Depending on what neighborhood you're in, traveling through Bend on foot or by bike is doable – downtown Bend, Drake Park and Mirror Pond are all within a 5-mile radius, and very easy to navigate between.
Here are the transport methods Bendites use to get around, aside from personal vehicles.
Hop on a public bus to explore in all directions
For a smallish town, Bend has a great network of public transportation – Cascade East Transit provides eight fixed lines running multiple times daily. Routes travel as far south as Elk Meadow Elementary on Brookswood, as far north as Cascade Village Shopping Center, as far west as Central Oregon Community College and OSU Cascades and as far east as St. Charles Medical Center and the Forum Shopping Center.
Use the trip-planner tool on the CET website to map out your urban expedition. CET also offers services in La Pine, Madras, Prineville, Redmond, Sisters and Warm Springs and between these cities. For the moment, bus fares are free.
See the sights on two, four or eight wheels
It’s not uncommon to witness high-desert residents cruising through town on a bicycle, skateboard or even roller skates. Biking is a particularly effective way to neighborhood-hop in Bend, and electric bikes have also become increasingly popular.
If you arrive in Bend sans bike, reach out to a mobile bike-delivery service or pick one up for cheap at the Gear Fix, which also does repairs if need be. There are dozens of places to rent wheels as well – check out bike shops like Sunny Side Sports.
Why I love biking around Bend
In many cities you'd have to drive reach the trails, but the great thing about Bend is you can leave your accommodation and do an urban bike tour, or you can cycle right to paved or dirt trailheads – or you can do all of the above.
Bend offers a special blend of urban and wilderness not often found in densely populated areas. It’s great to pick up coffee in the morning, stop for a supermarket-raid lunch in the afternoon and then for dinner, bike through a low-key drive-thru on the way home. Cycling around Bend is a great way to see the sites for free – and go easy on the environment.
Float through town on the Deschutes River
One of the most popular summertime activities in Bend is floating through town on the Deschutes River. Tumalo Creek operates a park-and-ride auxiliary location that allows patrons to park their vehicles, rent an inner tube, shuttle to the put-in spot, enjoy the river float and get picked up at the take-out point and transported back to their vehicle.
Because the neighborhood streets adjacent to the river float can get clogged with cars, the Ride the River shuttle – operated by CET to get people from point A to point B– is a stellar option. Check the website for seasonal operation days and times.
Another option for shuttling a Deschutes River float is by bike. Ride to the put-in, lock up your bike, inflate the inner tube stowed in your backpack and take your float, then deflate at the take-out and walk the 25 to 30 minutes back to your bike.
Book a seat on the Breeze for a worry-free trip to Portland
The Central Oregon Breeze’s tagline is "Relax, enjoy the ride and let us do the driving," and its service is a great way to get over the pass to Portland without the worry of driving yourself. The bus makes stops at several cities en route to the state's cultural capital, as well as several locations within Portland itself, including the train and bus station.
A local family-owned operation for more than 30 years, the Breeze has a stellar reputation for getting passengers to their destinations on time. Stops include Redmond, Madras, Portland Amtrak stations, Portland Airport, Gresham, Sandy, Welches, Government Camp and Warm Springs.
During ski season, hop on the shuttle to Mt Bachelor
In operation seasonally, the Mt Bachelor Shuttle takes the worry out of getting to the mountain. Partnering with CET to connect Mt Bachelor with transit service throughout Central Oregon during the winter months, the shuttle offers a safe and chill ride up to the ski hill. The service is also periodically offered for free during Mt Bachelor events, such as the annual RendezVan, and for Mt Bachelor staff.
Take the Enviro Shuttle to and from the airport
Enviro Shuttle provides comfortable, private transportation service between Redmond Airport and central Bend. For an excellent arrival and in-town transportation plan, pair the shuttle with a flight to Central Oregon and bring a travel-friendly bicycle.
Splurge on a cab or a private car
Uber and Lyft both operate in Bend, but taxi services like Bend Cab Company and Coiled Cabs are local favorites. If you're looking for a ride from the airport, check out Destination Transportation and Shuttle Oregon; Visit Bend also has a comprehensive list of gasoline-based transportation options.
Accessible travel options
Cascade East Transit bus service provides some accommodations for passengers with disabilities. However, Bend Dial-A-Ride might be a better choice – it offers a wide range of options and ferries folks from door to door, eliminating the added effort of getting to a bus stop. For information on outdoor accessibility in the region, Oregon Adaptive Sports is an excellent resource.