Skip to Content

5 Excellent Experiences in Bend, Oregon, This Fall

Bend, Oregon, offers many exceptional experiences, especially when autumn arrives. The weather may be cooling down, but this fun-loving city is just heating up.

What exactly makes this the perfect time to visit?

Today, we’re spotlighting five of Bend’s best fall events to put on your calendar.

Let’s hit it!

Looking down on Deschutes River in Bend Oregon lined with autumn colored trees. Fall is a wonderful time to experience Bend.
Fall is a wonderful time to Experience Bend

Experience the Beauty of Bend, Oregon

Nestled between the Oregon Badlands and Deschutes National Forest is the blissful city of Bend. The self-proclaimed Outdoor Playground is brimming with possibilities. 

However, this town offers more than adventures in nature. Museums and galleries cater to all types of art lovers. You’ll find high-end spas to pamper yourself, restaurants serving gourmet fare, and plenty of annual events to keep you busy. 

When you talk to the locals, you might notice how friendly they are. In fact, showing kindness to people and Mother Nature is part of the culture in this eclectic city. 

Bend is a semi-arid, high-desert city that experiences all four seasons. During the cold, snowy winters, folks here hit the slopes of the nearby Cascade Mountains to ski, snowboard, and sled. Ice skating, snowshoeing, and even mushing behind a pack of dogs are popular winter activities. 

The weather in summer is usually warm and dry. These comfortable temperatures make Bend the perfect location for outdoor activities. Fishing, rock climbing, hiking, and horseback riding are just the tip of the iceberg. No matter how you prefer to get out into nature, you can probably do it here. 

But fall is when the city really shines. Perfect weather and fun activities come together for a season like no other.

When you get to Bend, you’ll have plenty of unique experiences to choose from. Here are some ideas for enjoying your time in this beautiful area.

#1 Sisters Folk Festival

If you’re a music lover, you’ll want to hit the Sisters Folk Festival. For three days, acts take the stage at seven different venues around the town of Sisters. And you’ll only have to drive about 30 minutes from Bend to hear these melodic folk artists.

The 2023 festival begins September 29th and includes headliners such as Donna the Buffalo, Katie Pruitt, and John Craigie. Day passes and weekend tickets are available depending on how much music you want to hear. 

You’ll also get a free commemorative pint cup no matter how long you choose to attend. Use your new mug at any of the three bars slinging drinks for the event. 

Sisters doesn’t allow overnight RV parking on city property, but event officials organized an alternative. Dry camping is available about one mile from the festival grounds in the Sisters High School parking lot. You can also book a site at Deschutes National Forest for a more scenic atmosphere. 

Don’t forget to hit the trails while you’re there: Day Hiking Bend & Central Oregon.

#2 Bend Fall Festival

You’ll get your money’s worth if you head to Bend the weekend of the Sisters Folk Festival. But you might consider purchasing a day pass for the event and spending the rest of your time at the Bend Fall Festival.

At the Harvest Market, you’ll find a variety of seasonal produce and homemade treats to munch on. Enjoy tasty craft beers and ciders from local brewers, or channel your inner zen at the Conscious Living Showcase.

Of course, this festival is also where regional artists gather to display their works. On Art in Action Avenue, you can watch masterpieces come together before your eyes. And don’t miss seeing how one person uses a steamroller as a massive printmaking machine! No matter your favorite medium, it’s likely available at this one-of-a-kind Bend experience. 

It’s just an hour from Bend: Why Do People Visit Hole In The Ground Oregon?

#3 Smith Rock Ranch

About 30 minutes north of Bend is the tiny community of Terrebonne. And Smith Rock Ranch is the home base for fall activities. 

This working farm produces carrots, squash, onions, and other goods they sell throughout the state. Once the weather turns cool, you can pick your own pumpkins or even watch them launch the gourds from a cannon! 

You’ll want to bring the whole family to this event. Their colossal corn maze, aptly named “The Maize,” might keep you occupied for hours if you don’t have a keen sense of direction. 

Additionally, Smith Rock Ranch offers live music, face painting, horse-drawn carriage rides, a petting zoo, and a shooting gallery for kids over five. They even have a Bark Park dogs can stretch their legs off-leash. 

People clinking beer glasses. The Bend Ale Trail is an excellent way to experience the city.
Bend, Oregon, was one of the first cities to pick up the craft beer craze

#4 Bend Ale Trail

The Bend Ale Trail turns drinking local craft beers into a unique experience. Pick up a passport for five dollars at the visitor center or download the free app to your phone. You’ll collect stamps at each brewery you visit, redeemable for prizes when you complete the trail. 

But what if you’re not a drinker? No problem! Designated drivers can also claim rewards for each trip. This means you and your friends can stay safe without missing out on a good time.

The foam on top of this frosty beer is that November is Bend Ale Trail Month. You’ll earn extra rewards for enjoying your favorite beverages. 

Pro Tip: Visit the Bend Ale Trail website to create your account.

#5 Bend Film Festival

Check out the Bend Film Festival if you enjoy independent movies. Organizers receive over 1,000 submissions each year. Of these, they choose more than 100 to showcase at locations throughout town.

Filmmakers also receive prizes, including a $5,000 award for Best in Show. You just might discover your new favorite creator while you’re here.

Some venues, like the Tin Pan Theater, are small, so seating is limited. Be sure to order tickets in advance to reserve your spot. 

The 19th annual festival begins October 12th and runs for three days. After that, a virtual option is available on their website if you can’t make it in person. 

More reasons to skip Portland and head to Bend: 5 Reasons to Avoid Portland, Oregon.

Experience the Best of Bend

Autumn is a fantastic time to experience Bend in all its glory. The crisp fall weather makes outdoor events comfortable and enjoyable. Immerse yourself in the season by tasting local flavors, whether freshly harvested produce or craft beer. 

If you want to explore this great city, we suggest planning your trip around these unique events.

Discover the Best Free Camping Across the USA

To be honest with you, we hate paying for camping. There are so many free campsites in America (with complete privacy).

You should give it a try!

As a matter of fact, these free campsites are yours. Every time you pay federal taxes, you’re contributing to these lands.

Become a FREE CAMPING INSIDER and join the 100,000 campers who love to score the best site! 

We’ll send you the 50 Best Free Campsites in the USA (one per state). Access the list by submitting your email below: