Horse to Horse
This ride has a split personality. Kind of like comparing Mr. Ed and the Black Stallion. It’s a great winter ride; summer is a different story. But we love that it’s close to town and always offers up big views. This is a simple loop that passes by Horse Butte and then circles around Horse Ridge.
Begin by riding out on China Hat road heading southeast, past Horse Butte, and slightly uphill. As China Hat transitions from paved to gravel you break out of the Ponderosa pines and onto the plains of Horse Ridge with Pine Mountain looming in the background. The route climbs over Horse Ridge via the old, abandoned section of Highway 20 and drops down to the other side via a descending single track section, a popular route for mountain biking. Note you might have a little bit of toe dabbing, push a bike through the rocky bits, but that’s no reason to skip this ride.
After a short stint on Highway 20, you can race back to the barn on quiet, slightly uphill, paved roads and a very smooth section of gravel. (Look for the buffaloes and yaks at Pine Mountain Buffalo Ranch, which is on Highway 20, a great place for carnivorous shopping, although you need to call ahead if you are stopping in.)
This route is very close to Bend, thus on a nice winter day when people are trying to get out and enjoy the area for hiking, biking, etc. expect some traffic on the gravel roads and some mountain bikers on the single track.
Ride the route in the direction mapped (counter clockwise) as the “washboard” on China Hat road will feel less severe.
The single track section can be avoided by taking Highway 20 at the intersection with Fort Rock road (~ mile 21) to the trailhead parking area for Horse Ridge. There is a good shoulder for riding.
Adventure / Gravel Route
– Loop : 38 miles / 1800 ft gain
– Surface: ~ 45% gravel, ~ 10% Roubaix (broken pavement), ~ 5% single track
– eBike Friendly: Yes (if avoid the single track section as detailed below).
– Location: Bend, OR
– Date Posted: February 2018 (updated April 2019, February 2020)
Moderate. Most of the ride is on good gravel roads with no significant climbs. However, there is one single track sector that will have you wishing you were on a mountain bike. If you came from the mountain biking world, you will have a blast, even on your gravel bike… if you are an ex-roadie, swallow your pride and walk.
When we like to ride this …
Winter is best for this ride as the traffic is less, the freeze thaw cycles keep the hard pack in place, and the lighting is incredible. Summer can have a bit more traffic, the roads can be dusty and the washboard can be harsh.
An ad hoc dirt parking lot on the west side of Billadeau road just past Faith Run Farms.
Lat / Long: 43.998412, -121.224263
Food / Water
Red = paved road
Brown = gravel / dirt road
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.