Ahh… The Great Outdoors.

If outdoor adventures and exploration interest you, chances are we’ve got just what you’re looking for!

Youth Outdoor Programs:

Talk about adventure! BPRD offers a great way to learn archery, snow sports, water sports such as paddle boarding, kayaking and rafting, biking, hiking or about the natural world around us.

Check current offerings in:    Youth Outdoor
Check current offering in:      Youth Outdoor Camps
Learn more about fishing events: Youth Fishing Events

Adult Outdoor Programs:

Our adult outdoor activities include snowshoeing, cross-country (XC) skiing, hiking, biking, and multi-day trips around the state. All programs are a great way to make new friends, stay in shape, and explore and enjoy Central Oregon’s fantastic landscapes and history.

Check current offerings in:   Adult Outdoor and Wilderness Training Programs

Wilderness Training Programs:

In the Pacific Northwest, adventure is a way of life. We offer basic and advance certification classes in Wilderness First Aid (WFA), Wilderness First Responder (WFR, WFRR), River Safety and Rescue, Swiftwater Rescue, and recertification classes here in Bend, Oregon. These courses are great for adventurers looking for outdoor safety skills or  seasoned Wilderness First Responders alike.

Check current offerings in:   Wilderness Training Programs

General Information for Outdoor Programs

Registration: Please try to match your experience and ability level to the course description rating level before signing up for a program. District staff will contact you if your class is full, cancelled, or rescheduled. Activities that do not meet minimum registrations levels will be cancelled, and refunds provided. Please do not wait until the last minute to register, or activities may be full or cancelled.

Drop-Ins: Drop-ins are accepted when space is available on many outdoor programs. Please make sure the course description and your fitness level are compatible. Drop-in fees vary by program.

Program Info & Destinations:  Clothing and equipment recommendations, destination calendars, and other information are available at the front desk of the BPRD District Office (799 SW Columbia), and at the Bend Senior Center (1600 SE Reed Market Rd).  Please keep in mind that proposed destinations may change due to weather or other circumstances.

Meeting Location: Lobby of the District Office, 799 SW Columbia Street, (541) 389-7275, unless a different location is noted.  Please try to arrive at least 10 minutes before the program start time.  Programs typically conclude before the scheduled ending time.  However, we do occasionally arrive back a little later than planned, so make your appointments accordingly.

Message Phone: In the event of inclement weather, call the District Office number, (541) 389-7275, after 8:00 am (M-F) on the morning of your program to find out if your program has been cancelled. You may also leave a message for your trip leader on the morning of your program.

Leadership: BPRD outdoor leaders are trained in Wilderness First Aid and CPR skills, and have gone through BPRD van driver training.  Trip leaders carry a First Aid Kit and cell phone.

Transportation: Roundtrip transportation is provided from the District Office (occasionally from other locations) to the day’s destination in the district’s 15-passenger vans. For your comfort, we carry a maximum of 12 adults in each van.  All of our drivers have completed van safety training.

What To Bring… At a minimum, bring a daypack, a hearty sack lunch and snacks, 1-2 quarts of water, and proper footwear and clothing appropriate for the expected weather to each program.  You will also need rent or bring your own bike, kayak, snowshoes, skis or other gear unless indicated.

Inherent Risks: Outdoor activities involve known and unanticipated risks and dangers that potentially could lead to personal injury, disability or death from adverse weather, trail conditions, fast moving cold water, animal bites or stings, inability to communicate with emergency services, long time-delays in reaching advanced emergency care, or other situations. Such risks cannot be completely eliminated without jeopardizing the essential qualities of these activities. Participants who have known allergies or medical conditions should carry their own medication for such conditions. If you have any health concerns or other issues that might affect your wellness or ability in the field, please let trip leaders know at the start of the program. If you have questions or concerns about the potential risks of participating in an outdoor activity, please call the Outdoor Programs Coordinator, below, prior to the start of the program.

The Bend Park & Recreation District is an equal opportunity recreation provider under Special Use Permit with the Deschutes National Forest and the Prineville District of the BLM.

Outdoor Clothing & Equipment Recommendations

The following recommendations will help you to enjoy the Central Oregon outdoors safely and comfortably. If you have questions, please call the Outdoor Programs Coordinator at (541) 706-6116 and we’ll be glad to help.

Dress in Layers:  Layers of synthetic and/or wool fabrics, rather than a single heavy layer, are far more effective at regulating your body temperature. You can add or remove layers to stay comfortable in changing conditions or activity levels. For fall, winter and early spring, have a base layer next to the skin, a thick fuzzy middle layer, and an outer waterproof/windproof (breathable) coat or shell (and even over-pants). Your outer shell is important protection against wind, rain, snow and cold.

On a warm summer day, one layer is probably enough, but conditions can change rapidly in Central Oregon, so always carry an extra fleece and a waterproof shell, ‘just in case.’

Avoid Cotton:  Cotton becomes heavy and cold when wet. Wool and synthetics retain little water, wick moisture (sweat) away from your body and trap warm air next to your skin. Cotton may be fine in the summer, but dress in wool or synthetics for playing in the snow or hiking in the spring and fall.

Footwear: Select your footwear based on function and fit, not style. Most of the year and in most conditions, lightweight hiking boots or even sturdy walking shoes are fine. For rugged terrain or extra ankle support, wear over-the-ankle boots. Gortex boots are great for wet or winter hiking. Use a leather treatment on your boots to defend against Central Oregon dust and adverse conditions.

Pack an extra pair of dry socks, ‘just in case.’

Protect Your Hands: Use gloves or mittens in cold or wet weather. Gloves allow for more dexterity, mittens can be warmer. You can layer a waterproof/windproof mitten over a warm glove. Toss a pair of gloves in your pack even for a summer hike, ‘just in case.’

Cover Your Head: Keep your head and ears warm and retain body heat with a fuzzy warm hat. In summer, a hat with a visor or a brim helps keep the sun off your face.

Sun Protection: Sunlight is intense in Central Oregon’s higher altitudes. Even on cloudy days and in winter when the sun’s intensity is magnified by snow, unprotected eyes and skin can be burned. Wear both sunscreen and sunglasses whenever you are out for extended periods of time. If you are particularly sensitive, cover up in summer-weight fabrics with built-in UV protection.

Water and Food:  Carry at least one quart of water, more in the summer, and drink often, regardless of whether you feel thirsty. Bring a hearty sack lunch and carry a couple of energy bars, fruit or some other snack that mixes complex carbohydrates and simple sugars.

Day Pack:  You’ll need a pack that is large enough to hold water, food, extra clothing, and other equipment. If you are buying a new pack, try different styles to see what fits best.

Trekking Poles: They can help you maintain balance, negotiate steep sections of trail or cross small streams, but some hikers find them cumbersome. Try renting a pair before purchasing.

Whistle:  A loud emergency whistle is a good thing to have, ‘just in case’.

You should carry the following items any time you are out on the trails or in the woods, especially if you are not with an organized group:

Personal First Aid Kit: Our leaders carry first aid kits, compasses, and cell phones to ensure that our hiking programs are as safe as possible. When you are not with an organized group, carry a good first aid kit specifically designed for outdoor activities. At a minimum, carry band-aids and blister-care. Consider registering for a Wilderness First Aid course offered each year through the Bend Park & Recreation District to gain more outdoor first aid training.

Map and Compass:  Even if you have a GPS, bring a map & compass. Stick to established, well-traveled summer and winter trails until you build your map and compass skills. Batteries for GPS units can quickly go dead in the cold, so bring extra.

Flashlight or Headlamp:  Carry fresh batteries and extra bulb.

Fire Starter:  Carry matches in a waterproof container, along with a candle, lump of presto-log, or other fire starter.

Equipment Repair Kit: Put together a small repair kit including such things as a strip of duct tape, some cordage or soft wire, a large safety pin, a tube of glue and a pocket knife or multi-tool.

Emergency Shelter:  Carry a “space blanket”, small tarp or bivouac sack ‘just in case’. In winter, a compact folding snow shovel is a good idea.

Hike, Walk & Snowshoe Ratings

Use the following guide to select outdoor programs that fit your abilities. Times and distances may vary from indicated and at times be more or less strenuous than implied. In all cases, access to advanced medical help may be limited or delayed.

LEVEL 1: Moderate walks. Walking surface typically developed (paved, gravel or other), although uneven surfaces, hills or stairs may be encountered, as on a walking tour of gardens or at a large museum. Prerequisite: Participants should have the ability to walk one mile continuously in 30 minutes without physical difficulty.

LEVEL 2: Outings on trails. Hiking trails typically maintained, but with occasional rocks, roots and other obstacles requiring balance. May be rough, hilly or at higher altitudes. Prerequisite: Participants should have the ability to walk up Pilot Butte at an easy pace without physical difficulty.

LEVEL 3: Outings typically in more remote and rugged locations. Hiking trails may not be well maintained, may be very rough, steep and at altitude. Prerequisite: Participants should have the ability to hike up Pilot Butte at an energetic pace without physical difficulty.

Outdoor Volunteers

Get outside! Share your outdoor skills with people who want to learn your favorite sport or activity. Enjoy being outdoors with active people. Training is provided, you bring the fun!

Adult Outdoor Recreation
Volunteers assist staff with outdoor recreation programs for adults. Programs are typically one day per week for five weeks. Programs vary by season. Adult outdoor recreation programs are offered year round. Knowledge of Central Oregon trails and routes is helpful, but not required.

Adaptive Ski Sundays
If you are an experienced downhill skier and are interested in helping people with physical disabilities, we need you! This program pairs volunteers with people who require adaptive equipment to ski. For more information about the program, contact the volunteer coordinator at the number below, or visit www.oregonadaptivesports.org.

How to Volunteer
Download Volunteer Application and Criminal History Verification (ages 18 and over).

Complete and return to:

Volunteer Coordinator
Bend Metro Park and Recreation District
200 NW Pacific Park Lane
Bend, OR 97701
Fax 541-388-5429

Forms may also be dropped off at Juniper Swim and Fitness Center or the Bend Senior Center.

After we receive your application and criminal history form, the Volunteer Coordinator will contact you to schedule an appointment for a district orientation. Once the district orientation and criminal history verification are completed, you will be connected with the program supervisor for the area you wish to volunteer. The supervisor will schedule a time to meet with you for training and to get you started with volunteering.

Volunteers under 12 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian. Volunteers under 18 must have a parent or guardian sign the volunteer application in order to volunteer.

Volunteers may be asked to complete a vehicle background check if operating a Bend Metro Park and Recreation District vehicle as part of their volunteer responsibilities.

Questions? Have questions or need more information?

Questions? Contact the Outdoor Programs Coordinator:

An adult couple hiking in Shevlin Park for an adult outdoor hiking program.
A kid in a whitewater kayak in the Bend Whitewater Park.


Looking to share your passion for the outdoors with others? Consider being a volunteer leader with our outdoor programs. Learn more.

Kim Johnson
Community Engagement Supervisor
Email Kim Johnson