Bend is a stunning city in the middle of Oregon and arguably one of the most stunning and tranquil small cities in the Pacific Northwest. It lies in a stunning setting being nestled on the eastern edge of the Cascade Range and adjacent to some of Oregon's most specular volcanic landscapes. While in Bend, one can lose oneself exploring the many outdoor attractions in the surrounding area. Take time to explore the rugged Pacific Northwest beauty that is the Cascades. After that there are lava tour cave tours in Bend that one can take (that feel like one is descending and exploring some mythical underworld).

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Bend Is A Destination In Itself

Bend is located in a transitional zone as the Ponderosa pine forests of the Cascades give way to the high desert (that's characterized by junipers, sagebrush, and arid land). It has been described as a high desert oasis and one that has something on offer year-round.

  • Three Sisters Mountains: Faith, Hope, and Charity Of The Cascades Loom Over The Town
  • Deschutes River: Glides Its Way Through The Town Center
  • History: Bend Was An Old Mill Town

Today Bend is a gateway for the many outdoor sports the region has - like rock climbing, hiking, mountain biking, skiing, paragliding, white-water rafting, and exploring the geothermal attractions of the region.

Bend began life as a mill town but is not something of a craft beer mecca and boasts a relaxing chic downtown orientated to the lazy river running through it.

The historic center of the town is called the Old Mill District and offers everything from retail therapy, dining options, or walking paths along the river. Enjoy wine tasting and chic restaurants on the banks of the Deschutes River.

  • High Desert Museum: Complete With Family Ranch Re-Enactors, Porcupines, River Otters, and An Authentic Sawmill

Related: Why The Western States Are The Best In The World For A Road Trip

Crater Lake National Park

An easy day excursion from Bend is Crater Lake National Park. Set in the heart of Oregon, Crater Lake is bluer than one will find anywhere in the world. The lake was formed around 7,700 years ago as the volcano collapsed into a caldera. Today there is no outlet for this lake, and the water only partly naturally fills the caldera. The purity of the water leads to the lake being the bluest in the world with many people thinking pics of it must have filters.

  • Depth Of Caldera: 2,148 Feet or 655 Meters
  • Depth Of The Lake: 1,949 Feet or 594 Meters
  • Record: Deepest Lake In The United States (Ninth Deepest In The World)

With no outlet, no fish were able to populate the lake until it was stocked in 1888. Today Rainbow Trout and Kokanee Salmon thrive in the lake.

  • Winter Closing Date: For Rim Drive And The North Entrance - The First Big Snowstorm or 1st November (Whichever Comes First)

Related: Crater Lake National Park Is Known For Being The Bluest In The World (But That's Not All)

Newberry National Volcanic Monument

Only a short distance from Bend is the Newberry National Volcanic Monument. The monuments protect the stunning landscapes around the Newberry Volcano and is within the boundaries of the Deschutes National Forest.

The volcanic monument offers several mesmerizing volcanic features including crater lakes, lava flows, tree molds, and other geologic features. The volcano was even used for training for the Apollo astronauts in the 1960s. The four main attractions in the monument are Lava Butte, Lava River Cave, Lava Cast Forest, and Newberry Caldera.

  • Apollo: The Volcanic Landscape Of Newberry Was Used To Train The Apollo Crew

The twin crater lakes in the Newberry Crater are Paulina Lake and East Lake and are located at over 6,000 feet above sea level.

  • Newberry Crater: Formed Over 500,000 Years of Volcanic Activity

The Lava Cast Forest is an interesting visit. Here one can see a 6,000-year-old lava flow. As the ancient lava flow covered the land, it runs up against the ancient trees. These trees shaped the lava so that it cooled and hardened around the tree before the tree was incinerated (sometimes even the imprint of the tree bark can be seen).

  • Access: Access to the Lava Cast Forest Is By A 9-Mile Gravel road

There is an interpretive boardwalk that runs through the ancient lava field and past the tree molds. The molds can be vertical or horizontal. Some horizontal ones (from fallen trees) can be up to 50 to 60 feet long.