Fall is a great time to visit Bend. The leaves are changing, apples and pumpkins are in season, and the weather is turning nippy. While you might not feel like swimming in a freezing river, you can still enjoy almost all the great outdoor activities of summertime, while also enjoying the special activities that only happen in fall. Check out some of our favorite things to do around Bend, Oregon in the fall below!
Enjoy the Bounty of the Harvest
Fall is a great time to embrace the seasonal menus of Bend restaurants, so many of which focus on local ingredients. In fall, you’ll definitely find pumpkin everything, including Bend’s famous pumpkin beers! Sample some from different breweries; who knows? You may just find a new favorite beverage. Maybe the best (and easiest) way to find that perfect fall brew is to tour the “The Bend Ale Trail.” With over twenty breweries on the list, you can take a guided tour (letting someone else do the driving) or grab your buddies and hit the trail on your own. Here are a few of our favorites that should be at the top of your tour: The Deschutes Brewery’s Black Butte Porter and Jubelale Festive Winter Ale, and the Salted Caramel Porter from Cascade Lakes Brewing Co. And if you really do like pumpkin in any form, the pumpkin Bibbidi Bobbidi Boo from Riverbend Brewery is for you. Arrive early, take the brewery tours, then relax and sample their wares.
Another great thing to do in fall in central Oregon is to harvest your own. You’ll find a few local pumpkin patches not too far from Bend (like Smith Rock Ranch in Terrebonne), and their season is typically in the month of October. Get your fall on with corn mazes, pony rides, and of course, pumpkins! If you’re in the mood for apples instead, you’ll have to take a day trip and venture further out of Bend. Oregon’s best produce tends to grow a little further west, but you can still plan a day out of it and enjoy some fresh apples and pears along with a very scenic drive.
Enjoy Fall Festivals
One of the best things about fall is all fun festivals – like Oktoberfest! Every year, towns and cities all around the world celebrate this German holiday, and Bend is no exception. Bend’s Oktoberfest is the perfect way to kick off your holiday season, with great food, cider, live music, arts and crafts, and plenty of beer. And there’s the Bend Fall Festival in early October, the Harvest Dinner at the High Desert Museum (where you can enjoy delicious farm-to-table dishes), and the annual Bend Film Festival (the second weekend of October).
Of course, there’s Halloween, the biggest fall event every year! Grab the kids and head to downtown for trick-or-treating, or to the The Old Mill District for trick-or-treat fun (for kids of all ages). There’ll be six unique 3-D photo booths this year with themes like Indiana Jones, Black Panther and Frozen. The Old Mill District is worth visiting whether it’s Halloween or not. This historic old lumber mill is full of shops, galleries, bars and restaurants, parks, and multi-use trails.
View the Fall Foliage
Of course, everyone’s favorite thing to do in fall is to admire the trees as they change color. And Bend is a great place to do that! Take a hike along one of the beautiful rivers in the area, like the Deschutes or Metolius rivers, or explore the area around Tumalo Falls. These are some of the very best areas to view fall foliage. You can also hike the short, scenic Sparks Lake Loop Trail around one of the state’s most photographed lakes and best spots to watch the sunset. If this is your first time in Bend, you have to hike up Pilot Butte, right in downtown. There’s an amazing view of downtown Bend as well as the surrounding mountains from the top of this extinct volcano. One of the perks of visiting in fall is that the trails will be less crowded than they are in summertime!
If you don’t feel like taking a walk, but still want to enjoy the colored leaves, pack a picnic and just head to a local park. Check out Pioneer Park, Drake Park, or Shevlin Park for a great spot to enjoy the scenery with your family. And of course, Bend is always a great spot for a bike ride! There are over 500 miles of maintained single-track trails in Bend, all offering exhilarating downhill rides. And if the weather has turned the trails muddy, just switch out your mountain bike for a fat bike and keep on riding. Head over to the Old Mill District and rent some bikes from Wheel Fun, then take a leisurely ride along the river trail. What a great way to enjoy the last of warm weather, see the sights, and get a little exercise!
Start Planning Your Fall Journey to Bend
No matter what sort of fall activities you choose to do in Bend, you’ll need a great place to stay. Do yourself a favor and get a great vacation rental from Arrived Now. You’ll get all the comfort of a hotel, with the useful amenities of a house. Make your own coffee in the morning, kick back in the living room at night in front of a roaring fire; whether you prefer a quaint cottage or a spacious home, we’ve got you covered! Check out our great selection and start planning your fall journey to Bend today!