If you’re looking at traveling from Portland to Bend, you have lots of available options. Budget and requirements-dependent, you have lots of choices on how you want to make the journey.
Portland travel information
Being one of the most populated U.S. cities and the biggest in Oregon, Portland has many routes in and out and a huge variety of travel options.
Since Portland is large, it’s become a travel center for this side of the U.S. The city has its own airport as well as a bus station and train station.
The services used for longer travel are typically Greyhound buses and Amtrak trains. There is also an intercity bus service, streetcar, MAX Light Rail, and local TriMet buses. The main station, Union Station, has a restaurant, bar, and passenger lounge for first and business-class travelers.
Bend travel information
Bend is a city in Deschutes County, Oregon. It is located along the Deschutes River at the eastern edge of the Cascade Range. It’s a real ‘outdoorsy’ place that is characterized by pine forests and the high desert.
Bend was originally a logging town but has now become much more. It’s seen as a gateway for l
ots of outdoor activities like fishing, mountain biking, rock climbing, hiking, camping, skiing, golf, paragliding, and white-water rafting.
Traveling from Portland to Bend
Depending on your requirements, if you’re heading from Portland to Bend, there are many ways to travel. Bend is around 160 miles from Portland, so it’s not too far away at all. Let’s take a look at the different travel options.
By Bus – Portland to Bend
If taking the bus appeals to you, you have a few options.
There is a direct bus from Portland to Bend four times a week. The bus departs Portland at 15:05 on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays. It arrives in Bend at 19:30. These buses depart from Portland Union Station and arrive at Hawthorne Station in Bend. The operating company is Central Oregon Breeze.
Before arriving in Bend, this bus calls at Portland International Airport, Gresham, Sandy, Welches, Government Camp, Warm Springs, Madras, Redmond Hub, and Redmond Airport.
There are two types of tickets available: a flexible ticket that is refundable and a 100% non-refundable ticket. With an economy ticket (non-refundable), there are fees every time you change your ticket. The current fee is $20. With the premium ticket (refundable), fees are charged if the intended time of departure is less than 24 hours.
For both ticket types, you are allowed to carry one piece of luggage and a small carry-on bag inside the bus. Pets are allowed as long as they’re under 15lbs and have a carrier. A pet can travel for $5. For oversized luggage, extra luggage, or bikes, there is a $10 charge.
For the Central Oregon Breeze bus between Portland Union Station and Bend Hawthorne Station, the price is around $62 for a flexible ticket. Seniors and military have a small discount, while a child’s ticket costs $47. The cheaper, non-refundable economy tickets are around $52 with a small discount for military and seniors. A child’s ticket is $40.
You can book tickets online or at the station. It’s a good idea to book in advance rather than turning up as tickets sell out quickly.
Getting the best deals
Many people choose bus travel for the cost. So here are some ways of making sure you get the best price for your tickets.
- Ensure you book in advance where possible. Prices vary, but in general, they are much more expensive the closer you are to your departure date. However, even if your trip is a last-minute journey, it will still be better to book as far in advance as you can; you will always pay the most on the day of travel – that’s if you can get a ticket then.
- If you can choose the day you travel, you will find that mid-week travel and holidays are cheaper. This is because travel companies make the most of the most popular journeys by increasing their prices. Having cheaper travel days also encourages people to travel when it’s not so busy.
- Tickets are always cheaper if you buy them online and not in person at the station or through a travel agency.
- Look for coupons and voucher codes from travel websites and the bus company’s social media pages.
- Subscribe to any travel reward systems you can and apply for points-based reward cards.
- Make sure you use any discounts you’re entitled to – military tickets, senior tickets, minors, and the military have cheaper options.
Tips when traveling on a long journey
A long journey on a bus or train isn’t always easy. A bus trip is arguably the least comfortable journey as you’re unable to get up to stretch your legs – especially if you’re sitting next to a stranger. So you should make sure that you bring things to keep you both entertained and comfortable for your trip. A cushion, some snacks, a book, a crossword, some headphones and a smartphone can make your journey much more pleasant.
By Train: Portland – Bend
If you’re seeking a more comfortable journey where you can stretch your legs, getting the train from Portland to Bend is an option.
The train from Portland to Bend covers some 121 miles and takes around 4h25m, which is similar to the bus journey. The price is the same as the bus too and is around $62. There is one train each day and it runs on Amtrak.
Amtrak trains have comfortable seats with extra legroom. They also have some four-seat tables for groups traveling together. Each train car has its own clean restroom and there are power outlets and free WiFi too.
Tickets can be booked at amtrak.com, at the train station or by telephoning +1800-871-7245.
By Shuttle Oregon
Shuttle Oregan is a great way of traveling between Portland and Bend. This company runs minibusses that have a maximum of ten passengers per trip, which means you get a much more personal experience. Choosing this option means you’ll ride in a Ford Transit Passenger van with comfortable seats, a high roof, and WiFi. There are even smartphone chargers for Apple and Android phones as well as complimentary drinks and snacks.
While booking in advance is advised, walk-ons are accepted. You can also transport your bike or pet if you check with them in advance.
The shuttle service runs from Portland Union Station at 1:00 pm on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays, Fridays, and Sundays. It passes through Salem at 2:00 pm, Sisters at 4:00 pm, Bend – Hawthorne Station at 4:30 pm and finishes at Redmond – Transit Hub at 5:00 pm. The shuttle service from Portland to Bend takes 3h30 minutes.
In terms of price, a one-way ticket for people aged between 13 and 54 costs $50, which is actually cheaper than the bus service! This price includes one bag and one personal item. You can pay $4 for each extra item or for oversized luggage. Bikes cost $5 to transport, while pets are $10. There is no charge for service animals. Children aged under two years old can travel for free but you need to provide your own car seat.
For those aged under 12, over 55, students and the military, the cost is $45 for a one-way ticket. Frequent riders can save money by buying ten one-way trips in advance. There is also a Season Pass available.
If you have a car and don’t mind driving, the journey from Portland to Bend takes around 3h25m and is 161 miles. You could expect to pay around $20 in fuel.
There are two possible routes to take. The first takes you through Gresham, Warm Springs and Redmond, while the second takes you through Salem and Sisters. There is around 15 miles between the two choices (with the former being the shortest) but in terms of driving time, both trips take a similar time.
To follow the shorter route, you need to exit Portland on the I-84 E, then take the US-26 E then when you reach Madras, take the US-97 S. You’ll arrive in Bend on NW Hawthorne Avenue.
The second route exits the city of Portland via SW 1st Ave, then SW Market St. First, follow the I-5 S until exit 253, where you follow the direction for Detroit onto the Or-22 E. At Santiam Junction, you take a slight left onto US-20 E, which takes you to NW Hawthorne Ave in Bend.
Suggested stop-off points
Since the journey is only around three and a half hours, you could make the trip without stopping. However, if you wish to take a break, there are some great places to stop.
For the shorter route via Warm Springs, you could stop at the wonderful Mount Hood, a prominent volcanic mountain peak. There is a rest stop called Government Camp Rest Area, where the highway passes Mount Hood.
For the second route via Santiam, there are lots of rest stops on the way. Around halfway is the Maples Rest Area located in Santiam State Forest. There are also services in Salem. If you’re looking for someone picturesque to stop for a picnic, Detroit Lake State Recreation Area is a great location.
If speed is what you need, driving is the quickest way to get to Bend from Portland. If you don’t drive, the shuttle is almost as quick, and with this, you have the luxury of a quiet journey with free snacks and drinks. The shuttle is around the same cost as taking the bus, so it’s really down to your preference how you prefer to travel.
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Gary is an award winning full time professional photographer and videographer with too much wanderlust for his own good. Fuelled by strong coffee, you’ll often find him wandering well off hiking trails in search of interesting photographic subjects or scenery to video. Self taught and with the use of pioneering digital techniques, he quickly built up a strong client base and has worked with many prestigious organisations, including GQ, BBC, London Fashion Week, Grazia, Sky, Metro, Vogue Italia. He specialising in evocative images of people, places and cinematic videography and his goal is to make the viewer look twice and engage. As well as a penchant for good design, the ketogenic diet and Hungarian Vizslas, he also has a huge affection for Chicago, Bucharest, Scandinavia, Croatia and absolutely everywhere in Italy. Find him on Instagram @garynansome, Twitter @garynansome and his website https://garynunn.co.uk/