When winter comes and the snow falls, some of Central Oregon’s popular mountain biking trails become a little too muddy to ride – which means some of the unheralded spots in the region get a little more love. Places like Smith Rock can get scorching hot (and quite crowded) in the summer making it a great spot to head come winter. Want some good locals tips on where to ride? Ask the folks at Hutch’s Bicycles, Pine Mountain Sports or The Hub Cyclery for the 4-1-1, or set up a tour with Cog Wild Mountain Bike Tours and Shuttles.
Smith Rock/Gray Butte
22 Miles from Bend in Terrebonne | Technically Intermediate/aerobically strenuous | Distances vary but expect about 12 miles
This might be one of the more scenic rides in Central Oregon and it’s best ridden in the fall when temps are much cooler and the dirt is a little tackier. You’ll need a $5 Oregon State Parks pass to park in Smith Rock’s lots. You can do this ride in both directions, but it’s best to do the Burma Trail Loop at Smith Rock counterclockwise. For more loops in the area and and to read a full trail report read this story from The Bulletin.
You can also read more on mountain biking Smith Rock and see what the views look like in this video.
9 miles SE of Bend | Technically intermediate/moderately aerobic | 12 to 30-mile loops
This is a very popular go-to ride for locals during the winter due to its proximity to town and perfect dirt conditions. It’s roughy 9 miles from the center of town to the trailhead but once you’re out on the trail you will feel a world away. Expansive views of the area dominate this trail that runs through sagebrush and lava rocks. Don’t forget to stop and check out the Arnold Ice Cave during your ride! To see a video and read a full trail report, read this story from The Bulletin.
15 miles east of Bend off HWY 20 | Technically advanced/moderately aerobic | 10 to 15 mile-loops and out and backs
Another go-to spot for winter riding in the winter, Horse Ridge is for riders with a little more experience on rocky terrain. The lava rocks here can be unforgiving, but the singletrack is well worth the adventure. Expect more expansive views of the area from Horse Ridge. To read a full trail report, read this story from The Bulletin.
Redmond |Technically intermediate to advanced/aerobically easy to moderate | 10 miles of trails (more being built each season)
This is another somewhat rugged network of trails, but it’s a great place to ride in the winter because it rarely sees snow. Riders laud the variety of the trails out here – you’ll experience smooth singletrack and jagged lava rock outcroppings. Go prepared – it’s always better to think you’re going to flat than to flat and not have the tools to fix it. For a full trail report, read this story from The Bulletin.
You can read more on year-round trails in this story from The Bulletin.