Though it was not settled until the early twentieth century, Bend was first explored by hunters in the mid-1830s. Bend was originally known as Farewell Bend since the bend in the Deschutes River marked the departure point for wagon trains headed over the Cascade Mountains. The U.S. Post Office later shortened the name to simply Bend. The city was incorporated in 1904.
Known as the state's recreational capital, Bend offers an abundance of things to do in the great outdoors. Alpine and cross-country skiing are available in and around the town. Mount Bachelor, just south of Bend, is ranked as one of the top five ski resorts in North America with 70 named runs and 56 kilometers of cross-country trails. Cross-country skiers can also enjoy l65 miles of Nordic trails from Century Drive. Boating opportunities include canoeing, kayaking and rafting. Fishing, hiking, snowshoeing and cycling are other popular activities.
Bend's geographic history is brought to life with a visit to one of the areas many Cascade Peaks and ancient volcanic features. Pilot Butte, east of Bend, is a 511-foot volcanic remnant. Newberry Volcano National Monument includes obsidian fields, lava formations, and mountain lakes. One of the lakes, Lake Paulina, is one of the deepest in the state at 250 feet. The Newberry Caldera is all that is left of a 500-square-mile volcano in a monument area spanning 60,000 acres. Lava River Cave, 12 miles south of Bend, is Oregon's longest known lava tube. It is open to visitors from mid-May through mid-September. Lava Lands Visitor Center and Lava Butte, 11 miles south of Bend, contain exhibits that explore the area's volcanic history. Lava Butte offers an observation point from a fire lookout that allows one to see Mount Jefferson and Mount Hood, as well as other major peaks.
Students in Bend attend schools within the Bend-La Pine Public School District. There are more than 10,000 students enrolled in Bend's ten elementary, three middle and three high schools. In addition, more than 7,000 students are enrolled in Central Oregon Community College and the OSU Cascades campus.
Educational opportunities in Bend range far beyond traditional schools. The award-winning High Desert Museum, 6 miles south of Bend, allows visitors to experience native plants and animals in the Desertarium and to absorb some of the cultural history of the high desert. The Deschutes Historical Center exhibits Native American artifacts and historic photos. The center also preserves and promotes the history of the area's timber industry and features a number of changing exhibits.
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