. 

See it on SkiMaps

See it on Google Maps

Check out Willamette Pass’s website

First Time Skiing? Ablis CBD Has Some Tips. 

  1. Take it slow. — Don’t overexert yourself, especially during your first ski outing. Listen to your body so that you’re able to come back soon and have more fun on the slopes. 
  2. Look before you leap. — They say this in most beginner ski classes because it’s one of the most important tips: look to see where you’re going to land before taking the jump. 
  3. Make post-ski plans to unwind. — In the same way you don’t want to overdo it while you’re skiing, you want to make sure you wind down after you step off your skis. We have a few tips here



Meet Mckenna Brown: Professional Street Skier and Holistic Health Advocate

By Ablis CBD 

Mckenna Brown started snowboarding—yes, snowboarding, not skiing—when she was six. She didn’t put on a pair of skis until almost five years later, when she and her best friend decided to trade hobbies, just for fun. 

“When I was eleven, my best friend and I swapped one day,” said Mckenna. “Ever since then, I knew that skiing is what I’m supposed to be doing.” 

Her best friend’s dad rounded up an old pair of skis and boots from the back of their garage and taught Mckenna how to ski. Nine years later, the Bend, OR, native is twenty years old. She’s placed in several skiing competitions, and is now making waves (or should we say, tracks), in women’s street skiing. 

During her early teenage years, Mckenna was focused on training for competitions. She’d train at least four days a week. Ultimately, she was working toward the Olympics. Her training and dedication paid off, too—When she was 15, she placed second in both the rail jam and slopestyle competition at Nationals. 

Although she was undoubtedly skilled, after spending several years in the competition circuit, Mckenna found herself becoming undoubtedly spent. She came to the realization that it wasn’t really her goal to become an Olympic skier. She loved skiing—her “creative outlet”—but she didn’t like the intense pressure that came with the competitions. She wanted to do something…different. 

At age 16, Mckenna moved to Salt Lake City to live with a host family while attending her senior year of high school and training with the Park City Ski Team. In her spare time, she started skiing in the streets. 

“I started dibble dabbling in the streets, which is pretty wild, and I’d film it,” said Mckenna. “I realized that this was another realm within the ski industry. You film projects and sponsors love it, people love it. I love it. It’s much more creative and free flowing [than competitive skiing].” 

As Mckenna skied on home-made ramps and rails around town, she discovered that this type of skiing was much more her pace. She began spending more time street skiing, and now, several years later, focuses on skiing or filming projects. 

“There are only ten or so girls who are currently active in the street skiing industry,” said Mckenna. “I’m riding a very new train, and me and the other girls are trying to inspire more girls to get into it because it’s really fun.” 

When she was competitive skiing, Mckenna says, she didn’t work with many sponsors. In the street skiing space, however, she’s worked with several sponsor companies to film her street skiing talent. 

In 2020, she worked on an all-female film project in Quebec that highlighted the up-and-coming sport of women’s backcountry skiing, free skiing, and street skiing. The other female skiers featured in the project were all older than Mckenna by several years (the second youngest person was 26).

“It was a sponsored project with other girls who were all really experienced, which was awesome,” Mckenna said. “It’s great that we were all a part of [the project], and I felt so deeply connected with Canada. The energy was incredibly magical. It’s one of my favorite ski memories.” 

This is the first of many exciting skiing memories for Mckenna. Last year, she entered Level 1’s SUPERUNKNOWN contest (a video contest for unpaid skiers). The video that she sent in earned her a spot to participate in the next part of the contest: meeting up with 2020 winners at a resort, and filming content with Level 1 at the resort’s custom-build private park. Although the meet-up is currently on hold due to COVID-19, whoever stood out during the time at the resort would usually win a filming contract with Level 1 for a whole year. 

In 2020, Mckenna was also invited to a rail jam competition at Dew Tour. She didn’t place, but “getting invited was a big deal, to me at least, because people who are usually invited to [Dew Tour] are in the competition circuit and well known in the competition circuit,” she says. 

Even though she’s no longer competing regularly, Mckenna is looking forward to going back to Dew Tour again in the future. And, even if Dew Tour is the only “comp” she attends all year, there’s no doubt that Mckenna Brown is going to become a name to know in the female street skiing industry. 

“I’d really like to create movies that impact [women’s] skiing,” Mckenna said. “Women’s skiing is taken so seriously on the comp side of things. I want the younger generation of ski girls to know that there’s more out there than ‘become a professional competition skier or become nothing’.” 

Along with filming and skiing, Mckenna has also been studying holistic health and healing. She says that she’s dedicating some of her time to learning about these things so that she can one day create a business outside of skiing that’s focused on healthy living. 

“I’m very into energy healing and connecting the physical with the emotional,” said Mckenna. “Lately, I’ve been learning a lot about how focusing on an injury or stressing out about a pain in the body can send a stress response to that area and make it more inflamed.” 

This may be part of the reason why Mckenna is a fan of Ablis CBD tinctures, creams, and beverages: she says that she uses these things to calm her down when she’s anxious or stressed, and uses creams especially to ease menstrual pains or muscle inflammation after a day of street skiing. 

Yoga is another way that Mckenna takes care of her body and her mind. Ultimately, she says, a healthy life starts with thinking positively, having positive self-talk, and being aware of your self image. It’s all about being in tune with your body. In her opinion, it’s incredibly important to be in alignment with your happiest self. 

“Whenever I’m in a negative mindset or have negative influences, it really blocks me from who I’m supposed to be,” said Mckenna. “I didn’t feel like I was worthy until I figured out what made me happy with skiing. Now that I know I want to put my energy into street skiing, I can really work towards a future with more of my passions.” 


About Us

Why Ablis Loves Living in Bend, Oregon

By Ablis CBD 

Jim Bendis and Max Bendis founded Ablis CBD in the city of Bend, OR: home to outdoor-loving, creative people like them. Jim settled down in Bend after graduating from University of Oregon in 1983. He says that this town is “an outdoor enthusiast’s nirvana”. His son, Max (who was born and raised here), agrees that Bend is “the hub of adventure culture in Oregon.” 

The Ablis CBD founders have a point—The city of Bend neighbors Deschutes National Forest, Willamette National Forest, and Mt. Hood National Forest. Here, there’s plenty of outdoor adventures like hiking, mountain biking, skiing, and river rafting. 

An outdoor enthusiast’s nirvana…without a doubt. 

Ablis CEO Cody Cloyd is also a Bend native. He briefly moved away to go to college at the University of Oregon, but was “drawn back [to Bend] by the people he grew up with and the never-ending list of things to do here all year” after he graduated.

The great events are just one of the many reasons why Ablis CBD loves Bend, Oregon. Read on for more reasons why they’re happy to call this town home as they share a few of their favorite things to do in Bend.

Cody’s Can’t-Miss Events in Bend, OR 

  • Bite of Bend — Food, drinks, music. What more could you ask for?  
  • Zwicklemania — This annual brewery event is going virtual for 2021.
  • Beerfest — If you love craft beer, you can’t miss this! 
  • Munch and Music — A Bend summertime tradition with food trucks and live music. 
  • Winterfest — Holiday fun with art installations, ice carving, live music + more. 

What makes this city unique, in your opinion? 

Max: “It is the land of craft. It’s hard to say what causes this, maybe it’s in the water! But it’s the craft products—from beer, kombucha, cider, spirits, wine, cbd and other cannabis goodies, all the way to handmade snowboards and other neat outdoor things. We breed craft and creativity here. That is my favorite part about Bend!” 

Read More from Ablis — Beer Guide: The Best of Bend, OR Breweries 

Cody: “You don’t have to go out of town to experience outdoor activities. The Deschutes River runs through the center of town, there are killer rock formations to climb on in town, and some of the city parks are big enough and feel like you’re out in the woods, without even leaving town.” 

City Parks in Bend, OR

Jim: “It’s a real community made up of fun-loving outdoor enthusiasts.” 

What is your favorite outdoor activity in Bend?

Max: “Mountain biking! There are a lot of great places for mountain biking around here.” 

A Few of Max’s Favorite Places to Bike in Bend (*During MTB Season)

Cody: “There’s too many to pick just one! Right now, it’s skiing and snowboarding since that’s what’s available during this season. I’m actually quite the beginner on the slopes. I only started last year! I’m still working on my bucket list of places to check out, but I have been frequenting Hoodoo and am loving it!” 

Jim: “I love running along the river and through the woods.”

If you had a friend visiting from out of town for a weekend, where would you take them? 

Max:I would try to hit as many of my local favorite outdoor spots, adventures, and—of course—restaurants and breweries! A few of my go-to’s would be The Bite, Los Jalapenos, Crux Fermentation Project, and The Podski (a local food truck park). It would be hard to sample all of Bend in just a weekend…but we could try!” 

Cody:Silver Moon Brewing for lunch and beers, and then Smith Rock for hiking or climbing if it is not too cold/snowy. If it’s dumping snow, then we check out Mt. Bachelor for some tubing, skiing, or snowboarding.”

Jim: “Mountains during the day. Downtown Bend at night.” 

Plain and simple, why do you love living in Bend, Oregon?

Max: “This is a tough one because there are so many reasons! A huge reason is being with my friends and family. A lot of us have grown up together here and have had so many good times in Bend. The outdoor activities and the delicious beer and food are a plus as well! 😉” 

Cody: “Bend has everything I need: awesome people, killer food, great views, and never a lack of active things to do.”

Jim: “It’s the lifestyle.” 

There’s no doubt about it: There’s no place like home. Want to learn more about the minds behind Ablis CBD? Meet the team. 


How to Unwind After a Ski Day in Bend, OR

By Max Bendis

There’s no doubt that Bend, Oregon, has plenty of places to enjoy a day on the slopes. I’ve spent countless hours zipping around on skis, starting when I was four years old and my dad, Jim, introduced me to the sport. 

Since then, I’ve not only learned how to hone my skiing skills, but also how to kick back after a good workout. 

Why It’s Important to Unwind 

Personally, my knees take most of the beating when I skii, along with my legs (especially my glutes). If you want to get back out there without injuring yourself, you need to make sure that you’re taking care of your body after putting it under pressure skiing down the slopes. 

Max’s Favorite Ways to Recoup After Skiing in Bend, OR 

Visit Recharge Sport’s Recovery Lounge + Spa 

This recovery lounge in Bend has a lot of different gear you can use to wind down your body. I always gravitate towards the NormaTec Massage Boots, a leg compression system that squeezes different parts of your legs and increases your blood flow. 

The NormaTec Massage mimics a blood plump, pushing out old blood and lactic acid while giving your quads, glutes, and feet a squeeze. After a day on the slopes, your legs will thank you. 

At Recharge, you’ll also find hot and cold tubs that’ll treat your sore muscles. You can hop from a cool 52 degrees to a toasty 104 degrees, working with your body’s natural healing systems to get your blood moving like it’s meant to. 

Last but not least is the recovery lounge’s Infrared Sauna. This unique sauna penetrates the skin and heats muscles directly tissues with far-infrared technology (combined with mid- and near-infrared waves). You’re sure to walk out of here feeling refreshed and ready for your next adventure. 

Pro tip: Recharge also offers sports massage therapy if your muscles are in need of a little extra TLC. 

Stretch Your Body

Two of my favorite stretches after a day of skiing is the Pigeon Pose (a hip opener) and the World’s Greatest Stretch (which stretches all parts of the body). You can check out how to do these stretches below. 

How to Do the Pigeon Pose The Right Way: Watch Now 

  1. Start in the downward dog position with your hips up. 
  2. Lift your left leg into the sky, and bring your left foot forward to sit next to your left hand. 
  3. Lay your left knee down on the ground and slide your right leg back. 
  4. Untuck your right toes and press into the top of your foot. 
  5. Sit back on your hips and stretch tall through your crown (If there’s space between you and the ground, sit on a blanket). 
  6. Walk your hands forward and rest your forehead on the ground (or a block for support).
  7. Hold this pose for 10 breaths. 
  8. Return back to downward dog position, and repeat these steps on the other side of your body. 

How to Do the World’s Greatest Stretch: Watch Now (or embed) 

  1. Begin in a plan pose with your hands below your shoulders. 
  2. Step your left foot towards the outside of your left hand. 
  3. Move your left elbow inside towards your left foot. 
  4. Move your left hand outside your left foot and rotate it toward the ceiling. 
  5. Return your left hand back down the ground, and your left foot back to the plank. 
  6. Follow these steps on the other side of your body.  

Decompress with a Drink

Just as much as skiing tires out your body, it can tire out your mind, too. That’s why I like to kick back with a beer or a cocktail after wrapping up a ski day. 

Brother John’s never fails if you’re in need of a classic burger + beer combo. Looking for a different kind of unwind? Stop by Crater Lake Tasting Room and sip on a Rhye Lemonade (a mix of Ablis CBD, ginger, and Crater Lake Rye Whiskey). 

Keep Your Body Active

Even when it’s not skiing season, it’s always important to keep your body in shape by staying active…and anytime you’re active, it’s important to take care of yourself with a little R&R. Your body deserves a reward after an intense workout, and you deserve to keep enjoying active workouts and days on the slopes for many years to come. Give your body the rest it needs in its off time, and you will.

Happy adventuring, friends! 

About Us Uncategorized

An Epic Twelve Hours in Bend, Oregon with Max Bendis

By Max Bendis

With everything that has happened this year and so many states going back into lockdown, I can’t help but daydream about going places and doing things.

Remember having plans?

This year has definitely made me appreciate the little things like walking around town or sitting in a coffee shop, so my best day includes a good balance of memorable activities and life’s little pleasures. 

That’s why I decided to dream up what the best day in Bend, Oregon would look like. I hope this list inspires you to plan an epic day in Bend, too!

8 AM

First things first, caffeine! 

Backporch Coffee is my go-to for that daily fix, and you’ll need it for the day ahead. It’s a great spot to sit and enjoy a killer roast and take it easy for a few minutes.

They have several locations and they’re all great, so take your pick. If you prefer to stay home, you can buy their beans online.

9 AM

After you’ve become sufficiently caffeinated, shuttle up the hill to pick from one of Bend’s great mountain bike trails. Phil’s Trailhead is about 6 miles out and back and is a local favorite. 

In the winter months, I like to head out to Horse Ridge or Cline Butte to avoid a ton of snowfall. If you’re not into mountain biking, Pilot Butte is a great hike to view the city from up high.

12 PM

Time to get some food, and there’s no better spot than The Bite Tumalo. This food cart lot is home to some of my favorites like Heidi’s Grilled Cheesery.

Related: Top 10 Things To Do in Bend, Oregon

1 PM

In the summer months, there’s no better way to spend an afternoon in Bend than with a float down the Deschutes River. It winds right through Downtown Bend and is one of the best ways to see the city.

In the cooler months, go for a walk downtown in the Old Mill District. The Old Mill District is Bend’s historic area of town. Once an industrial area full of mills (hence the name), it now houses some of the best shops and eateries Bend has to offer. I recommend grabbing a beer at Brown Owl.

4 PM

For a brew with a view, Crux Fermentation Project is a perfect spot to wind down after an active morning on the trails and the river. The mountain views and open-air vibe make for a memorable evening and a perfect place to watch the sunset. And their beers are fantastic. 

6 PM

Dinner at Brother Jon’s is where my ideal day would take me. Their Peppersteak Sandwich is one of my all-time favorite bites in town, and I eat it regularly. 

Related: The Last Blockbuster on Earth is in Bend, Oregon

8 PM

Concerts at the Les Schwab Amphitheatre in the summertime or the Volcanic Theatre Pub are some of my most missed events of this year. 

Bend has a pretty great music scene for a small town, and I have missed supporting local bands like Strange Rover during the pandemic. 

10 PM

For a nightcap, I’d head into Cascade West Grub & Ale House, which is my favorite dive bar in town. 

Their menu is great for late-night bites as well. You’ll want to stay until last call at this place.

If you make it home before last call, finish your night off with popcorn and a classic rented from the last blockbuster on earth, only in Bend. 

I’m so looking forward to when this epic day in Bend is possible again. For now, buying merch online and ordering take-out are great ways to support your local favorites and help keep Bend alive! 

Keep reading: The Last Blockbuster on Earth


The Best Mountain Biking Trails Near Bend, Oregon

We are all about outdoor activities at Ablis, and mountain biking is a passion we can all seem to agree on. 

Bend offers tons of trails, of varying difficulties, for anyone looking to cover some ground and get your heart pumping. 

I am happy to share some of my favorite spots to tear up some dirt around Bend.

Why Bend for Mountain Biking

Bend is a killer destination for mountain biking. Oregon itself has some of the most epic mountain biking in the Pacific Northwest. 

Plus, we are really lucky to have some of the best spots right here in Bend. 

You can do over 30-mile rides inside Bend, so you could easily make a whole day of it.

I’ve been riding pretty much my whole life, except a few years after high school because of multiple injuries. 

I’ve gotten even more into riding in recent years, but I had to build it back up, and I don’t know if I’ll ever again have the confidence that I used to.

However, I feel really good about riding again this year!

That being said, there are some things to consider beforehand when you’re planning a ride. 

Choose the Right Course

First things first, you need to know what level of difficulty you’re going to be comfortable with.

A lot of the trails aren’t marked very well, but Mount Bachelor, for example, uses the same kind of markings as a ski terrain. 

So, you have the green circle — which is the easiest way down. The blue square is a little more medium and then there’s a black diamond and a double black diamond. 

They’ll also have signs that say mandatory drops and mandatory jumps on certain trails. 

For the most part, the trail system in town isn’t marked super well. However, there isn’t anything too crazy out there!

Then, determine how long of a ride you want to do. 

As I said, Bend has some longer rides available. You can do up to 100 miles near Bend. We even hold 100-mile races each year. 

Currently, my rides are 5 to 30 miles. Rarely more. The longest ride I’ve done myself was probably 35 or 40 miles. 

I did a couple of long road rides with my dad back in the day. I think we did 60 miles once.

We rode from town up to the top of the old McKenzie pass, which is a scenic byway just outside of Sisters, Oregon. It’s a super windy road up to the top, it’s only open in the summer, and they don’t plow it during the winter. 

There’s not a lot of traffic on it because it’s not the main highway. So, it’s great for scenic rides because it’s absolutely beautiful and super calm. 

Personally, I am more fond of gravity and downhill trails. 

We’ve got some of those around here, including Mount Bachelor

Mount Bachelor, a ski resort during the winter, is open for downhill mountain biking in the summer. They have a trail up there called Red Line that is pretty next level. 

It’s probably one of the coolest things in Bend, in my opinion. 

Red Line is a flowy, jump trail and it was built by some next level trail designers. 

Our friend Kyle Jameson was actually a big part of building it! 

Black Sage Dirt Works is his and another buddy’s company and they build incredible trails. They even built a pump track for us over at our property in Tumalo.

Related: CBD and Me: Kyle Jameson – Ablis CBD

Flagline trail is another favorite of mine. It’s a climb through a forest with incredible views.

There are so many to check out in Bend. There is truly something for everyone. 

Be Prepared

There’s nothing worse than getting all the way out to a trail and realizing your bike needs servicing. I always make sure my bike is dialed, check the tire pressure and the shock pressure, and just make sure it’s running smoothly overall. 

Then, I make sure I have all my gear, depending on if I’m riding a local trail or if I’m going to, say, Mount Bachelor.

It’s a little bit different because a trail like Bachelor, requires the full-face helmet and you’ll need all the motocross type of gear to ride up there. It’s just pretty gnarly. 

Around town though, just the basics will do (little pads and a helmet). 

Snacks and beverages are crucial. Having a little nutrition and maybe some CBD, caffeine, and water are important as well. 

A ride is always better with friends. Ride with people who know the trail if you can. 

However, I’m trying to make it a goal to explore a little more because sometimes I get stuck in riding the same trails all the time. It’s so easy to stick with what you know. 

Taking bike trips with friends has gotten me out of my comfort zone because they’re always looking for new places to explore. 

We’re in a high desert, so it gets super hot and all the moisture goes away in August. Everything is completely dried out, which makes the trails sandy and loose. 

Trails are open, but they’re not ideal in the high desert until Fall, which is my absolute favorite time of year for rides. 

It cools off a little bit, we get some moisture, some of the trails get some work. So it’s prime time.

The most practical advice I can give would be to look before you leap.

Be mindful of not trying to exceed your skill level too much. 

Play on the line of exceeding it, because that’s how you progress but don’t go too far.

Injuries suck and they can hurt your confidence on the trail.

Ablis and Mountain Biking

This year, we gave away a crazy special bike in our summer raffle. 

Last year, we did a local scavenger hunt and gave away five bikes. They weren’t as decked out as the one from this year, but it was still so fun to put together. 

We made these custom tokens out of tree branches essentially, hid them out in the woods, and made a big scavenger hunt out of it. We had so many people out looking for these tokens.

This year, we kept it pretty mellow because we couldn’t find anything that was super COVID friendly other than an online raffle.

We’d like to do it again next year for sure, but we’ll probably do something a little bit different.

This year, the raffle proceeds went to the Central Oregon Trail Alliance. 

Last year, we didn’t do a benefit. It was more about giving back to the community and having a great time outside!

One of the guys who won last year was a total beginner, but he decided to take up mountain biking and ended up losing about 65 pounds. He said he has ridden about 1,000 miles since he won the bike!

We are so proud to be a part of that story.

Related: Ablis’ Bike Raffle with COTA

The Best Local Resources

Bend Trails

It’s kind of a local organization. They post about some of the more popular trails. On their homepage, they have the latest Bend trail reports.

Mountain Bike Project – Oregon

This site gives you an in-depth look at specific trails all over the country. It includes difficulty, distance, elevation, and other trail info. 

Trail Forks Oregon

Another great link to access info on Oregon’s bike trails and their difficulty ratings.


Camping in Oregon: A Guide to Bend & Central Oregon Outdoors

At Ablis, we like to direct attention to where it belongs, which is on our home state of Oregon.     

Oregon has some of the most diverse natural landscapes in all of the continental U.S. So, it’s no surprise that it is a haven for camping enthusiasts. 

And camping, also no surprise, has become a wildly popular activity since it’s totally COVID-safe!

Rocky coastline, lush forests, and several mountain ranges within hours of each other means you’ve got options when you’re planning to go camping in Oregon. 

Why Oregon is Perfect for Camping 

Bend and Central Oregon are considered to be in the high desert.

We have the Cascade Mountain Range to the west, and it sucks a lot of the moisture out of the region because it’s a “rain shadow” desert. 

This means that the mountain ranges have blocked all the climates that would promote vegetation.  

But, we go through significant temperature fluctuations and get a ton of snow. 

You can drive four hours in any direction and hit a different climate in each direction. 

Drive two hours west and you’re in the lush, wet, green forest. 

Drive an hour east – and you’re in the desert. 

I love being able to plan a last-minute trip and still have all the options I could possibly want. 

What’s the Best Time of Year to Camp in Oregon? 

I would say the best time to go camping would be as soon as you’re sure it’s going to stop snowing. 

But truthfully, you’re never really sure. 

If you can handle the heat, another good time is in the dead of summer. It’s usually quite hot and sunny, although we do get the occasional good thunderstorm. 

The “season” for camping is any time between April, depending on the year and how the weather’s working, all the way until mid-to-late October. 

In October, Oregon goes full-on fall and all the leaves start changing. 

We’ve been really blessed this year to have very few wildfires. That has become a big problem. 

In the last half dozen years, we’ve had some really big wildfires which put a damper on camping and enjoying the outdoors. 

It would be wrong of me to talk about camping without touching on the wildfire problem. Most of these fires are completely preventable and born out of pure negligence. 

Be responsible with fire, regardless of the time of year. Even if it seems too wet for a fire to catch.

If you can’t put out your fire or you leave it unattended and it burns down a forest, you’ve just damaged an entire ecosystem that we may never get back. 

Why Camping is Important to Me 

My wife and I have two boys; a four and 15 month-old. I’m avidly trying to make sure they love the outdoors.

So, we take them camping to get them accustomed to being in nature. I want them to have the full experience. You have to get dirty. You have to forgo the shower. It’s all part of the experience!

Some people are like, “No, I’m never going anywhere. Put me in a hotel with a pool and I’ll be happy.”

That’s not what I want for my boys. It’s fun to be out in nature! The best part about it is being away from people.

That’s why I enjoy campgrounds that are a little more out of the way.

Secluded spots are harder to come by here in Bend because more and more people have found out how awesome it is, but they do exist! It just might be more of a journey to get there.

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Where are the Best Campsites in Oregon? 

One of my all-time favorites is Wikiup. I’ve camped out there two or three times at the Wikiup reservoir. It’s pretty special. 

There are not a lot of campsites, but more “camp wherever you want” type spots. Typically, you pay around ten bucks at a spot and it’s yours. 

There’s no designated, “Here’s site A1, site A2, etc.” like some campgrounds. It’s a bit more rustic and requires a little hoofing to get there.

There’s also a campground near Paulina Lake called the McKay campground. I’ve camped here a few times. It’s more of that classic plotted campground. 

The plots are bigger and set further apart. It’s a pay-as-you-stay situation as well. 

There’s a nice trail to hike down to a river that runs through it. In some areas, you’re overlooking the river or you’re right up next to it. There’s a small waterfall that creates a natural swimming pool. It’s a nice refreshing surprise at the end of your hike. 

If you’re looking for something near the coast, one of our favorite spots is Beverly Beach campground

This one made the list basically because there are not a lot of great spots to camp on the coast. It’s usually windy and cold. You’re pretty lucky to get those good hot days, but they’re awesome when they happen!

Camping directly on the beach is usually not an option unless you go South, but I like the central coast. It is a mile or two away from the actual beach, but it’s in a lush mangrove forest. 

The plots are overgrown and some of the spots are separated by physical plant walls. You get privacy, but it’s still a nice paved park with a spot for your car, a bench, and maybe a built-in barbecue. 

What I like most is that it allows you to see all of the Central Oregon coast, which is not really central Oregon at all. It’s just the central coast, but it’s amazing!

What to Bring?

Bring water! I usually bring two large, five-gallon jugs of water and I always need more. 

You’ve got to wash your dishes. You have to wash your hands. You might want to rinse off. As I said, I like to be close to another water source, like a river or lake, so that takes care of “bathing,” but the list goes on and on. 

You will likely need somewhere to sit as well. I know this one seems like a no brainer, but not all locations have a nice tidy log that fell over in the perfect spot. You have to plan accordingly. 

Obviously, you need a tent and other supplies, but these less obvious but oh so crucial essentials are key. 

If you go to one of the recommended spots, you’re only a half-hour away from town. Because you’re in Central Oregon, all of these spots feel far away, but they’re pretty close to “civilization.”

That’s the best part about Bend, Oregon. On a whim, we can jump in the car and get somewhere really cool. Just a half-hour drive and we have dozens of options.

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Final Tips

Know the weather depending on what time of the year you’re camping. 

Pack in, pack out. So many campgrounds provide efficient ways to get rid of your trash, so utilize them! We all know not to litter, but it’s best to leave no trace.

If you’re camping a little more remotely, just be responsible and pack it out. If you leave your stuff out there you’ll prohibit someone else from camping there or your trash will stay there forever, poisoning our lands.

There’s nothing worse than when you get to a very secluded spot and it feels so isolated from everything, and then you look down and there’s garbage.

Every bit of these forests have been walked on by someone in the past, but you can only tell when somebody leaves something behind. Leave the place better than you found it.

There are tons of amazing locations to camp, especially in Central Oregon. These are just a few that have facilitated some pretty epic family adventures. 

I hope this has inspired you to get outdoors and make some memories of your own!