If you are a mountain biker, you simply must take a trip to Oregon- there’s Ashland, Oakridge, the Mackenzie River Trail, and more than enough high quality singletrack in the Mt. Hood area. Traveling from south to north, or vise-versa, the options seem endless as the state boasts some of the most varied, fun, accessible riding anywhere. But if you only had one place to post up and spend some time, Bend is your best bet. In fact, as great as all of those other Oregon trails and locations are, Bend is easily one of the best places to ride in the lower 48.
What makes Bend such a premier mountain biking destination? If you’re willing to drive to ride, say 1.5 hours, you’ll have access to over 1,000 miles of singletrack. Not old logging roads or mining roads that take you to singletrack, just the good stuff. If you want to stay in town and ride without getting in a car there’s at least 300+ miles of singletrack that is easily accessible. On a recent visit, staying at a hotel in town, my crew was able to hop on dirt within a few minutes of riding through town as we pedaled our way throughout the day without ever having to think about racking up our car.
Several exceptional shuttle rides exist if you have a vehicle, or you can pay one of the many outfits that offer shuttle services in town. The more creative and bigger you can dream, the more terrain opens itself up in Bend for incredible link-ups. The other major part of Bend that sets it apart from the rest is the community. The trails here have largely been developed in a way that has formed community character and fostered a sincere sense of place. Bend had grown exponentially in the past few years, currently boasting a thriving population of over 80k residents. But unlike many areas where mountain bikers and mountain biking has been deemed inappropriate or a local nuisance, that’s the last vibration you will feel on a trip to Bend. Just the way many of the more popular trails are marked lend Bend to being a more user-friendly area to ride than most.
There is a ton of information out there on riding trails in and around the Bend area. And again, whether you want to huck and seek out the most technical riding, or you’re literally planning to ride for your first time, there is something out there for you in Bend. There’s lift accessed riding at Mt. Bachelor, the exceptional Phil’s network of trails, but personally, I find the trails with greatest flow-the ones that feature perfectly buffed banks to be the most standout rides (ex: Tiddlywinks). The more you ride in general, the more it becomes apparent when you’re riding a bike trail that was also made to accommodate hikers and equestrians. When you ride a trail specifically made for mountain biking, your definition of a quality trail will change for the better.
Camping is abundant in the region, with numerous hotels to choose from as well, and generally, the weather is pretty good in this high elevation desert climate. If you’re new to Bend and looking to get as much out of your riding experience as possible, plan to visit Crow’s Feet Commons. You can start your day with delicious espresso and breakfast pastries, get a map, get a bike, and get as dialed as can be for the best riding experience possible in Bend. At the end of the day, they also have several beers on tap. Actually, some people go mountain biking Bend, Oregon because it’s become one of the most celebrated craft beer destination in the U.S. Top-notch biking, AND exceptional beer. It doesn’t get much better than that.