Bend was the main place on our summer trip that I thought we might want to move to. It is a small town with mountains near by and a great craft beer scene. As soon as we arrived I could see why people love it. The outdoor adventures are endless and accessible within an hour drive from Bend. We biked in the desert, hiked at Smith Rock (also a climbing mecca for all you rockclimbers out there), and floated the Deschutes River right in Bend.
Of course we had to check out the brewery scene. Our favorites were 10 Barrel, Deschutes, and Sun River Brewery! 10 Barrel had a fun “beer it forward” thing going on where you can buy a beer and designate what kind of person you want it to be for. For example, we bought a beer for a fellow vanlifer so if you live in a van and see it, you can use it to claim a free beer!
Our favorite spot in Bend to park and cook is Drake Park! It’s right by the river and the sunset was absolutely beautiful while we used their picnic tables to cook up some grub.
Floating the river is a definite must do if you’re visiting Bend during warm weather. We used our inflatable paddleboard but we’re told the cheapest rentals are at Mountain Water Snow (MWS) near Old Mill. You can pay for a shuttle at the Park & Float parking lot to get you where you need to go. We dropped a bike at Drake Park and then put in the paddleboard at Riverbend Park. It was a beautiful Sunday afternoon so there was quite the rowdy crowd of hundreds and hundreds of people of all ages on rafts enjoying the current. It’s about a 2 hour float and around the halfway mark there are 12 rapids. You can get out and portage your float should you choose. Other floaters encouraged us to take our fins off our paddleboard and face the rapids. Parker had a boyish grin on his face the entire time. I look like I’m about to poop my pants I’m so scared. We definitely flip the paddleboard, Parker broke his sunglasses (don’t worry just a cheap pair), and I lost a chaco and it’s all perfectly captured via gopro for all the laughs. Click here to head over to over video section to watch the footage!
On our way out of Bend we stopped at some really awesome spots!
The first is the head of the Metolius River right outside of Sisters, OR. The springs appear to come right out of the ground of Black Butte. Geologists say they actually originate from the Cascades and fault lines brought the water to the surface.
Our next stop was Sahalie Falls. The falls are just a short walk from the parking lot and if the sun is hitting it just right you can see a beautiful rainbow in the falls.
Blue Pool was next. This is around a 4 mile hike through forest and over lava fields to the most beautiful pool of the bluest water. We climbed our way down to the bottom and stuck our feet in and I swear it is some of the coldest water I have ever felt! It’s average temperature is around 38F. If you take a dip it’s definitely not recommended to stay in the water long as you could get hypothermia from water this cold! It was so beautiful though and water flowed through the lava rocks creating a super cool waterfall into the blue pool.
After such frigid water, we decided it was time to find a hot springs. We picked Cougar Hot Springs which had recently reopened after a forest fire. There is a $7 fee to use the hot springs but because of this fee they are very clean and looked after. There are 6 springs and decrease in temperature as you go down to the lower pools.
That’s a wrap on our time in Bend and our day trips to the surrounding National Forests!! We’ll be writing about Crater Lake National Park next!