Bend and Vicinity

The largest city in central Oregon, Bend is tucked between the Cascade Mountains and the Deschutes River. It marks the western edge of an ecological transition zone where Ponderosa pine forest meets the arid landscape of the high desert. Characterized by prairies and woodlands dominated by sagebrush, bunch grass and Western juniper, this desert region spreads across the central and southeastern part of the state. Wildlife is also extremely varied and may include some species not found in other parts of Oregon, including the Greater sage-grouse and desert tortoise. The high desert receives little rainfall when compared to the rest of the state, averaging only 15 inches (38 cm) per year. Despite the lack of precipitation, the Deschutes, Crooked, Malheur and John Day rivers flow year round. Temperatures here can fluctuate widely, dropping well below zero in the winter then soaring to over 100 degrees F (37 degrees C) during the height of summer. Despite the challenging environment, the Bend region was an early home to Native Americans and Euro-American pioneers, both of whom benefitted from the areas abundant plant and animal life, reliable water sources and arable land.

  • High Desert Museum

    Category: Landmark Place

    Through historical exhibits, live animal enclosures and living history programs, the High Desert Museum takes a engaging approach to interpreting central Oregon.

  • Let's Skateboard!

    Category: General Article

    Join Gordon Boehm and his students at the Bearings Skateboarding Academy in Bend, Oregon, for this look at getting started with skateboarding.

  • Endangered Oregon: Hope for an Ancient Fish

    Category: General Article

    Often considered a "trash fish" in the Pacific Northwest, Native American tribes and their partners are working to change the ill-deserved reputation of the Pacific lamprey.