Open for Business: Bend Mountain Bike Trails + Gravel Rides

Open for Business: Bend Mountain Bike Trails + Gravel Rides

While it’s (thankfully) still winter up at Mt. Bachelor, the snow level continues to crawl upward from down below in Bend. Winter up top and spring down low means two of many things: Bend mountain bike trails and gravel rides are open + opening up for business. Planning a trip to Bend Oregon that involves mountain bikes and/or cyclocross rigs? This quick post will hopefully get you headed in the right direction. Consider it a kind of shove off for your first glide without training wheels on Central Oregon dirt and gravel.

Bend Mountain Bike Trails: What You Need to Know

Maybe you’re visiting Bend and excited to explore the wealth of trails we have here. Or maybe you just moved to Bend and want to wet your mountain biking whistle for the first time ever. Either way, let’s start with trail etiquette. Because people tend to forget it or are fucking clueless. And because knowing it will help keep you and other trail users safe. So: uphill riders or runners or whatevers have the right of way. Period. In fact, the folks who build and maintain our awesome Bend mountain biking trails (the Central Oregon Trail Alliance, or, COTA) created this nifty Trail Love campaign. It’s goal is to politely and concisely inform us trail users about trail etiquette. Which sometimes, admittedly, I unintentionally fuck up.

Bend mountain bike trails
COTA is all about Trail Love. Thanks, COTA.

This time of year (spring-ish), mountain bike trails in Bend are either fully open or half-covered in snow or all the way covered in snow. To stay up to date on which Bend mountain bike trails are currently open for shredding, Bend Trails is your buddy. Bend Trails offers the latest trail reports, detailed Bend trail maps, Bend trail descriptions, photos, and more. Want to know if Phil’s Trail Complex is up and running? Go to Bend Trails. What about Funner, Tyler’s, or Flagline? Go to Bend Trails. Seriously, they’ve got it going on as far as in-depth, updated Bend mountain bike trail conditions and descriptions goes.

Bend mountain bike trails Mrazek
Choose your whip and head out for a Bend mountain bike excursion.

Bend Gravel Rides

I’m not going to get into turn-by-tun detail about the Central Oregon gravel rides currently open or opening up. I will, however, offer some resources and slightly questionable insight. Mostly because, aside from the Bend mountain bike trails, gravel rides and dirt roads are two of my favorite ways to be out on a bicycle for an extended period of time. You get to travel roads you wouldn’t normally ever go on, let alone find. And you’re mostly in the woods or by a river or near some snow-covered mountains along the way. Gravel riding also happens to be popular at the moment, especially gravel riding in Oregon. So why not give you at least a little info about where to get your grind on in Bend, right?

Bend gravel rides
Chunks and washboard along the way on NF-4606, the Bend gravel ride that takes you out to Sisters.

Head to Ride Oregon for an interactive map of Oregon gravel rides (throughout the entire state). Ride Oregon currently lists three gravel rides in Bend, including Total Bull Springs. I heart this one, but definitely employ more voluminous tires because the route can get pretty chunky. At the moment, my cyclocross bike is sporting WTB’s tubeless Nano 40C tires. They’re the shit.

Total Bull Springs, or as Ride Oregon likes to call it, Total B.S., is mostly about riding NF-4606 from Bend to Sisters, and back again. Along the way, you’ll enjoy some of The Best views of Three Sisters and Broken Top. And when you get to Sisters, you can either wander around on the Peterson Ridge Trail System or shove sweet and savory things into your face over at Angeline’s. They have excellent gluten-free and vegan options. 

Oregon gravel rides
Railroad crossings in Dirt City, Oregon.

Oregon Gravel Grinders (Yes, That Means Racing)

Although it’s already come and gone, the Gorge Roubaix leg of the Oregon Gravel Grinder series is a must (plan on it for next year). I’ve worked long, hard hours with the promoter, Chad Sperry, and highly recommend his events. I also recommend him as a human being… that dude is tops. This year, Chad added a Bend gravel race called the High Desert Gravel Grinder, as well as the Mt. Hood Gravel Grinder. Both are bound to be great fun.

This August, plan to do the Ochoco Gravel Roubaix (hot and hard and stunning). For next year, also plan on the Oregon Coast Gravel Epic. This Oregon gravel race is put on by another guy who I’m quite fond of, Mike Ripley. The ride will be wet, steep, and gorgeous. I promise.

Whether exploring by way of Bend mountain bike trails or Oregon gravel rides, may the force be with you. Carry snacks and ample water. And whenever possible, take the slightly overgrown, semi-sketchy dirt side roads you happen to stumble across. It’s much more of an adventure that way.

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