What's the best time to visit Bend, Oregon?
Summer is the best season to visit Bend, Oregon, for its warm, dry weather perfect for outdoor adventures and exploring the town’s lively culture, including festivals like Art in the High Desert. With ideal conditions for hiking, biking, and rafting, and average highs in the low 80s, early booking is advised to enjoy everything Bend offers, despite the crowds during peak holiday weekends.
Bend, Oregon, is a far cry from the big city atmosphere of Portland. Instead, this small city welcomes visitors with its intimate charm. More interesting than the city itself (although it has plenty of good restaurants and museums) is the landscape that surrounds it.
Bend is located close to the Cascade Mountains, making it a great base for skiing in the winter and hiking in the summer. You can also visit some of the surrounding volcanoes, such as Pilot Butte, or explore Oregon’s desert country.
While this quaint city is the perfect destination for all lovers of outdoor adventures, what you experience just depends on the season you visit. Keep reading to learn more about the best time to visit Bend to make the most out of your trip.
Overall Best Time to Visit Bend, Oregon
The best time to visit Bend, Oregon, is in the summer, when you have the most opportunities to explore the beautiful surrounding nature. The best time to visit Bend depends a lot on what you were hoping to do once you got there.
Obviously, a skier is going to want to visit during a different season than someone hoping to hike. Unless you were hoping to go skiing or snowboarding, the best time to visit is in the summer, when you have the biggest choice of outdoor activities to do.
Weather in the summer is mild and pleasant, perfect for outdoor adventures. It rarely gets too hot. Average high temperatures in July and August are in the low 80s, according to U.S. Climate Data. In other summer months, like May, June, and September, they are even milder, hovering in the high 70s.
This is the perfect weather for spending time outdoors — you won’t freeze but won’t get heatstroke either. The precipitation levels in Bend are also at their best in the summer.
July and August are the driest months of the year, so you have pretty good chances of experiencing only sunny days during your vacation. Conditions for outdoor activities are also at their best during this time.
Bend is surrounded by mountains, which means that winter lasts a lot longer in places with higher altitudes. Visiting during the summer means that you avoid being surprised by snow cover on popular trails. During the summer, all trails and roads in parks such as Pilot Butte are open.
The good trail conditions mean that this is the best season for activities such as:
- Mountain biking
- Rock climbing
The weather is also nice enough to explore the town. Bend really comes alive in the summer, with people flocking to terraces of local brewhouses and restaurants.
Like in most places, summer is festival season in Bend, so check out events such as Art in the High Desert, held in August. Summer is definitely the city’s high season, so book organized tours and hotel stays well in advance.
Holiday weekends like Memorial Day and 4th of July are particularly crowded. Still, it’s worth visiting even when it’s crowded thanks to the beautiful nature.
Cheapest Time to Visit Bend, Oregon
The cheapest time to visit Bend is in the spring, when the city’s visitors tend to clear out and you can take advantage of hotel room discounts.
Spring is kind of the shoulder season in Bend. The skiing season is drawing to a close, but summer’s fine weather isn’t here yet. Spring in this part of Oregon is unpredictable. One day can be sunny and fine, while the next day may bring pouring rain or even snow.
The landscape is stunning during this time, with wildflowers and mushrooms carpeting the forests. It takes a bit more hardiness to explore the great outdoors in the spring than in the summer due to the wilder weather, but the comfort of knowing you saved plenty of money can help make it easier.
In March, April, and early May, you can score hotel rooms at discounts of 20% to 30%. The lower occupancy rates mean many hotels lower prices as well.
Spring in general is a low season for visiting Oregon due to the rain, so you can save on other travel-related expenses. Throughout the state, flights and car rentals tend to be less expensive during this time. Just avoid Easter, which brings higher prices.
Least Busy Time to Visit Bend, Oregon
The least busy time to visit Bend, Oregon is in the fall, when there are far fewer crowds around than in the summer. After Labor Day, the crowds thin out drastically. Families leave because kids have to go back to school.
The temperature goes down to the low 70s or high 60s during the day, although nighttime temperatures are close to freezing even by mid-September. During the fall, the scenery around Bend is gorgeous.
The leaves begin to turn, creating a shock of color. Trail conditions are still good in September and early October, so you can go hiking and exploring without plenty of tourists around. The cooler waters make this the best time of year to visit for fishing and angling.
September is salmon season in this part of Oregon, and Bend organizes festivals like regular salmon bakes and the Mill-Luck Salmon Celebration, which showcases the culture of indigenous people native to the area.
By late fall, temperatures are chilly, and you can even catch the first snows by October and November.
This is a great time to visit local farms for quintessential fall activities like pumpkin picking, and some really get in the Halloween spirit. The people around you will be mostly locals, since for now, fall is Bend’s best-kept secret.
Worst Time to Visit Bend, Oregon
Unless you are looking to ski or snowboard, the worst time to visit Bend is during the winter, from December to early March. Wintertime in Bend is very cold and snowy.
Temperatures in January are just above freezing and can be in the low 20s at night. Higher up in the mountains, the trails are packed with snow. Many trails and drives close for the season, so you may not be able to see the attractions you wanted to see while you were in town.
Some businesses in the city itself close for winter as well. However, winter is the time to come if you were hoping to get in some skiing and snowboarding.
From December to March, the many ski resorts around Bend are in full swing, and you can take advantage of the beautiful powder no matter your skill level. Locals know how to get through long winters — with music, friends, and some Oregon IPAs.
Winter brings plenty of events, from holiday lighting ceremonies to February’s famous Winterfest. During Winterfest, Oregon residents and tourists alike flock to Bend to enjoy ice carving, live music, and drinks around the fire pit.
Frequently Asked Questions
Here are some other questions that can help you figure out when to visit Bend, Oregon:
What is the hottest month in Bend, Oregon?
The hottest month in Bend, Oregon, is July, which has temperatures that routinely reach the low 80s.
Is it worth visiting Bend, Oregon?
Bend, Oregon, is worth visiting if you love nature and the outdoors. The city is quaint and fun, but the true attractions are the landscapes around it.
Why is Bend, Oregon, so popular?
Bend is so popular because of the beautiful nature that surrounds it. Plus, it has quintessential Oregon attractions like independent artists, microbreweries, and a great gastronomic scene.
What months does it snow in Bend, Oregon?
There is snow in Bend from November to April, and sometimes snowfall in October and May, or even early June.
Why is Bend, Oregon, so cold?
Bend is located high in the mountains, which means that its winters are much colder than the milder winters along the Oregon coast.
So, What’s the Best Time to Visit Bend, Oregon?
The best time to visit Bend, Oregon, really depends on what you want to do. Summer is the best season for hiking and other similar activities, but for skiing you obviously need to come during the winter.
To save money on your trip to Bend, come between either of the two high seasons. Spring has discounted prices, and fall offers discounts along with far more manageable crowds and seasonal festivities. So what are you waiting for — book your trip to Bend today!