As someone who learned to mountain bike on the rock and cactus lined trails of the Sonoran Desert, riding smooth single track around pines in the High Desert of Bend, Oregon is a dream. Beginners can find easy, entry level trails that deliver just the right amount of fun and flow while advanced riders, including pro-athletes, can find technical climbs, jumps and plenty of big rocks.
Bend has some of the best mountain biking trails in Oregon, adding to the city’s appeal as a top outdoor recreation destination. In Central Oregon you can discover world-class singletrack.
Before you start any trail check out the signage, some trails are directional.
Where are the best places to mountain bike in Bend, Oregon?
Phil’s Trail Complex
As one of the most popular mountain biking trailheads in the Pacific Northwest, the complex offers a wide range of trails, many perfect for beginners like Ben’s, Marvin’s Garden, and Kent’s, that connect to more difficult trails if riders want more of a challenge. This makes Phil’s a great introduction to mountain biking in Bend as well as a fantastic place to learn how to ride. The trails weave through forest of manzanita bushes and Ponderosa pine. If you love to jump, or want to practice your jumping skills, start on Marvin’s Garden from Phil’s parking lot and head to The Lair, a progression park featuring everything from three-foot beginner jumps to 20-foot brutes.
If you are into “pumping” as you ride don’t miss the pump track circuit adjacent to the parking lot.
Deschutes River Trail
With breathtaking Central Oregon scenery and a mostly easy rolling trail overlooking the Deschutes River, the Deschutes River Trail is a rewarding mountain bike ride. The 24 mile out and back trail can be accessed from a variety of locations and continues through pines, lava rock and meadows all the way to Sunriver. It’s easy to find your flow but it’s a very popular trail so plan on running into hikers, or horses, even though the trail is split into three trails (bikers, hikers and horses) that mingle together.
If you visit the DRT in the summer take plenty of water and start earlier into the day because it can get very hot and the trail is mostly exposed with little to no shade. That being said, you can find a few swimming holes to cool off.
Tumalo Ridge Trail
Running from the Skyliner trailhead to the Swede Ridge shelter, the Tumalo Ridge Trail is for intermediate to advanced riders. There’s not a lot of technical parts to the trail but it is a steep climb from the very beginning. After about 2 miles you crest the top of the climb and then head up an old logging road to a snow shelter. From there you can branch off to other trails like Swede Ridge or my favorite: Sector 16. If you head up Swede Ridge you can dive down the super fun and fast South Fork section which is a popular ride for shuttlers.
If you are a beginner and still want to ride the area start at Skyliner Sno Park and take the Tumalo Creek trail. This easy trails winds through forest hugging Tumalo Creek and ends at the Tumalo Falls parking lot. This out and back with great views is around six miles.
Mt. Bachelor Bike Park
Lift served with access to over 13 miles of downhill trails, Oregon’s premier downhill mountain bike park was built for thrill seekers who want to bomb down a volcano. The park has an area for beginners off the Little Pine lift. Seasoned riders will take the Pine Marten Express to access intermediate or black diamond trails.
In 2019 the Redline, an advanced jump line trail, was added to the park with berm jumps, rollers and table tops made specifically for adrenaline junkies.
Various bike park passes are available at Mt. Bachelor, and if you didn’t bring your bike rentals are available.
Mountain Biking Trail Etiquette in Bend, Oregon
Mountain bikers coming downhill always yield to those climbing up. All mountain bikers yield to horseback riders and hikers. This means as you approach others slow down and alert them that you’ll be passing. A bike bell is super handy but you can easily say, “on your left,” then pass. When traveling with a group of riders it’s courteous to let those you pass know how many are in your group. For example if you say, “three riders behind me,” once the third rider passes, the pedestrians will know they can get back on the trail and not have to worry about another rider coming up.