Discovering Bend, Oregon: A 48 Hour Adventure

Nestled in the heart of Oregon's High Desert, Bend offers a perfect blend of outdoor adventure, local charm, and a touch of nostalgia. From exploring scenic hiking trails to indulging in unique dining experiences and discovering a relic from the past, here's how to make the most of 48 hours in Bend, Oregon.


Discovering Bend, Oregon: A 48 Hour Adventure


Day 1: Arrival and Exploration

Getting to Bend

Road Trip to Bend!

Located about 300 miles southeast of the Seattle/Tacoma area, Bend is accessible by a scenic drive. Follow I-5 south to I-205 towards Portland, and then continue on US-26 eastbound through the picturesque landscapes of Central Oregon. Prepare for the drive to take a bit longer than your google maps advises. You'll undoubtedly run into traffic at a few sticky areas along the way. 

Expect a road trip drive to take you 6-8 hours from Seattle or Tacoma.

Fly to Bend

You can take a direct flight to Roberts Field-Redmond Municipal Airport (RDM). It's just 17 miles north of Bend. You will need a car if you are flying in, so take car rental into consideration. 

Practical Tips for Your Trip to Bend, Oregon

Where to Stay in Bend, Oregon

Bend offers a range of lodging options from cozy home rentals to modern hotels. Book early, especially during peak seasons like summer and winter.


While Bend is best explored by car, there are taxis and rideshare services available. Bend is also a very bike-friendly town, so consider renting a bike for exploring the downtown area and nearby trails.


Check the weather forecast before your trip. Summers are warm and dry, ideal for outdoor activities, while winters bring snow, perfect for skiing and snowboarding at nearby resorts.

Local Events

Keep an eye out for local events and festivals that may coincide with your visit. You'll find everything from beer festivals, to hot air balloons and everything in between! 

All the best things to do in Bend, OR


After you arrive, get settled into your hotel or VRBO and head to the Midtown Yacht Club. You won't find any yachts and no need for those stuffy dinner jackets! What you will find is an assortment of food trucks, and if you are looking for a good beer, cider or ale, you can find one here too! There's plenty of outdoor seating (with shade!) and friendly dogs are welcome!

Open Sunday and Monday 11-9 and Tuesday-Saturday 11-10. 

After dinner take a stroll over to the last Blockbuster store on Earth! It's about a five minute walk from dinner. This is such a nostalgic throwback where you can still rent movies and relive the days of browsing physical VCR and DVDs. There is movie memorabilia and plenty to make you nostalgic here!


Pilot Butte Sunset Stop

Take a short drive to Pilot Butte for sunset. You can drive to the top, but on a beautiful evening like we had on our arrival, there was no parking for all the visitors. We were glad we used the parking lot and did the short 1.8 mile out and back summit to the top. 

When we got to the top, we were overwhelmed with people! We ended up hiking back down just a bit to find several different benches that were strategically placed on the trail. It was far less crowded sneaking this way and you felt like you could watch the incredible sunset without all the crowds!


Day 2 Morning Hike and Afternoon Relaxation

Hike Smith Rock State Park

With over 650 acres to explore and 12 official trails to hike, this is one of the most beautiful state parks I've ever visited. Because this is a state park and not a national park, dogs are allowed. You are required to purchase a day use permit for $5. There are three machines located throughout the park where you can do this. Simply leave the printed card on your dashboard.

As soon as we walked over to the top of the park, I was greeted with the most incredible view. It looked like something Disney would dream up! The grass was green and the rock formations looked perfect, not to mention the horizon dotted with literal snow capped volcanos in the distance. 

It really reminded us of Zion National Park in both landscape and trails. The zig zag path up the Misery Ridge trail was similar to the Walter's Wiggles trail on the way to Angel's Landing. 

The day we hiked, the weather was going to hit temperatures in the 90's. The trail is notable for the lack of shade, so we started early. We didn't have a problem finding parking on a Saturday morning in the summer at 8:30 am. We decided to hike the hardest part of the trail first so that we could get that done before it got too hot. We did the Misery Ridge to River loop trail, knowing that if we needed to, we could stop and dip our feet in as we came back around the River Trail.

Doing the Misery Ridge Trail Loop is about 4 miles round trip (from the parking lot) and has about 1000 feet of elevation gain, right at the beginning of the trail mostly! From the welcome center, go to the Overlook, take the paved trail and then bear right over the bridge. You'll see Misery Ridge Trail marked and you'll immediately start heading up!

It's about a mile of hiking straight up, but there are plenty of resting points. Once you get to the top, see if you can find Monkey Face and spend some time enjoying the view. See if you can spot any climbers or even slackliners!

If you want to head back the way you came, feel free. Or add the River Trail in. We were protected by some shade on this side, but only because the sun wasn't high in the sky just yet! There are several areas where you can venture down for river access and dip your feet in for a refreshing break. 



We treated ourselves to brunch after our hike at Sparrow Bakery in Northwest Crossing. We realized we couldn't get too close to the location because there was a very large farmer's market that closed down many of the streets leading up to the bakery. We parked by a park in Northwest Crossing and walked through the Farmer's Market. 

The Northwest Farmer's Market runs every Saturday from June-October from 10-2. There are local farmers, bakers, crafter and retailers selling everything from craft beer to homemade sourdough and everything in between! It made our brunch stop that much more enjoyable!


We happened upon Pioneer Park, one of Bend's oldest parks. We found parking in the shade and grabbed our hammock and books and started walking. We ended up walking towards the First Street Rapids Park where we found the perfect spot to enjoy the afternoon. It started getting crowded later in the afternoon, and on this hot summer day, people were enjoying the cool dip in the water!

If you want to plan ahead, bring portable chairs you can dip in the water. Otherwise, find a rock and bask like a lizard!


As the day draws to a close, head back to Bend to unwind and savor a well-deserved meal at Bevel Brewing. Located in Bend's bustling Old Mill District, Bevel Brewing offers a laid-back atmosphere paired with a diverse menu of craft beers. You'll even find the Food Carts at 9th Street Village for a yummy dinner that will please any palate!

bend, oregon itinerary

Day 3 One Last Morning Hike 

Tumalo Falls

After getting up and enjoying a leisurely morning before checking out of your accommodations, head to Tumalo Falls. This stunning trail is perfect for all skill levels. We didn't want to do the full Tumalo Falls Loop Trail (it's 7 miles) but wanted to see a few of the waterfalls on its path. 

You will need a Northwest Forest Pass ($5 fee). There is a cramped parking lot with bathrooms and street parking available. This trail gets very busy on weekends, especially in the summer months, so prepare for that!

The first waterfall you encounter is a stunning 97-foot waterfall that's easily accessible from a very short trail. It's a short half-mile hike through a fragrant pine forest to an overlook where you can admire the impressive cascade of the Tumalo Falls. 

If you want to keep hiking, you can go up the North Fork Bridge Trail. Another half mile or so and you'll happen upon Double Falls. It's another beautiful waterfall you can stop and admire. This is where we stopped and turned around. The hike was about 2 miles round trip. 

If you want to continue on, there is another waterfall you can hike to and enjoy or you can continue on the loop for a different perspective. 



Enjoy a final brunch or pack a picnic lunch before you start your journey home!

Bend, Oregon, ended up being exactly what we needed for a quick weekend road trip. It will captivate you with its breathtaking landscapes and abundant outdoor activities. I know we didn't even scratch the surface on things to do! It is the perfect destination for a quick getaway or an extended adventure. You are going to want to plan your next escape to bend and discover why this charming city continues to enchant visitors from near and far!

Want to explore more of Oregon? Check out these posts!

48 Hours in Portland {without a car!}
Family Fun in Wilsonville, Oregon

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