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Bend Mountain Bike Shuttles: Route Recommendations & More

Log bridge with wood railing crossing backcountry river near Bend Oregon

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It’s no secret that Bend is home to some awesome singletrack. The Phil’s network just outside of town is a playground for mountain bikers and there are a handful of other great trail networks just a short drive away. You can explore the trails solely by pedal power, or you can hop on a Bend mountain bike shuttle.

Shuttling is pretty popular, especially during the height of summer. But there are a few things you should know before booking your shuttle (spoiler alert: you will be climbing). In this post, I share are few tips on what to expect as well as my top picks for shuttled rides.

What to know before shuttling

There is always climbing

A big mistake a lot of people make when they book a Bend mountain bike shuttle is thinking that it will be all – or mostly – downhill. That is definitely not the case.

With the exception of a few routes (mainly Tiddlywinks and Funner – see route recommendations below), you still need to do a substantial amount of climbing after getting dropped off at your shuttle destination.

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Most shuttled routes will have at least 600 ft or more (sometimes much more) of climbing. If you truly only want downhill, head up to Mt. Bachelor bike park.

Be prepared for 15-20+ mile rides

Most Bend mountain bike shuttled rides will be at least 15 miles (with climbing) so make sure you have everything you need for a couple of hours out on the trail including water and snacks.

Know where you want to end

You can definitely end up doing bonus miles (and bonus climbing) if you pop out not where you expected to be. For example, if you end at the Phil’s Trailhead, but you parked your car at Cog Wild, you’re in for a several-mile and several hundred-foot climb back to your car.

Keep an eye on trail signs and your map to make sure the trail you’re on will take you to where you want to go.

Uphill technically has the right of way

Out of all the places I’ve mountain biked (and that is a lot), the tension between uphill vs downhill riders in Bend is far greater than anywhere else I have ridden. Yes, technically uphill riders have the right of way, but it’s almost taken to an extreme on Bend trails. Just be courteous. Don’t play chicken. Yield to each other and remember that we’re all out there to have fun.

Log bridge over creek on trail outside of Bend, Oregon

How to Shuttle Bend Mountain Bike Trails

You have two options for mountain bike shuttles in Bend:

  1. Shuttle yourself if you have two cars
  2. Book a shuttle through Cog Wild

I highly recommend using Cog Wild because they are awesome. I did my Level 1 PMBIA certification with Lev, the owner, and he and his team are great. Their shuttles run on time, the shuttle drivers take good care of your bike, and they have multiple options for where to get dropped off.

You can choose to buy a single shuttle pass ($17-$22), a 6-punch pass ($80) or a full season pass ($250).

You do need to reserve your shuttle by booking online ahead of time.

Cog Wild is located at the Bend LOGE Camp off of Century Drive.

Cog Wild Mountain bike shuttle bus pulling trailer filled with mountain bikes

Shuttled Route Recommendations

There are three main shuttle drops outside of Bend: Wanoga, Swampy, and Dutchman.

  • Wanoga is the closest drop-off from Bend and requires the least amount of pedaling for downhill fun.
  • Swampy is just a bit farther up from Wanoga and provides access to the other side of the ridge. Shuttlers will need to climb at least 600 ft (or much more) no matter what route they choose.
  • Dutchman Flat is the highest shuttle drop-off and gives shuttlers the opportunity for a big backcountry day. You need to be prepared for a 25-30+ mile ride with quite a bit of climbing (1,500 ft+) regardless of your route.

From Wanoga

1. Tiddlywinks or Funner to COD

  • Route difficulty: Beginner+
  • Shuttle drop-off: Wanoga
  • Mileage: 10-15+ miles depending on route
  • Elevation gain: Variable depending on route (~300-500+ ft)
  • Elevation loss: Variable depending on route (~1,500+ ft)
  • Map/GPS: TrailForks

Route directions: Funner or Tiddlywinks > COD > tons of options to finish

If you’re looking for the least amount of climbing for the maximum amount of fun, then a Tiddlywinks or Funner Bend mountain bike shuttle is your answer.

If you have the option to do multiple shuttles while visiting Bend, I recommend hitting both Funner and Tiddlywinks because they are two of the best trails in Bend.

***Currently the upper sections of Funner and Tiddlywinks are only open from Friday 3pm through Sunday due to logging (i.e. they’re open only on weekends).

Tiddlywinks

Tiddlywinks is fast and flowy with lots of big berms and machine-built fun. There are some jumps (big and small), but no mandatory features. There is a bit more climbing to get to the start of Tiddlywinks compared to Funner, but it’s worth it!

Funner

Funner parallels Tiddlywinks and is more old-school with natural features like rock rolls and drops. There are two Funner side trails (Funner Log Drop and Funner DH) that add bigger features, some of them mandatory.

As far as finishing your ride(s) back to your car or Cog Wild, you have a lot of options. Here are just a few trail link ups (in order of my personal preference):

  • COD to Ticket to Ride to Grand Slam to KGB
  • Storm King to Catch and Release
  • COD to Phils
  • COD all the way down (I find this trail kind of annoying because of the stop-and-go tech)

2. Tyler’s Traverse

  • Route difficulty: Intermediate+
  • Shuttle drop-off: Wanoga
  • Mileage: 20+ miles
  • Elevation gain: 1,200+ ft
  • Elevation loss: 2,800 ft
  • Map/GPS: TrailForks

Route directions: Upper Tiddlywinks > Kiwi Butte Trail > Tyler’s Traverse > Catch and Release > Ticket to Ride > COD (or Rim Rock)

I really enjoyed this Bend mountain bike shuttle ride. There is a lot of climbing, but the descent down Tyler’s Traverse is totally worth it. Tyler’s features big berms, tons of flow, a few optional side features, and an all-around good time. Keep reminding yourself as you climb that the down is coming 🙂

The finished down Catch and Release is also fun – a bit more pedaly, but scenic and sprinkled with some rock gardens.

Make it easier

If I did this ride again, I’d opt to take the paved Rim Rock bike path back to Cog Wild instead of doing COD after Catch and Release. This is a big ride and the tech and the punchy ups on COD were annoying.

Mountain bike trail through green meadow with fir trails outside of Bend Oregon
A stretch of singletrack on Tyler’s Traverse

From Swampy

3. Whoops & Phils

  • Route difficulty: Beginner with good fitness
  • Shuttle drop-off: Swampy Lakes
  • Mileage: 17+ miles
  • Elevation gain: 674 ft (don’t let this fool, it actually feels like more)
  • Elevation loss: 2,594 ft
  • Map/GPS: TrailForks

Route directions: Swampy Lakes East > Swede Loop > Sector 16 > Upper Whoops > Lower Whoops > Phil’s

This is the kind of shuttled ride where you start wondering right off the bat whether you actually took a shuttle. There’s quite a bit of climbing on this route, especially at the start as well as a few hills throughout the ride.

But despite all the pedaling, it is a really fun 17+ mile ride from the Swampy Sno-Park all the way back down to Bend.

The highlight is definitely Lower Whoops, which is a fast flow/jump trail with some drops and tabletops. It’s a blast!

Once you get down Lower Whoops, you have a ton of options to finish your ride. Take Phil’s for a classic descent down Phil’s Canyon. Kent’s or KGB are also fun ways to finish. Keep in mind where you parked your car though – you can definitely do bonus miles and extra climbing if you end up at the wrong parking area.

Make it longer

When I did this ride, I added 3.5 miles at the start by doing the Swampy Lakes (west) to Swampy Lakes (east) loop. It’s a nice warm-up pedal with a fun descent and some mellow climbing back to the start of Swede Loop.

Mountain bike propped up on log at intersection of trail in Bend, Oregon

4. South Fork to Skyliners

  • Route difficulty: Intermediate
  • Shuttle drop-off: Swampy Lakes
  • Mileage: 22+ miles
  • Elevation gain: 1,050 ft
  • Elevation loss: 2,990 ft
  • Map/GPS: TrailForks

Route directions: Swampy Lakes > Swampy Lakes East > South Fork > Tumalo Creek > Skyliners Trail > Phil’s > Grand Slam > KGB > Marvin’s Gardens > COD

South Fork is a favorite for Bend mountain biking and for good reason. It’s fast, it’s flowy, it’s got some minor tech, and it’s beautiful. This route descends down South Fork from Swampy and then makes its way down to Phil’s via Tumalo Creek and Skyliner’s Trail. If you haven’t explored this area during your visit to Bend, I highly recommend it. Tumalo Creek is beautiful!

To finish your ride, you can follow the suggested route, which is awesome, or choose your own adventure back down through the Phil’s network. Again, just remember where you parked your car or you may be doing bonus miles.

Tall rocky cliff behind river outside of Bend, Oregon
The singletrack stretch along Tumalo Creek is beautiful

5. Swampy to Mrazek

  • Route difficulty: Intermediate with good fitness
  • Shuttle drop-off: Swampy Lakes
  • Mileage: 26+ miles
  • Elevation gain: 1,951 ft
  • Elevation loss: 4,151 ft
  • Map/GPS: TrailForks

Route directions: Swampy Lakes West > South Fork > North Fork > Metolious-Windigo > Mrazek

This is a big day and a big backcountry ride. Even though you get shuttled up to Swampy, there’s still almost 2,000 ft of climbing, most of which is up North Fork – a 4+ mile climb (although it is beautiful with lots of waterfalls!).

If you’re riding in the summer, it’s best to do this ride on a weekday because North Fork can be very busy with hikers.

The descent down South Fork is a highlight and while I personally didn’t love Mrazek, a lot of people do. It’s got a very old-school IMBA design feel with climbs where they don’t need to be and 20% too many turns. You may love it, though!

A note about finishing: If you left your car at Cog Wild, you’ll need to make your way back across Phil’s. This means skipping the last section down Shevlin Park and taking the fire road (NF-4606) or connector trail (there is a trail that is not on TrailForks). Once at Phil’s Trailhead, you can ride singletrack to Cog Wild via Marvin’s Garden, or take gravel road. Both involve a bit more climbing.

Wooden bridge over grassy area next to river on mountain bike trail in Bend, Oregon
Once you reach this bridge, you’re finally at the top of the North Fork climb 🙂

From Dutchman Flat

6. Metolius-Windigo to Mrazek

  • Route difficulty: Intermediate with good fitness
  • Shuttle drop-off: Dutchman Flat
  • Mileage: 28+ miles
  • Elevation gain: 1,800 ft
  • Elevation loss: 4,543 ft
  • Map/GPS: TrailForks

Route directions: Flagline Access > Upper Flagline > Metolius-Windago > Mrazek

For this route, instead of starting at Swampy like the route above, you start at Dutchman Flat. It does skip the fun descent down South Fork, but you do gain more stunning backcountry riding on Metolious-Windigo (and also has a super fun descent).

Depending on the snow-pack, the trails from Dutchman Flat may not be accessible until July.

A note about finishing: If you left your car at Cog Wild, you’ll need to make your way back across Phil’s. This means skipping the last section down Shevlin Park and taking the fire road (NF-4606) or connector trail (there is a trail that is not on TrailForks). Once at Phil’s Trailhead, you can ride singletrack to Cog Wild via Marvin’s Garden, or take gravel road. Both involve a bit more climbing.

Alternatively, you can take Farewell instead of Mrazek to get back over to the Phils network. From Farewell, take Skyliner to Whoops and that will put you closer to Cog Wild.

Other bend mountain bike shuttle options

Still looking for more? Here are two other Bend mountain bike shuttle options:

McKenzie River

The McKenzie River Trail is located about an hour from Bend and it’s a 20+ mile ride along the stunning McKenzie River. There’s a little bit of everything on this trail from flow to lava rock tech. I will say it’s definitely more challenging than a lot of people anticipate.

Cog Wild offers shuttles from Bend or a better option is booking a shuttle through Horse Creek Lodge. They’re located near the ending trailhead and offer several different shuttle options (plus beer at the end).

Newberry Crater

I’ve ridden Newberry Crater as a loop, which was awesome. Cog Wild also offers a private shuttle option from Horse Butte (where you leave your car) to Newberry Crater. You can then ride the Crater Rim Trail, but instead of finishing the loop, you’ll take Swamp Wells back to your car at Horse Butte.

This is close to a 40-mile day.

You also miss the super fun descent back to the parking area at Newberry Crater! I haven’t done the shuttle, but I highly recommend the loop.

Views out over blue lake in Newberry Volcanic National Monument near Bend, Oregon
Views out over the lakes at Newberry Volcanic National Monument

What to pack for your shuttled rides

For a full list of what to bring on your Bend mountain bike shuttle ride, head over to my post on Mountain Bike Pack Essentials.

Here are a few of my favorite mountain bike gear picks:

MTB Gear I Love

Looking for more fun things to do?

Check out these popular tours in Bend

What is your favorite shuttled mountain bike ride in Bend? Have you ridden any of these routes? Let us know in the comments!

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Learn how to make the most of your Bend mountain bike shuttles with this guide, including route recommendations, where to start, and more
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