Monthly Climate

At an elevation of 4,200 ft., Sunriver sits in the high-desert country of Central Oregon. Summers are characterized by hot days and cool nights while winter brings chilly days and beautiful snowfall. Because of its location in the "rain shadow" of the Cascade mountain range, June through September are exceptionally dry. However even during the wettest months, dry days still outnumber wet ones. During winter, precipitation most often falls in the form of snow. While the average annual snowfall is just under 60 in., it has been as low as 14 in. and as high as 144 in. in years past.

The following sections provide specific information about Sunriver and its climate during each month of the year. We hope it will help you determine the weather conditions you can expect for your stay or help you pick that perfect time for your next vacation. Either way, whether you choose to stay in January, February, March, April, May, June, July, August, September, October, November, or December each season at Sunriver has its own unique character and every one of them offer you a special opportunity to cast off your cares and have a wonderful time!


Monthly Averages
High: 39.1 deg.Sunny Days: 17Snowfall: 15.1 in.
Low: 20.4 deg.Cloudy Days: 14Rainfall: 2.76 in.

Much like December, January generally brings cold temperatures and snow. Cloudy skies are common and some of the highest snowfall occurs. That means in most years you'll find Sunriver covered in a thick blanket of snow with beautiful scenery at nearly every turn. However, toward the end of the month, temperatures can rise during the day to as high as the low to mid-40s and rain may fall. Many small animals common during the warmer months are in full hibernation now and won't be seen until Spring. But a few squirrels and some species of rabbit can still be seen (though usually just the tracks they leave behind in the snow).

Sunriver is busiest during the New Year's and MLK holidays when it hosts many winter vacationers and skiers. At other times, things are mostly quiet and a slower pace sets in. The Bachelor and Hoodoo ski areas are in full swing during this month and the historically heavy snowfall almost guarantees fresh, fluffy powder! Sunriver also calls to cross-country skiers and snowshoe enthusiasts who love to engage in their favorite sport on the local golf fairways, now covered in snow.


Monthly Averages
High: 43.5 deg.Sunny Days: 17Snowfall: 10.5 in.
Low: 22.4 deg.Cloudy Days: 11Rainfall: 2.14 in.

February begins the long, slow climb out of winter. Much remains the same, but the average snowfall is a bit lighter than in January and there are generally fewer cloudy days. Snow remains on the ground and snow may fall throughout the month, but frequent above-freezing temperatures limit the overall accumulation. Average temperatures rise slightly over those in January, due in part to occassional balmy and increasingly long days. The very earliest migrant birds may arrive in the middle to late part of the month and winter residents begin preparations to return to their summer tundra homes.

February finds Sunriver active, but subdued. The skiing at Bachelor and Hoodoo remains both good and popular during the month and attracts winter sports enthusiasts from across Washington, Oregon, and California. Not surprisingly, the President's Day holiday is very popular and Sunriver is often bustling during this prime vacation period. Valentine's Day, too, is popular. Walks in the snow, a sleigh ride at the stables, an intimate dinner, and an evening spent by the fire are just the ticket to rekindle the romance with that special someone in your life.


Monthly Averages
High: 49.8 deg.Sunny Days: 22Snowfall: 6.4 in.
Low: 25.7 deg.Cloudy Days: 9Rainfall: 1.6 in.

Spring comes to Sunriver in March where the northerly migration of birds is in full swing. The small ground squirrels that look so much like chipmunks emerge from their burrows in the last half of the month, looking for food and others of the opposite gender. The longer days and warmer daytime temperatures start the first signs of life in the many aspens and willows around Sunriver while buds form on the currant bushes and the daffodils and crocus bloom. In good-weather years, the golf courses will get their first mow. And everywhere you go, the scent of spring is in the air.

March is, perhaps, the busiest month of the year outside the summer season. With "Spring Break" periods ranging from the second week through the last (depending on location), nearly the entire month finds the area bustling with folks often taking their first break since Christmas. Whether you're trying to catch the last great snowfall on the slopes or looking for the first signs of spring in Sunriver, this month offers something for everyone!


Monthly Averages
High: 56.4 deg.Sunny Days: 22Snowfall: 2.2 in.
Low: 28.1 deg.Cloudy Days: 8Rainfall: 1.4 in.

By April spring is usually in full swing. Snow is still available in the mountains for folks with a hardcore ski addiction, but snow in Sunriver itself is extremely rare. Everywhere plants and trees are sprouting new growth and many animals are beginning to reappear. The lakes and streams around Sunriver thaw during the month and quickly become active with the many creatures that depend on them. Almost four times the number of sunny days as cloudy ones and temperatures that often reach above 60 degrees make it clear that winter is on the run!

With the rush of spring break over, April returns to a quieter pace. A few late spring break periods keep Sunriver busier in the first part of the month, but the latter weeks are subdued. Many attractions that were closed for the winter begin opening again during this month. In addition, many businesses begin making the transition from shorter winter hours. Off-season rates make staying during this month very affordable and with an average of 22 sunny or mostly sunny days, your chances of getting several days of great weather are good! Say goodbye to those April showers and find out why it's called SUNriver.


Monthly Averages
High: 65.0 deg.Sunny Days: 25Snowfall: 0.3 in.
Low: 33.0 deg.Cloudy Days: 6Rainfall: 1.41 in.

May in Sunriver is bound to convince you summer is just around the corner. New growth can be found on just about every tree from maples to pines. Squirrels and their young can be seen everywhere, foraging for food while evenings are filled with the sound of tree frogs calling out to each other in chorus. Most migrant birds have returned and are in full nesting mode (though a few species won't arrive until mid-month). Even the occasional toad can be seen heading to its watery breeding ground.

Coming just before its busiest season, May is a quiet prelude to the fun and sun of summer vacations. Visitors are few, making Sunriver a quiet, peaceful retreat. Afternoon temperatures regularly reach comfortable levels and nights, while chilly, rarely fall below freezing. While other parts of the northwest often sit under a raincloud during this month, Sunriver averages 25 days of fully or partly sunny skies. The quiet, beautiful days of this month combined with off-season rates make it a great time to take that long weekend, leave your cares behind, and escape to Sunriver!


Monthly Averages
High: 73.6 deg.Sunny Days: 24Snowfall: 0.0 in.
Low: 38.2 deg.Cloudy Days: 5Rainfall: 1.22 in.

Summer rolls into town this month, exploding in a showy array of wildflowers. Most trees have their full spring growth by mid-month and blossoming trees and shrubs are at the height of their glory. Many young animals make their first appearance outside the den or nest during the last three weeks of the month and everywhere there seems to be activity. Nights can still be chilly, but frost is rare and the days are fantastic...warm, but not too hot.

Memorial Day is generally considered the beginning of the summer season in Sunriver and June, its first month. However, while there is a marked increase in the number of visitors this month, June begins rather slow as compared to July and August. The latter half of the month is very popular and finds Sunriver hosting the seekers of fun and sun from around the northwest. But if you're looking for summer-like weather with discounted rates, the first two weeks of the month are made for you (full rates apply after June 14th).


Monthly Averages
High: 83.0 deg.Sunny Days: 28Snowfall: 0.0 in.
Low: 42.1 deg.Cloudy Days: 3Rainfall: 0.58 in.

The spring flowers so showy in June have been replaced by summer flowers that are in full bloom this month. Birds that raise more than one brood each year will have their second clutch during the latter half of the month and young geese are preparing for their first flight. The heat of midday and afternoon drive many creatures into their dens, shady spots, or underground. But early morning and late evening find many of Sunriver's native residents active and available for viewing. Look for rabbits, deer, chipmunks, squirrels, river otters, hawks, eagles, porcupines, prairie dogs, and various song birds.

July is one of Sunriver's busiest months with hundreds of people headed to their summer vacations. By the middle of June everything is in full swing and July sees no slowdown. Popular with sun-seekers, available space during the month books quickly. With an average of only three overcast days the entire month, Sunriver is often hot with temperatures that frequently reach into the high 90s. It all makes for great days spent lounging by the pool or canoeing down the Deschutes and fun nights spent walking under the stars or dropping by Goody's for a frosty treat!


Monthly Averages
High: 82.6 deg.Sunny Days: 28Snowfall: 0.0 in.
Low: 40.6 deg.Cloudy Days: 3Rainfall: 0.75 in.

Summer still reigns supreme during this month with dry, hot days that can reach into the low 100s. However, hints of the change to fall can be found in the last days of the month when temperatures begin to dip slightly. Sudden thunderstorms can quickly roll through at any time during the month and account for the increase in rainfall over July. Chipmunks and golden-mantled ground squirrels are particularly active during this month and can often be seen scampering across paths or sitting on rock outcroppings. With everything bone dry, it's the height of fire season and smoke from the occassional regional fire may be "visible" to the eye and/or nose if the wind is right.

Keeping up with the frenzied pace of July, this month likewise finds Sunriver filled to the brim with folks having fun in the sun on their favorite annual vacation. Canoeing, biking, rafting, horseback riding, swimming, hiking, and playing tennis, soccer, or football as well as attending organized events all offer something for nearly everyone to do. August, too, is very popular and the weeks fill quickly so be sure to get your bids in early. If you're already too late, consider a booking in June. The good weather and summer activities of August are all available, but with fewer crowds and more temperate conditions.


Monthly Averages
High: 74.9 deg.Sunny Days: 26Snowfall: 0.0 in.
Low: 34.4 deg.Cloudy Days: 4Rainfall: 0.8 in.

Summer begins its departure during a month that can't seem to make up its mind. While the first couple weeks retain their summer feel, the shorter days and cool (often cold) nights become quite noticable in the last half of the month. Cloudy skies, almost unheard of in August, may now appear along with the occassional rain shower. With a record high of 100 and a record low of 16, September in Sunriver can be a confusing month. Animals that winter over in Sunriver eat voraciously, adding fat for the months ahead. Many feathered guests can be seen passing through on their way south at various times during the month, often joined by Sunriver's summer residents beginning their own trips south.

September signals the end of the summer vacation season. Though Labor Day is always very popular, by the end of the first week, Sunriver has grown markedly quiet and local businesses heave a sigh as they get their first break from the throngs of summer visitors. The chilly (and occassionally downright cold) nights signal fall is just around the corner. But in the meantime, most days are sunny and pleasant. Good weather, peaceful surroundings, and the off-season rates of late September make it a fine time to enjoy the many advantages of summer without the crowds or the cost! Just make sure you pack for warm AND cold weather.


Monthly Averages
High: 63.0 deg.Sunny Days: 22Snowfall: 0.9 in.
Low: 28.9 deg.Cloudy Days: 9Rainfall: 1.3 in.

October generally brings cool but comfortably sunny days and cold nights with an average low temperature that dips below freezing. Cloudy skies and some rain are normal, but rarely last long. Some years see the first snowfall near the end of the month, but this is unusual. The water level of the Deschutes drops as upstream reservoirs begin building reserves for next year and animals which remain year-round are especially active preparing for the coming winter. As the nights get cooler, the leaves begin to change and by the end of the month Sunriver is often wrapped in beautiful shades of yellow, orange, and red!

Sunriver itself is quiet and serene during the month of October. Crowds are gone and many businesses begin the switch to shorter winter hours. But for those looking for a chance to get away to someplace quiet and beautiful, it's the perfect time. Gorgeous fall colors combined with crisp, clear days and discounted rental rates make Sunriver a great place to take a relaxing break before the work and fun of the winter holiday season. Come spend a long weekend with us and experience the beauty of autumn in the high desert.


Monthly Averages
High: 44.8 deg.Sunny Days: 17Snowfall: 7.2 in.
Low: 25.1 deg.Cloudy Days: 13Rainfall: 2.74 in.

November continues the trend begun in October. Days become chilly and nights are downright cold. Cloudy skies and rain are a bit more frequent, though sunny or partly sunny days continue to outnumber those that are cloudy. Shortened days combined with the time change mean nightfall comes early. Light snowfall is common in the latter half of the month, but rarely stays around. Animals that hibernate are generally out of sight while others spend much less time exposed to the elements. The most active creatures are the local river otters (who always seem to have time for play) and various hawks that can often be seen circling the great meadow looking for voles or other small creatures.

For the first three weeks of the month, Sunriver is practically deserted. Some businesses close for portions of the month or during mid-week. But many remain open and most return to normal hours for the last week or so of the month. The Thanksgiving weekend signals the beginning of the winter ski season and the number of visitors spikes sharply during this time. The cold, cloudy days seem just made for curling up in front of a warm fire with someone you love. Peaceful and romantic, come spend a long autumn weekend at Sunriver.


Monthly Averages
High: 38.7 deg.Sunny Days: 17Snowfall: 14.9 in.
Low: 20.1 deg.Cloudy Days: 14Rainfall: 3.12 in.

December is surely the "darkest" month in Sunriver. Skies are cloudy for nearly half the month and days are the shortest of the year. During mild years, only a few inches of snow may cover the ground, but more often than not, the snow is heavy by mid-month. Everyone wants a white Christmas and in most years, that's exactly what Sunriver gets (though there have been notable exceptions). For the most part, the animals that inhabit Sunriver year-round are holed up in various dens and burrows. However, if you're lucky, you may catch a glimpse of a great white swan flying overhead or hear the haunting call of a great horned owl or great gray owl.

By the middle of the first week in December, Sunriver has slowed down from the Thanksgiving rush and (usually) the beginning of ski season at Mt. Bachelor and Hoodoo. Though not as deserted as early November, there are no crowds. Businesses are generally open, though with shorter hours. By the third week, the Christmas rush is on and Sunriver becomes a bustling winter wonderland through the end of the year. If you love skiing but hate travelling long distances on snowy roads, early December is made for you. There may be lots of fine powder on the slopes, but you'll generally find the roads in Sunriver, Bend, and Madras mostly clear.