Discovery

5 Star Route

Note: This is a 5 Star Route, meaning that it is a highly curated, premier riding route.

This route has some of the sweetest gravel bike single track in the entire Central Oregon area. It is fast, flowy, and fun. Rippin’ through the trees, dropbar corners, and elves!

Yep, you get to ride that special single-track trail where a zillion little elves and gnomes peer out at you. See how many you find! We have a prize for the person who gets the count spot on.

We really like this ride for a quick go after work. It is close to town, has little car traffic, and has numerous bail-out points if the weather goes bad. A majority of the single-track is one-way, so the need to check your speed is not so much.

For this ride, the moniker “Ride Dirty & Smile” really fits.

Adventure / Gravel Route

Loop: 17 miles / 1000 ft gain
– Surface: ~ 25% gravel / double-track, 60% single-track, 15% paved multi-use path
eBike Friendly: No
– Location: Bend, OR
– Published: April 2021

Terrain & Technical Riding Difficulty[what this means]

Moderate

A significant portion of this ride is on mountain bike single track. It is rated easy to easy-intermediate. There may be a few spots where the average rider will touch a foot to the ground or walk 10 yards.

This route is close in to town, so expect to see other riders.

When we like to ride this …

Mid-spring thru late fall. Spring and fall conditions are best, the ground is still retaining moisture, and the trails are tacky, giving good grip. In summer, the dirt can take on the texture of moon dust, making for loose corners.

The Start

Discovery Park pavillion. Flush toilets and water nearby. On-street parking.
Lat / Long: 44.062032, -121.359871

Legend

Red = paved road
Brown = gravel / dirt road or double-track
Blue = single track
Purple = paved bike path / roubaix

For help with GPS files, the RideWithGPs mapping app and to learn how to download our routes for free, see the “Using Our Rides” page.


Ride Details

Miles 0 to 3 / The Lead Out / Paved Road and Bike Path, Gravel Double-Track

From Discovery Park, the route goes paved side street, to multi-use paved path, to the Cascade Highlands connector where the fun begins. This is a wide gravel / dirt path that is zippy fun and easy riding. Be careful, as there are others on the path as well.

At mile 2.4, the path ends and T’s into an old paved road. Go left. In short segments: paved leads to gravel road which leads to Marvin’s Garden single track.

Miles 3 to 11.8 / Phil’s Trails / Single-track

The next 8.5 miles are on the Phil’s network of single-track trails. Fun, fast and flowy. A great gravel bike experience and, as Gravel Girl would say, “a sneaky way” to work those technical gravel skills.

The route: Marvin’s Garden to ELV to Lower Phils to Bens. By connecting the trails in this sequence, you have a bit of up, a bit of down, and a bit more of up. It is all rated mountain bike easy to easy-intermediate and completely rideable on a gravel bike. There are a few short technical sections with a bit of rock. It is absolutely ok to put a foot down or walk the 10 yards.

Along the ELV section, look for the elves / gnomes along the trail. How many did you find? There are way more than 10! And … what is the difference between an elf and a gnome?

At mile 9.5, you return to the Phil’s parking area. There is a pit toilet here. Pit stop if necessary!

Hop on Ben’s and begin the gradual climb uphill to forest service road 4610: 300+ feet in 2.5 miles, average gradient 2.5%.

Miles 11.8 to Finish / The Connectors / Single-track, Gravel Road, Paved Bike Path

At 4610, cross Skyliners road, go left a short distance on Skyliners (no more than 50 yards), then cut back, right, into the forest on a single track trail.

The next 5 miles use short segments of many different trails and paths to make a great gravel riding connection back to Discovery Park. There are several tricky and easy-to-miss turns in this segment; thus, we have provided a bit more detail than that given above.

The single-track trail dives down into a small canyon through manzanita bush. This is all Deschutes National Forest Lands. Near the end of the single-track there will be a wooden fence to your left.

Pop out onto a paved road, go left. In ~ 100 yards, go right onto an old decommissioned forest service road, signed 4606-300. This short section of single-track will bring you to the Brooks-Scanlon Haul road, just before the moon dust bowl bit. Use some caution through this section; who knows what lies beneath all that dust.

In ~ 0.5 miles, catch the last bit of single-track for the day. We call this the Nordic Sue connector, named for Sue of Mt. Bachelor, who showed this to us a while ago. This is an easy turn to miss!

In a short distance, the trail reconnects with the Brooks-Scanlon Haul road, go right, uphill. In ~ 50 yards, connect to the double-track Western Larch trail leading through Shevlin Park. At mile 14.3, there is an S-turn to execute. Go right, descend, go left, ascend. At the top of the ascent, go right onto the Outback trail; it climbs upwards in a straight line at 8%. This is the most demanding climb of the day.

At the top, still on the Outback Trail, go right. In 0.5 miles, at the t-intersection, go left. The trail descends and connects with a paved path. This section is within the Miller Tree Farm development, private property with public access granted to trail users. Please use the bike path, not the road.

Near the entrance to Miller Tree Farm from Skyliners road, the obvious choice is to take the hard 90 degree right and continue on the paved path. Do not. Go across the entrance road and look for a dirt trail slightly to your left. Take it. From here, follow the trail back to Discovery Park. Please temper your speed along this section as it is a multi-use trail. And please give way to families and small kids.

Back at the pavilion, begin the discussion of where to get an after-ride coffee. Thump Coffee or Sparrow Bakery?

Food & Water

None.

Ride Notes

40 mm tires or larger.

For current single-track trail conditions, see the Bend Trails page. (They do a bang-up job with trail conditions!)

Many of the trails along the route are multi-use. Walkers, those with little kids, etc., have priority. Be courteous. Stop and put a foot down if need be. Do not ride off the side of the trail as this widens single-track into double track. A no-no! Also, uphill riders have the right of way. Downhill riders must give way. In general, if you are heading east towards the parking lot, you are going downhill.

Ridden and Reviewed by …

Gravel Girl / Team Dirty Freehub

She loves a good day of gravel like most people like a good book. She’s always amused by the outdoors and the wild adventures. Gravel Girl is a Co-Founder of Dirty Freehub.

Captain O / Team Dirty Freehub

He should have “Never Stop Exploring” tattooed on his chest! He loves adventures on bikes and is a Co-Founder of Dirty Freehub.

Comments

Revision History

Get Involved!

A majority of the trails on this route were built and are currently maintained by the Central Oregon Tails Alliance. We encourage you to learn more about their work and to advocate, volunteer or donate.


Video Tease

Scroll to Top