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.
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!
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.
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.
More inspiring stories, adventures, and tips & tricks for planning and experiencing the best Central Oregon has to offer.
Central Oregon Mountain Biking Trails
Two-wheeled fun for everyone. From magazine spreads to filtered Instagram images, Central Oregon is making a name for itself in mountain biking. Consider this: More than 300 miles of linked singletrack (mountain biker talk for biking trails that are only wide enough for a single rider) is so close to town that many of the riders actually ride to the trails from town (or from Pine Mountain Sports, where a full fleet of Trek and Santa Cruz rentals are available.)
Great Getaway: Sisters, Oregon
When pulling into Sisters from the West you’re greeted by a main-street cowboy town filled with local shops, western storefronts and lots of charm. But as you reach the far end of that main street (it’s actually U.S. Hwy. 20,) something different emerges. There’s some upscale lodging, a brewpub, movie theater, and spa that gives Sisters a whole new attitude.
How to Beat the High Desert Heat
During the dog days of summer, one of your best options to beat the heat is to head up to the high lakes and splash around. But when you’re on vacation with the family sometimes all you want to do is go and relax at the pool. Luckily, Central Oregon has a handful of great places to soak up the sun in between cooling off in the water.
Central Oregon Mountain Bike Trail Guide
The Central Oregon mountain bike scene is 300 miles of diverse singletrack through high alpine forests and sagebrush dotted deserts from Madras to La Pine, Sisters to Prineville. Bulletin newspaper reporter Mark Morical has ridden just about every one of the trails you’ll find on any mountain bike trail map – and he’s written about his experience.
Pumpkin Patches + Petting Zoos = Fall Family Fun
As soon as the first hint of autumn rolls around, my three kids ask on a regular basis when we can go to the pumpkin patch. This is not simply because they’re eager to gather Halloween décor. To my kids (all under the age of 12), fall means visiting the farm and getting all the animal petting, ropes course playing and barbecue eating they can squeeze into one afternoon.
Sherar's Falls Scenic Bikeway
Oregon’s newest scenic bikeway traverses the strikingly scenic high desert canyon of north Central Oregon, known as River Canyon Country.
Winter Isn’t Only About Snow in Central Oregon
It’s true that when winter rolls around in Central Oregon, most people’s minds veer toward things to do in the snow. With Mt. Bachelor, Hoodoo, sno-parks and more, there’s plenty of options for folks to get out and play.
Central Oregon Hiking Trails
Head east on Highway 20 (Greenwood Avenue) to the Pilot Butte State Park. The parking area and trailhead are just east of the butte. Walk on either the nature trail or the paved road. The road is also for vehicle traffic, weather permitting. It is a wonderful viewpoint for the entire Bend area. This hiking trail is one of the most popular in Central Oregon.
Panacea at the Canyon: Central Oregon’s Luxury, Off-the-Grid Retreat
Central Oregon has no shortages of places to unwind. From the banks of a high-alpine lake to a trail alongside the Deschutes River, you don’t have to go very far from your hotel room to find an escape from the real world.
The Central Oregon Adventure 6-Pack
6 ADVENTURES…1 DAY….A LIFETIME OF MEMORIES. “You should do it,” they said. “Think about how cool it’d be,” they told me. “You get to do it during the work day, ya know,” they reminded me. So I said yes.