The most memorable trips are those with the capacity to offer the unexpected. Central Oregon is just such a destination, particularly in the winter and spring.
Here on the High Desert, nestled at the eastern base of the Cascade Range, Central Oregon is sheltered from the dampness of Oregon’s western reaches. Instead, Central Oregon transforms after a typically mild fall into a winter wonderland awash in natural beauty and adventure. Then in spring the blanket of snow gives way to a new season of outdoor adventures that are as accessible as in summer, but met with a solitude difficult to find any other time of year.
Blessed with a unique geography shaped by eons of volcanic activity, Central Oregon has earned its reputation as a place where Outside Adventure Begins. That adventure is not confined to a season. But in winter and spring, skiers, snowboarders and snowmobilers are offered a playground of their own to enjoy.
Iconic Mt. Bachelor, the sixth-largest ski resort in North America, is blessed with an average of 462 inches of light, dry powder each year. Here, the snowpack is among the most reliable in North America, stretching the snow-riding season from Thanksgiving Weekend until deep into May and offering up some of the most desirable spring conditions in the country.
As the weather warms in spring, a fresh playground is revealed. With a mild and dry climate that by April offers average high temperatures in the 60s, hiking, fishing, golfing, mountain biking, cycling and kayaking are pursued long before the summer begins.
“Every winter snow enthusiasts are drawn to Central Oregon’s Cascade Range, especially as Mt. Bachelor has built a reputation as one of the most rider-friendly mountains anywhere,” said Julia Theisen, president and CEO of Visit Central Oregon. “And spring offers a little bit of everything that makes Central Oregon great. It’s not uncommon here for visitors to spend the morning taking advantage of the perfect spring skiing conditions, then spend their afternoons taking advantage of wide-open singletrack, spring fishing or 18 holes at a Golf Digest Top 100 golf course.”
Always uncommonly beautiful, the peaks of the Three Sisters and Mt. Bachelor seem to watch over its diverse communities — from Central Oregon’s cultural center in Bend to the smaller charms of Sisters, Redmond, Maupin, and more. Here one will find more than outdoor just adventure. Central Oregon is home to more than 30 breweries, distilleries, and cideries, a creative culinary scene that includes everything from fine dining to an eclectic food truck culture, and arts and entertainment that are on par with cities much larger.
And some of the most appealing events in Central Oregon take place long after summer has ended, including the Grand Illumination at Sunriver (November 23), Oregon WinterFest (February 15-17), Mt. Bachelor RendezVan (April 22-26) and the legendary SELCO Pole Pedal Paddle (May 16).
“Central Oregon is truly a destination for all four seasons, which may surprise some people who mistakenly believe that all of Oregon is inundated with rain once the summer ends,” Theisen said. “Whether it’s summer, fall, winter or spring, the fun and adventure of the region never truly takes a vacation.”
Best of all, getting to Central Oregon is a breeze. Central Oregon is served by Redmond Municipal Airport, which will by January 2020 offer 30 daily nonstop flights connecting ten major markets.