5 Star Route / Ridden and Reviewed by Gravel Girl & Captain ‘O

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This is one of our favorite routes to ride in the fall – the colors are in full show and the roads firm up with the moisture and colder nights. 

The route crosses Tumalo Creek, climbs through the Two Bulls burn, parallels one of the old Tumalo canals, makes a “U” at Tumalo Falls, descends 3 miles of the Tumalo Creek Trail, and meanders through the Deschutes National Forest thinning project (a healthy beautiful forest now!).

We recommend this route as a fall or spring route, not a summertime route. The colors are best in the spring and fall and the road conditions are much better, firm with the moisture and cool evenings.

**Adventure / Gravel Route
– Loop: 36 miles / 2200 ft gain
– Surface: ~ 80% gravel, 10% single track, 10% tarmac
– Course by: Gravel Girl
– Best Ridden: Spring or Fall (not summer)
– Location: Bend, OR
– Date Posted: September 2017 (updated July 2018)

Intermediate. Some rough gravel in the beginning (~ 4 miles), some single track (~ 3 miles), and some “mud ruts”.

**The Start
Phil’s Trailhead parking area.

**Food / Water

Cue Sheet / TCX File

Black = paved road
Brown = gravel / dirt road / double-track
Blue = single-track

For help with Ride, GPS files, etc see the “Help with …” page.

  • James says:

    Rode 11/1/20. Agree with the above, still some areas of loose gravel but overall well worth it. Definitely 5 star!

  • gregory j scott says:

    Rode on 11/01/20 cool route, the single track is in pretty good shape, some of the dirt and gravel double track is in need of a bit of rain. the bridge crossing Tumalo creek on the single track (coming back from Tumalo falls, mile 18.5 ish I think ) is out but there’s a makeshift crossing a few feet upstream.

    • Kevin / Co-Founder @ Dirty Freehub says:

      Thanks for the route report. This really helps out other riders. Ride Dirty and Smile!

  • Chip Richardson says:

    Rode Oct 28. Awesome route with great climbing and descending!! A few ‘dust-puddles’ but overall good traction!

    • Kevin / Co-Founder @ Dirty Freehub says:

      Thanks for the route conditions update! This kind of feedback really helps out other rides and is what makes the site great!

  • Jamie says:

    Big Red felt real breezy compared to this! This was a jump for me, but I made it. Such a fun route though. Took the road from the falls since the trail is closed, then hopped back onto the route after a few short miles. Thanks!

  • Aaron says:

    Rode this with my wife today. Route was well documented and easy to follow on my Garmin. Bumped into Sam from Dirty Free Hub early on and we thank him for the trail marker arrows. Well, up until the Tumalo Creek Trail everything was going great but C.O.T.A. was rebuilding the second bridge so the trail was closed. After that we couldnt get our Garmin to reroute so we ended up on Skyliners Trail and took that down. Great route!

    Thanks Dirty Free Hub!


    • Kevin / Co-Founder @ Dirty Freehub says:

      Thanks for the comment! Getting Garmins and Wahoos to re-route effectively with gravel roads is really difficult. I have turned off the re-route feature on my device and use Gaia app on the phone to manually re-route.

  • Jordan says:

    Highly recommend against riding this route until some rain falls. Sand pits everywhere

    • Kevin / Co-Founder @ Dirty Freehub says:

      Yep!! This fall and summer have been so dry that many of the routes in and near Bend have a lot of moon dust. The riding out of Oakridge, Dufur / Maupin and the Ochocos is still really good!!

  • Rode this route on 9/5/2020. Great route. The moon dust and sand is no joke. The single track is outstanding.

  • Sam says:

    Rode this today, glorious still and not too much moon dust. Thanks for building the route!

  • Kent says:

    I rode this entire loop on Sunday July 20th and thought it was outstanding. Had no problem with my 35mm tires. A lot of people at Tumalo Falls but other than that had the roads to myself. Thanks for posting these rides! Really appreciate it!

  • Tyson R. says:

    Rode on Wednesday 6/24 — amazing loop if you’re only able to do one ride while in Bend. Long, mellow climb through various landscapes to the falls, super fun and flowy single track scattered throughout the second half. We had to dodge some sand monsters, particularly in the second half of the ride, but nothing too bad. Thanks for the resource!!

  • Phil DL M says:

    I rode this today. Thanks for the route! It was incredible. Everything was perfect. No snow, no moondust, just perfect.

  • Anonymous says:

    I encountered a 150 foot snow/ice/mud patch at about mile 10. I hiked through it. I then encountered many more snow/ice/mud patches from mile 14 to the gray gravel road named Bear Wallow (about 2 miles). Some of these small patches were rideable, some I dabbed with one foot unclipped, and others I walked through. I descended down Skyliners on pavement all the way back. It looked too snowy / muddy to go on the Phil’s Trails forest road section.

  • Kim says:

    So good today. Miles and miles of tacky roads and trails. Aside from a little bit of sand in Phils, it’s pretty much perfect.

    • KevinE says:

      Thanks for the feedback; glad you enjoyed the ride. I know that route well, I know exactly where you are talking about w the sand. Gravel Girl

  • Chairman says:

    Riding really well if you don’t mind a bit of sand and loose gravel here and there. No moondust. But don’t take the little gated side road that angles left off of the road to Tumalo Falls unless you want to wait across (what I assume is) a beaver pond.

  • Gravel Girl says:

    Leaves are amazing: but 1 mile of moon dust from hell. Doable, but dusty …

  • KevinE says:

    Ahh, just rode this. It is getting a lot of moon dust. Best to wait now until fall – needs some rain with some over night freeze / thaw cycles. Best riding time for this course is spring and fall.

  • KevinE says:

    Riding great … and should be riding great until the snow falls. Colors are just beginning.

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