Editor’s Note: This article was originally published August 2019.
Tackle these ambitious itineraries before summer is gone.
Summer is a time for adventure and exploration. Whether you’re staying local or ready to hit the road, there’s much to be done before the sun is gone. This year, plan ahead to “go big” with your plans by knocking off as many of our Summer Bucket List items as you can before your lungs, legs and nerve give out.
Jump in a Helicopter
A growing legion of tour companies offer to whisk you around Central Oregon’s popular sites. You can see downtown Bend by Segway scooter; you can see the Old Mill and environs on an electric shuttle or pedal pub; you can explore the desert in an off-road rally vehicle. But only one company is ready to show you it all from a bird’s eye view. Big Mountain Heli Tours offers several ways to see the region by helicopter, ranging from ten-minute hops over the Old Mill and downtown to the hour-plus Ring of Fire excursion that whisks passengers over the Cascade peaks, including Broken Top and South Sister. Mid-summer is a great time to take flight as the warmer temperatures allow the pilots to jettison the doors opening the views to the dramatic landscape below that includes glacier-capped peaks, river canyons and unique perspectives on popular destinations like Smith Rock State Park. Scenic tours are just the tip of the proverbial iceberg at Big Mountain, where customers can book wine tasting trips, golf outings at popular resorts and even trade vows on a remote mountaintop with an elopement flight.
Throw a Frisbee from a Mountain
If you’re not a twentysomething mountain biker, you might think there isn’t much incentive to visit Mt. Bachelor come July. That’s a bit of a shame, because the short ride up from West Village Lodge on the Pine Marten lift affords some of the best views of Broken Top and South Sister that you’ll find anywhere around. Here’s a great excuse to catch a ride to mid-mountain: you can play what might be Oregon’s most unique disc golf course, an 18-hole layout that zigzags down the mountain under Pine Marten lift, finishing at West Village Lodge. On weekends, you can enjoy a “19th hole” beer at the Clearing Rock bar, a popular watering hole that serves the mountain’s signature Mazama Bloody Mary and some of the area’s most popular craft beers that are best enjoyed with a heaping plate of pork nachos.
Jump off a Bridge
Yes, your mom told you not to, but she also told you not to talk to strangers. So if you have the nerve, take a swan dive off Oregon’s highest fixed point with Central Oregon Bungee Adventures. Operated by veteran basejumper James Scott, Central Oregon Bungee invites brave souls to pitch themselves off the old Crooked River Bridge into a vast chasm with the Crooked River rushing below. What the heck, it’s cheaper than jumping out of a plane and likely safer.