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.
The Ultimate Guide to Pumpkin Patches in Terrebonne, Oregon
Nothing signals the coming of fall quite like spending the day at a pumpkin patch. It’s tough to not feel the cozy spirit of the season when you’re solving a festive corn maze while bundled up and sipping a hot apple cider. Pumpkin patches in Central Oregon benefit from our desert climate and still get plenty of sunshine, even in late October. While smaller family farms all around the region will sometimes host fall events, the two most popular pumpkin patches both reside in Terrebonne: the Smith Rock Pumpkin Patch and the DD Ranch Pumpkin Patch.
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.
Casual Family Weekend in Sunriver
Imagine this: you’re riding your bike through a rolling meadow, the Cascade mountain range in the background, and the only sound is from the whir of a prop plane taking off against a crisp blue sky. Up ahead, your children pull carrots from their pockets and present them to a gathering of friendly horses in an adjacent pasture.
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.
Photographer Shares Insights on Iconic Smith Rock Eclipse Image
Days of planning. Hours of climbing. One minute of perfection. How a small team of athletes and photographers pulled off the most iconic image of Eclipse 2017.
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.
Cascade Lakes Scenic Byway: Pull Off For a Central Oregon Adventure
The Cascade Lakes Scenic byway is one of the prettiest drives in the U.S. But it might be the most recreationally rich road you’ll ever drive too. From Bend southwest to the Highway 58 junction, the Oregon Route 372 cuts through 66 miles unique volcanic formations and geological beauty that offers everything that makes Central Oregon an outdoor lover’s paradise.
Scenic Bikeways Showcase Central Oregon’s Backroad Beauty
Oregon’s official scenic bikeways are the first of their kind in the U.S – and Central Oregon is home to 6 of the state’s 11 most beautiful bike routes. An absolute summer must for road cyclists are riding the best of the best – our scenic bikeways. Every rider can find a ride to suit their style and mood, from family-friendly to adventurous.
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.