The Bend Ale Trail, plus 300 days of sunshine a year. What are you waiting for? Let the beerventure begin!
If your fantasy list includes swimming in an ocean of beer, we’re not here to judge. We’re here to let you in on a little secret.
Okay, you may not be able to swim in the stuff, but the beer in Bend, Oregon, is so abundant and diverse that even folks who don’t fancy the suds can find something they love swilling.
This mountain town in the center of Oregon’s sunny high desert has been touted as the craft beer capital of America, with 15 breweries dotting the popular Bend Ale Trail. While you can plan a Bend “beerventure” 365 days a year, November is the primo time for beer aficionados. That’s when Bend Ale Trail Month kicks off with prizes, giveaways, and even a trophy for anyone who completes the Bend Ale Trail in the 30-day span.
First things first: If you hear “Oregon” and think “rain,” you’ve got it all wrong. That may be true on the wet west side of the state, but out here in the high desert, we’ve got 300 days of sunshine a year. With several daily nonstop flights from SEA to RDM, that puts you less than two hours from a pretty fab Vitamin D fix.
So what else can you do in Bend besides swimming in beer? Plenty! More than 277 miles of singletrack mountain bike trails sweep in and around the city, and trail runners do their thing along the Deschutes River. That same river is a hot spot for kayaking, canoeing, standup paddleboarding, or just lazing around in a float tube when the weather’s warm.
If it’s not warm, winter sports fans are usually enjoying bluebird powder days up on Mount Bachelor. A dormant volcano dotted with ski lifts, Nordic trails, and snowshoe paths, Mount Bachelor boasts 4,300 acres of lift-accessible terrain and the highest skiable elevation in Oregon and Washington. Just 20 minutes from town, Bachelor gets an average of 462 inches of snow per season, while Bend averages less than 24. Know what that means? You can ski powder all morning, then drive down the hill for an afternoon of hiking, biking, or strolling between breweries on the Bend Ale Trail.
We’re back to beer again, aren’t we? Hey, there’s a lot of it, so leave plenty of time for sampling hoppy IPAs, rich porters, and crisp kolsch. Leave the driving to someone else when you book a tour with the Bend Brew Bus. They’ll pick you up at your Bend hotel or vacation rental, drive you to four different breweries, and hook you up with samples, tours, snacks, and a boatload of beer knowledge before taking you safely back home.
If you want a more creative way to travel the trail, Cowboy Carriage offers beer tours in a horse-drawn wagon, or you can gather a group of buddies and use pedal power to cruise through town on the bike/bar hybrid known as the CyclePub.
Okay, so you’ve got a plan for what to do. How about where to stay? Bend boasts a plethora of unique options ranging from cozy B&Bs to vacation homes with perks like hot tubs and bikes, to budget-friendly, no-frills rooms, to luxury boutique hotels in the heart of historic Downtown Bend.
And since man (and woman!) cannot live on beer alone, you’ll be happy to know Bend is home to award-winning restaurants featuring unique, locally sourced cuisine. Meander through town and you’ll find fabulous Asian fusion, mouthwatering vegan and gluten-free options, unique twists on Pacific Northwest specialties, and even a couple chefs honored by the James Beard Foundation.
With your hunger for food, beer, and adventure now satisfied, you can fall asleep gazing out the window at an ocean of stars. Then dream about returning to Bend and doing the whole thing again next year.
Bend, Oregon is famous for outdoor pursuits and pristine beauty. Catch an art exhibit, dine at an award-winning restaurant, indulge yourself at a spa, or trek the legendary Bend Ale Trail, the largest beer trail in the West.