Oregon has no shortage of great mountain biking and the trail networks seem to be growing every year (hoorah!). I recently spent a few weeks exploring the mountain bike trails around Bend while housesitting for two adorable little Boston Terriers.
There’s a good chance that affiliate links are scattered throughout this post. If you click on one I may receive a small commission at no extra charge to you and I’ll definitely be using it to buy bike gear.
Bend, Oregon mountain biking has a lot going for it from pedaling cross-country trails to shuttled descents to jump lines and even a bike park up at Mt Bachelor (which was unfortunately still closed for the winter). Plus, the town of Bend itself is super cool with lots of great restaurants, outdoor spaces, and things to do.
If you’re looking for a great summer mountain bike getaway in the Pacific Northwest, definitely consider putting Bend on the list and use this guide to plan your adventure!
Start planning your Bend, Oregon mountain biking trip with this complete guide including the best trails, route recommendations, & more
Why mountain bike in Bend?
I’ve had the pleasure of visiting Bend, Oregon several times to mountain bike (I did my Level 1 PMBIA Certification there) and I have to say, I’m quite impressed.
Not only does the town have a cool vibe, but the riding is also super rad. From big cross-country days to shuttle laps on rowdier terrain to scenic meanders along beautiful rivers, Bend has it all – including a lift-served bike park!
Plus, the riding doesn’t just stop in Bend. Oakridge is only two hours away as are Klamath Falls and Ashland – all worthy mountain bike destinations on their own.
Important Things To Know About Mountain Biking In Bend
Ebikes are not allowed on most trails
Bend does not allow electric bikes on most trail networks near town. You’ll have to go elsewhere to ride your pedal assist.
Some trails are one-way
Please read the signs before heading up or down a trail. All trails are pretty well marked including one-way trails. There were a few times I was riding up a one-way climb trail and riders were coming down.
Beware the pinecones
Bend is famous for its pinecone studded trails. For April Fools Day, Bend Trails had a pinecone counter on their website 😅. In all seriousness, though, these pinecones can be trail bombs if you’re not paying attention.
Do not ride when muddy
Please stay off the trails if the conditions are muddy. Riding trails when they are soggy can be very destructive.
Be prepared for all weather conditions
When I visited Bend in May, I got caught in a massive, chilly downpour as well as a squall with hail and wind. If you’re visiting in the shoulder seasons, be prepared with extra layers because the weather can turn fast!
Shuttling still means pedaling
Cog Wild offers mountain bike shuttles to several places along Century Drive including Wanoga, Swampy, and Dutchman Flats. However, it’s important to know that even though you take a shuttle, you’ll still be pedaling. Depending on what route you take, it may feel like you didn’t take a shuttle at all.
8 Mountain Bike Networks in Bend to Check out
I’ve listed these trail networks in order of relative difficulty with La Pine State Forest being the easiest and Horse Ridge being the hardest.
- La Pine State Park
- Peterson Ridge
- Horse Butte
- Swampy Lakes Area
- Mount Bachelor Bike Park
- Horse Ridge
1. La Pine State Park
If you’re looking for a super scenic ride, head to La Pine State Park, which is about 35 minutes south of Bend. While the riding isn’t technical in the least and the elevation gain is very minimal, the views out over the Deschutes River and Fall River are beautiful. Stunning really!
I did this ride as a ‘rest day’ and really enjoyed it. It would also be a great place for newer riders or for families with young kids. See below for a route recommendation.
Maston is the XC winner of Bend. These trails are mostly flat, mostly buff, and very fast. There are about 18 miles of trail in all, which go by quickly if you enjoy spinning fast.
There are a few slightly technical rocky sections, but for the most part, this area is great for new riders, families, or cross-country enthusiasts. It’s also beautiful with great views out over Three Sisters and Mount Bachelor.
3. Peterson Ridge
Peterson Ridge is the trail network out by Sisters, Oregon. The singletrack is mostly smooth and buff, but there is some tech on the Upper Peterson Trail West stretch.
Peterson Ridge is a stacked-loop network, which means that you can do a quick, easy pedal or do the full outer loop, which is just under 18 miles. The higher you go, the better the views!
4. Horse Butte
Horse Butte is located about 25 minutes outside of Bend and it has some great riding. There is one smaller 9.5-mile loop and options to do much, much longer 20+ mile loops. There’s nothing really in between.
The riding is definitely cross-country, but you’ll find a bit more tech and definitely climbing than at Maston. The views are also great and Horse Butte is home to Boyd Cave if you feel like exploring underground (bring locks for your bikes and a headlamp).
Phil’s is the trail network right outside of Bend. Depending on where you’re staying, you may even be able to ride to it. Phil’s has a good mix of mellow cross-country terrain as well as a little bit of tech including jump lines and lava rock rock gardens.
If you’re only in Bend for a few days, definitely spend most of your time at Phil’s. Some of the trails are one-way, so be sure to read the well-placed signs.
Wanoga is mostly accessed via shuttle, but you can also get there by pedaling up through Phil’s trails or parking at one of the trailheads south of the main parking area. Wanoga has some of the best mountain bike trails in Bend (IMO) including Funner, Tiddlywinks, and Tyler’s Traverse.
If you don’t have a shuttle, these trails can easily be lapped since each has its own climbing trail. Keep in mind that Wanoga is often snow-in until late spring.
7. Swampy Lakes Area & Dutchman Flat
The Swampy Lakes Area and Dutchman Flat are located on the slopes of Mount Bachelor and are home to beautiful, forested backcountry riding. The trails traverse through a completely different ecosystem than the networks closer to Bend and it’s absolutely beautiful. It reminds me of Southeast Alaska with lush vegetation, towering trees, loamy dirt, and raging rivers.
These trails do not melt out until June or later, so be sure to check conditions before heading that way.
8. Mount Bachelor Bike Park
If you need a break from all the pedaling, Bend does have a mountain bike park up on Mount Bachelor. It’s about 40 minutes away and the park features a variety of trails for all levels of riders. You’ll find flow trails, jump lines, rock gardens, and lots of awesome views.
9. Horse Ridge
Unfortunately, I haven’t gotten out to Horse Ridge for a ride, but I have heard that it’s definitely worth a visit, especially if you’re looking for more technical riding.
The climbing at Horse Ridge is steeper than other mountain bike networks around Bend, but that also means the descents are steeper and faster as well. Escape From Moscow and Sand Canyon are supposedly the two descents to do.
Discover more fun activities to do in Bend
The Best of Bend, Oregon Mountain Biking
11 Best Mountain Bike Trails in Bend
Here are what I consider to be the 11 best mountain bike trails in Bend:
- Fall River Loop (La Pine State Forest, Beginner)
- Phil’s Trail (Phil’s, Beginner)
- Ticket To Ride Loop (Phil’s, Beginner)
- Deschutes River Trail (Phil’s, Beginner/Intermediate)
- Metolious-Windigo (Dutchman Flat, Beginner+ with good fitness)
- Upper and Lower Whoops (Phil’s, Intermediate)
- Funner (Wanoga, Intermediate)
- Tiddlywinks (Wanoga, Intermediate)
- Tyler’s Traverse (Wanoga, Intermediate)
- Mrazek (Phil’s/Wanoga, Intermediate)
- North Fork climbing trail (Swampy, Intermediate)
- Grand Slam (Phil’s, Advanced)
8 Best Route recommendations
1. Tour de La Pine
- Route difficulty: Easy
- Trail network: La Pine State Forest
- Highlight trails: Fall River Loop and Deschutes Loop
- Mileage: 7.6 miles
- Elevation gain/loss: 171 ft
- Route directions: Parking > left onto Deschutes Loop > McGregor Loop > Fall River Loop (worth going to the overlook) > Back to parking lot (optional Cougar Woods Loop)
- Map/GPS: TrailForks, Bend Trails
The trail network at La Pine State Forest is by no means the most challenging or engaging riding in Bend. However, what it lacks in features, it makes up for in scenery. The trails flow along the Deschutes River and Fall River and the views are absolutely beautiful.
There are also plenty of opportunities to take a dip or relax on the river bank for lunch.
If you’re looking for a mellow ride – whether it be with the family or as a rest day – I highly recommend heading south to La Pine State Forest. It is about a 30-minute drive from Bend each way.
Make it shorter
If you want to make your ride shorter, just do the Fall River Loop which is about 4 miles if you park in the same parking area.
Make it longer
You can add on the smaller Cougar Woods Loop, however, I don’t recommend doing the Big Pine Loop because it’s more of a footpath, has downed trees, and is hard to follow in places.
2. Maston Big Loop
The Maston trail network is located about 20 minutes north of Bend and it’s made up of flat, fast, cross-country trails. There’s very little tech here, but I really enjoyed cruising around. Seventeen miles flew by!
The views out over Mt. Bachelor and the Three Sisters are also pretty impressive. This loop basically follows the outermost trails in the network, so just keep going right.
Make it harder
The only tech found at Maston is on Rimbar Trail, which also gives you nice views down onto the Deschutes River. The tech is mostly rock piles and embedded rocks and not overly difficult.
Make it longer
To add on to your ride, cut into the inner loop via Lost Dream Trail on the west side once you’re almost finished with the outer loop. Then finish your ride back to the parking area on Lost Dream Trail.
3. Phil’s Smorgasbord
- Route difficulty: Intermediate+
- Trail network: Phil’s
- Highlight trails: Lower Whoops, Grand Slam
- Mileage: 18 miles
- Elevation gain/loss: 1,492 ft
- Route directions: Phil’s Trailhead Parking > Ben’s > Pine Drops > Lower Whoops > EXT > Phil’s Trail > Voodoo > Grand Slam > KGB > Marvin’s Garden
- Map/GPS: TrailForks
*Note: the red section, which includes Pine Drops and Lower Whoops, is currently closed for logging Monday through 3pm on Friday. You can only ride it after 3pm on Friday, all day Saturday, or all day Sunday.
This is one of my favorite rides in the Phil’s network. There’s a little bit of everything (hence the name Smorgasbord), so you’ll never be bored.
The pedal up Ben’s is long and a bit of a grind, but it’s never too steep and you’ll probably feel the final push up Pine Drops. But then it’s (mostly) all downhill fun! Lower Whoops is a blast with lots of berms, small kickers, and tabletops (the bigger features have go-arounds).
Then you get into some tech on Voodoo and Grand Slam. There is a bit more climbing on KGB but then it’s fast and flowy down Marvins Garden. All-in-all this is a great ride and definitely one to do if you only have a day at Phil’s.
Make it Shorter & Easier
Another classic Bend, Oregon mountain biking loop in Phil’s is to climb up Ben’s and then cross over to Phil’s and descend straight back to the parking area. This loop is about 9.5 miles with 630 feet of climbing. Phil’s is one of the classic trails and definitely worth doing at least once. The section through the canyon is amazing!
4. PRT – Up East Down West
- Route difficulty: Intermediate with good fitness (shorter options for beginner riders as well)
- Trail network: Peterson Ridge
- Highlight trails: Peterson Trail Ridge West – Upper
- Mileage: 18 miles
- Elevation gain/loss: 979 ft
- Route directions: Peterson Ridge Parking > Peterson Ridge Trail East > Peterson Ridge Trail West
- Map/GPS: TrailForks
Peterson Ridge is the trail network outside of Sisters, about 35 minutes from Bend. The trails are primarily pedaly cross-country with a bit of tech higher up.
This route follows the entire Peterson Ridge Trail by climbing up the east side and descending down the west. I definitely recommend doing the loop this way (clockwise) or else you’ll be climbing most of the techy sections.
The best views are up near the top, but it is a pedal to get up there.
Make it shorter
You have a lot of options to make this loop shorter since the trail network is designed as a stacked loop system. Simply pedal up as far as you want, take a cross-over trail and head back down to your car.
If views are what you’re after, park at the Upper PRT Parking and do a clockwise loop from there. The first section on PRT West – Upper does have some technical rock gardens, so starting here is best for intermediate riders.
5. Storm King to Tyler’s Traverse
- Route difficulty: Intermediate+
- Trail network: Wanoga
- Highlight trails: Tyler’s Traverse (optional: Lone Wolf)
- Mileage: 13 miles
- Elevation gain/loss: 1,144 ft
- Route directions: Storm King Parking (dirt road) or Cascade Lakes Trailhead Parking > Catch and Release > Storm King > Steve Larsen’s > Tyler’s Traverse > Catch and Release
- Map/GPS: TrailForks
Tyler’s Traverse is a local’s favorite because of its fast flow and fun features like berms and kickers. The climb up Storm King is long and steep in some places, but not too bad considering the fun descent back down.
This route only features half of Tyler’s Traverse. If you want to do the full trail, see ‘make it longer’ below.
Make it longer
To do the full Tyler’s Traverse descent, instead of cutting over on Steve Larsen’s, continue climbing up via Tiddlywinks Climbing Trail and Lower Tiddlywinks.
At the top, take Kiwi Butte over to the start of Tyler’s Traverse. This will add about 4 miles and 800 feet of climbing. The upper part of Tyler’s Traverse is super fun, though!
Make it Harder
If you do the full Tyler’s Traverse descent, take the detour onto Lone Wolf, which is a jump line. There are some mandatory gap jumps, but all the big features have go-arounds.
This is a beautiful ride with a backcountry feel. North Fork follows the rushing Tumalo Creek and while it’s a long climb and steep in places, the views are amazing and the surrounding forest is peaceful and magical.
It’s best to do this ride on a weekday because North Fork trail (which is one-way for bikers) is popular with hikers.
It’s also important to note that this is a pretty big ride and once you start up North Fork you can’t turn back around since it’s a one-way trail so you’re pretty much committed to doing the loop (unless you walk your bike back down).
Make it longer
You can add on a few miles by parking at the lower Skyliner Sno-Park and pedaling up Tumalo Creek. This will add about 6 miles and 350 feet of climbing. It’s a beautiful trail!
7. Deschutes River Trail From Lava Butte
The Deschutes River Trail is a stunning stretch of singletrack that follows the banks of the very scenic Deschutes River. A lot of people ride it as an out-and-back from town, but I think the best way to ride it is as a shuttle from Lava Butte. This way, you get the full experience of the trail and the best scenery (the first few miles near town aren’t actually that great).
Since I didn’t have two cars, I drove my car to the Lava Butte Visitor Center and rode the trail back to town. Then, after dropping off my bike, I grabbed an Uber to go pick up my car. The fare was about $35.
I loved every second of this ride. It’s so pretty and the trail ‘trends’ downhill, so the riding isn’t all that hard or strenuous. There are a few tricky rock gardens toward the end – closer to town – that may need to be walked.
Note: This trail is super busy during the summer tourist season, so try to either get an early morning start or hit it on a weekday. Better yet, visit in the shoulder seasons.
If you don’t have two cars and don’t want to pay for an Uber (or simply want to do a shorter ride), drive out to Dillon Falls and start your ride from there. After pedaling out to see the falls, ride the Deschutes River Trail south (through the meadow) until you reach the end of the trail at the bridge crossing. Turn it back around and ride back to your car.
This section of the Deschutes River Trail is about 8 miles round trip.
Horse Butte is very different from the Phil’s trail network, but it’s definitely worth a visit, especially if you enjoy cross-country pedaling. This loop is a 10-mile circuit with a mellow climb and a fast, flowy descent over open scrubland.
You’ll pass by the entrance of Boyd Cave, which is pretty cool. Bring locks for the bikes, a headlamp, and an extra layer if you want to go in.
Make it longer
If you want a longer ride, you’ll have to do a much longer ride. Unfortunately, there’s nothing really in between the 10-mile loop above and a 27+ mile loop at Horse Butte. If you’re up for almost 30 miles of riding, you can pedal up Swamp Wells and descend down Arnold Ice Cave.
I did this loop and it’s very scenic with some really fun stretches of downhill, but it is a big day. There is no water and the riding is quite remote, so be prepared.
Bend Mountain Bike Shuttles
During the height of summer, a lot of mountain bikers choose to shuttle the mountain bike trails in Bend, especially around the Wanoga and Swampy Lakes area. Shuttlers that start from Wangoa can enjoy a 15-20 mile ‘mostly’ downhill descent and hit some of the most popular trails like Funner, Tiddlywinks, and Tyler’s Traverse.
If you have two cars, you can shuttle yourself or Cog Wild offers daily shuttles starting from LOGE Hotel. If you’re around for a few days, they offer a 6-punch shuttle pass.
In addition to Swampy Lakes and Wanoga, Cog Wild’s other shuttle destinations include the McKenzie River Trail, Dutchman Flats on the slopes of Mt. Bachelor, and Newberry Crater farther south as well as Oakridge, Oregon.
Best Time To Ride In Bend
Bend, Oregon is a summer mountain biking destination. You can visit in the Spring or Fall, but the higher-up trails will most likely still be covered in snow.
June through September is typically prime season for mountain biking, but you may be able to ride the lower stuff as early as May and as late as October.
The website Bend Trails does a great job updating trail status.
What Gear To Pack
Here are a few items specific to mountain biking in Bend, Oregon.
Bend MTB Gear Essentials
When I visited bend last, I got caught in a hailstorm and a downpour on two separate occasions. The weather can change rapidly in Bend, especially in the shoulder seasons, so be prepared with a lightweight, water-resistant layer like the Patagonia Houdini jacket. (Men’s version here).
Bend Mountain Bike Shops, Rentals, & More
Full-Service Bike Shops & Rentals
Bend has well over a dozen bike shops that offer full-service tune-ups and repairs as well as rentals and retail items. Here are just a few:
- Sunnyside Sports (rentals, services, retail)
- Pine Mountain Sports (rentals, services, retail))
- Project Bike (rentals, services, retail)
- Hutch’s Bicycles (rentals, services, retail)
- The Hub Cyclery (rentals, services, retail)
Mountain bike tours & lessons
If you’re looking to improve your skills or head out on a guided ride while in Bend, look no further than Cog Wild. I did my Level 1 PMBIA certification with Lev – the owner of Cog Wild – and it was awesome. Their instructors know their stuff and they’re such a great (and fun!) group of people.
Cog Wild offers private 1:1 lessons as well as a progression series if you’ll be around Bend for a few weeks.
If you want to join a group ride, Pine Mountain Sports hosts group rides every other week throughout the summer. There are co-ed group rides and a women’s group ride.
I joined a co-ed ride during my most recent trip to Bend and had a blast! Riders break up into smaller groups based on skill and fitness levels.
Where To Eat & Drink In Bend
Bend is home to some amazing restaurants as well as breweries, food trucks, and other establishments serving tasty things to eat and drink. Here are a few of my favorites:
- Wild Rose Northern Thai Eats: Really good Thai food. This place is always crazy busy – reservations are a must
- Sen: A new sister restaurant to Wild Rose that has a smaller (but no less delicious) menu
- Bend Brewing: The burger is really good and I’ve been told the beer is great, too (I don’t like beer)
- Dogwood: A cozy place to get creative cocktails
- Sparrow Bakery: A really good French bakery. You can also get their stuff at Market Of Choice
- AVID Cidery: Home of really good PNW cider (I do like cider)
- Trattoria Sbandati: Upscale Italian restaurant
- The Lot: A taproom with several food carts to choose from
You honestly can’t really go wrong with good food in Bend!
Where To Stay In Bend
There is some free dispersed camping around Bend, including near Phil’s Trailhead parking area and in the Deschutes National Forest. There are no facilities here, so you need to pack everything out (including toilet paper!).
Surprisingly, there is no established camping close to town. La Pine State Forest, which is about 30 minutes south of Bend, has beautiful sites on the Deschutes River.
Tumalo State Park north of Bend also has paid camping.
If you’re riding the McKenzie River Trail, there’s lots of great camping over that way, but it is about a 1.5-hour drive from Bend.
Bend bike-friendly hotels
If you prefer a soft bed and hot shower, Bend is full of bike-friendly hotels. The LOGE Bend is conveniently located near the Phil’s network and Cog Wild is based there as well if you plan on shuttling.
LOGE also occasionally hosts movie nights, food trucks, and other events for a fun community atmosphere.
Additional resources for mountain biking in Bend
Here are a few resources to help you plan your trip:
- Bend Trails: This is an awesome website that has up-to-date info on trail conditions, closures, route recommendations, and more.
- Mountain Bike Bend: A guidebook by Bend local Katy Bryce with more route recommendations and trail beta.
What questions do you still have about Bend, Oregon mountain biking? What are your favorite trails, networks, and routes? Leave a comment below!