Most people who visit Sunriver, Oregon, are aware of how popular our little town is to visit in the summer. The streets are packed with tourists from around the country and even the world. However, as the leaves fall and the snow slowly floats in, the tourists seem to make their way out. It’s a curious phenomenon because winter is actually a prime time to visit Sunriver. In this post, we’ll make the case for a winter vacation in Sunriver, as well as list a few of the many things to do once you and your family arrive.
Why Visit Sunriver in the Winter?
Sunriver gets above-average snowfall. The average U.S. city gets about 29 inches of snowfall per year. Sunriver gets 49 inches. For your best chances of hitting snow, book a trip anytime between December and February, when snowfall is the highest (according to U.S. Climate Data).
Sunriver is a short 20 minutes to Mt Bachelor. Many people aren’t aware that if you drive to Mt. Bachelor from Sunriver, you get to take advantage of a quicker, more direct route to the mountain than you would from Bend. (Sidenote: If you’re not familiar with the area, Bend is a tourist destination about 20 minutes from Sunriver, with a more urban environment.)
Sunriver offers a quaint and quiet getaway. After experiencing all the strain and stress of COVID-19 and the resulting societal tension, many people are looking for a quieter getaway this winter. Sunriver can offer a scenic and relaxed family experience.
So, what exactly is there to do in the winter in Sunriver?
We’re glad you asked! The possibilities are truly endless, but here are a few ideas to get your metal wheels spinning.
Plan a family ski day
As mentioned, staying in Sunriver gives you a shorter, more direct route to Central Oregon’s famous Mt. Bachelor ski area. Once there, you can rent gear, book ski lessons, or strike out on your own and see where the hill takes you. If you’re bringing small children, be sure and check out our “Tips for Successful Skiing With Young Kids.”
Not interested in skiing? Mt. Bachelor also has an impressive sledding hill that the whole family will enjoy!
Lastly, strike out on the trails with a team of sled dogs. This lesser-known mountain adventure is sure to be a unique experience that your family will be talking about for years to come. (Note: They are not yet taking reservations for the 2020/21 ski season. You can call 541-382-1709 for more information.)
Visit the Village at Sunriver
Similar to Mount Bachelor, the Village at Sunriver offers endless opportunities for wintertime family fun. For starters, the ice skating rink has always been a favorite among tourists and locals alike. If you don’t currently own skates, you can rent them directly at the location.
If you have little ones, we highly recommend riding the Alpine Express Train around the Village for a fun, interactive tour (weather permitting).
Many visitors prefer a more relaxing experience, and the Village has you covered in that regard too. The shopping and dining could easily keep you busy for days — just show up and take a stroll! Along the way, there will be many places to stop and warm up with a cup of coffee or hot cocoa.
This one is for families that prefer to take advantage of the quiet solitude of the mountains. Pack a picnic lunch and other provisions, and set out on one of the many trails surrounding Sunriver. It takes a bit of work, but once you get to the top, you won’t be disappointed! Say hello to snow-capped peaks, frozen lakes and streams, and cold, crisp fresh air.
If you’ve got kiddos or first-timers, start them out with an easy trail, such as a one-mile loop in the Wanoga Snow Play Area Sno-Park. This dog-friendly trail will serve as a great introduction to snowshoeing without wearing out the little ones too much.
Make the Most of It
Even though we’ve covered only a few of the many things there are to do in Sunriver’s vast outdoor playground, you’re probably starting to realize that no matter what you decide to do, you can’t go wrong. Sunriver truly is one of Oregon’s most beautiful winter wonderlands!