Oregon Badlands Hike, Horse Ridge MTB: Get Your Spring On

Oregon Badlands Hike, Horse Ridge MTB: Get Your Spring On

Every season offers a plethora of things to do in Bend, and spring is no exception. An Oregon Badlands hike or trail run is one of those many things and spring is about a sweet a time as any to do either. Below you’ll find some legit secondhand info on doing an Oregon Badlands hike, as well as some firsthand knowledge about Horse Ridge mountain biking across the street.

Oregon Badlands Hike, Trail Run, Or Vision Quest

The Oregon Badlands Wilderness is 29K acres of sage brush, scrub pine, lichen, basalt ridges, and high desert. Located within 20 minutes of Bend, a Badlands hike or trail run is easy to get to. It’s also more about peaceful high-desert meandering than sweeping views or epic sights. Whether hiking the Badlands with the family, trail running it solo, or downing Peyote and embarking on a Vision Quest, make sure you take Lucas Alberg’s Trail Running Bend and Central Oregon guide. This Bend trail running guide offers detailed directions, tips, and maps to help you not get lost out there. Less detailed but also useful is this Badlands map. Tripping your head off or not, be sure to have something to guide you other than your internal compass.

While I admittedly have not done a Badlands hike or trail run YET, I know people who have and they rave about it. What I’ve been told about Oregon Badlands hiking is that it’s quiet once you get past the trailhead, and all about solitude and austerity. For information on other spring hikes in Bend, check out Central Oregon Springs Hikes or Catrina’s post on the famous Tumalo Falls hike. Also, please don’t litter when you’re out there. Thanks.

Horse Ridge Mountain Biking In Spring

Across the street from your Oregon Badlands hike is one of the best locations for early spring mountain biking in Bend: Horse Ridge. While some of the lower Bend trails (Phil’s Trail Complex) open up in spring depending on the snowpack, where you want to go for Bend spring mountain biking is Horse Ridge. It gets far too sandy out at Horse Ridge in the summer, so late-winter and spring are your Horse Ridge riding windows. I think it’s a similar window for doing an Oregon Badlands hike. Doable come summer, but shit gets sandy out there. 

on the way to Oregon Badlands hike
Squishing rainbows on the way to Horse Ridge.

The Oregon Badlands and Horse Ridge Trailheads rest on either side of Highway 20, about 3.5 miles from one another and less than 20 miles from downtown Bend. Ostensibly, you could do a Badlands hike and lay it down on some Horse Ridge singletrack, all in one day. Same as doing an Oregon Badlands hike, you’ll want a Horse Ridge map to help keep you mostly on track. While potentially a good idea for your Oregon Badlands hike, psychedelics are not advisable for a day of Horse Ridge mountain biking. 

Moving to Bend? You’ll want to make the Oregon Badlands hike and/or Horse Ridge mountain biking a winter/spring staple for getting outside. To stay up to date on other awesome things to do in Bend, all year long, join our mailing list.  You’ll only receive emails from us about cool Bend shit. Promise.

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