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.

  • 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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