If you love horses and the great outdoors, then Bend, Oregon is the perfect place for you to go horseback riding! There are plenty of trails to explore and the scenery is simply breathtaking. No, really!
Why Bend for Horseback Riding?
Bend is considered a destination for vacationers interested in horseback riding because of its vast trail system and incredible scenery. The trails are well-maintained and cater to riders of all levels of experience, from beginner to experienced. Additionally, Bend is home to a number of horseback riding outfitters and guides who can help you plan the perfect trip, whether you’re looking for a leisurely ride through the woods, or an adrenaline-pumping adventure.
In addition, Bend – and Central Oregon, for that matter – is heavily steeped in the culture in and around horse riding in virtue of its heritage of ranching and wrangling. With that said, you can be sure to find your fellow cowboys and cowgirls in Central Oregon now and into the foreseeable future.
Finally, the weather in Bend is ideal for horseback riding almost year-round. In the summer, the days are warm and dry, while, in the winter, the snow-covered trails make for a beautiful (and sometimes challenging!) ride. Horseback riding in Bend, Oregon could be the escape or new tradition your family has been needing!
What to Expect on a Horseback Riding Trip When Visiting Bend
When you go horseback riding in Bend, you can expect to be amazed by the scenery around you. The Cascade Range provides a stunning backdrop for rides through the Deschutes National Forest, and you’ll likely see plenty of wildlife along the way. Most horseback riding trips last around two hours, but longer rides are also available.
Best Trails for Horseback Riding in Bend, Oregon
There are plenty of great trails for horseback riding in Bend, but here are a few of our favorites:
The Cascade Lakes Scenic Byway is a beautiful, scenic route that winds through the Cascade Range. It’s perfect for a leisurely ride and offers stunning views of Mount Bachelor, Broken Top, and the Three Sisters.
Here is a map to Cascade Lakes Scenic Byway
For a longer ride, try the Deschutes River Trail. This trail follows the Deschutes River for 22 miles and offers a variety of scenery, from forests to meadows.
Here is the a map to Deschutes River Trail
If you’re looking for a challenge, try the Tumalo Falls Trail. This trail is steep and rocky in parts, but the views of Tumalo Falls are worth it.
Here is a map for the Tumalo Trail System
Finally, the Smith Rock Trail is perfect for riders who want to explore Central Oregon’s famous rock climbing area. This trail is further away from Bend than the other trails – found in Terrebonne, Oregon, but it’s not too far, considering it’s a world-renowned state park. This trail takes you through the Crooked River National Grassland and offers incredible views of the Cascades.
Here is the map to Smith Rock State Park.
Trails Owned and Run By Ranches near Bend
Let’s not forget the many ranches near Bend that offer trail rides. These rides are usually shorter and provide an opportunity to learn more about ranch life in Central Oregon.
In addition, if you’re traveling with your own horses, this may be the best scenario, as many ranches also provide layover boarding and areas for your horses to move around a bit.
Annual Horse Shows near Bend, Oregon
If you’re interested in horseback riding and competition, Bend is also home to a number of annual horse shows. Here are a few of the most notable:
The High Desert Classics is held at the end of July, every year. Over 600 horses and 3000 kids gather at J Bar J Boys Ranch to compete for $150,000 in prizes on six of the last remaining grass footing rings in the United States. Thousands – families, riders, employees, vendors, and spectators – attend the event to enjoy horse and rider athleticism while eating a variety of cuisine and shopping at vendor booths located throughout the show village green. Beer and spirits are also supplied by local vendors
The Deschutes County Fair Rodeo is one of the oldest and largest rodeos in Oregon. It’s held every August and features a variety of cowboy-themed events, like bull riding, mutton busting (for the kids), and more. In addition to the rodeo events, local vendors come from all around Oregon (and sometimes further) to offer attendees food, drink, and shopping opportunities.
The Sisters Rodeo is held every second weekend in June and is one of the most popular rodeos in Oregon. It features all the classic rodeo events, like bull riding and barrel racing, as well as a number of other activities, like a pancake breakfast, a parade, and live music. We also have Sisters vacation rentals available for those interested in this rodeo.
Prineville, the cowboy capital of Oregon, hosts the Crooked River Roundup at the end of June. Thousands of people from all over the US come to little ol’ Prineville to watch or participate in rodeo events, like bull riding, barrel racing, horse racing, and much more!
Stay with Meredith While Horseback Riding in Bend, Oregon
Whether you’re interested in horseback riding for leisure or competition, Bend is the perfect place for a horseback riding vacation. From scenic trails to annual rodeos, you’re sure to find what you’re looking for in Bend. So, pack your saddle and head on out to Central Oregon for a horseback riding adventure you’ll never forget. And, when you’re based at a Meredith Lodging vacation home, you’ll have the perfect home base for all your Bend adventures – to which you can come back every year.
Meredith Lodging offers a variety of vacation homes in Bend, Oregon, ranging from cozy cabins to large homes that can accommodate groups. And, no matter which home you choose, you’ll enjoy amenities like a fully-equipped kitchen, laundry facilities, and more, including all the other great things to do in Bend