Quick & Dirty
Note: This is Training Route, a good local ride, but not a destination route.
This is a ride that all Bend cyclocross and adventure riders should have in their quiver of rides. It is a great route, close to town, scenic, and can be done in about 2 hours. For those visiting Bend with limited time, we would suggest the Water and Lava or the West Side Tour routes as better choices.
The ride will take you into the Skyline Forest, through the Two Bulls fire area and along the back and east side of Shevlin park. There are two short sections of the ride that can be challenging: a section of deep dust / sand ( ~ 150 yards) and a section with larger rocks (golf ball sized) in the road as you descend to the crossing of Shevlin creek (about .2 miles in length). The route starts in Shevlin Park which means right off the bat, you have a climb. Most people will just ride it from town, tacking on the extra couple of miles.
Adventure / Gravel Route
Terrain & Technical Riding Difficulty[what this means]
There are two short sections of the ride that can be challenging: a section of deep dust / sand ( ~ 150 yards) and a section with larger rocks (golf ball sized) in the road as you descend to the crossing of Shevlin creek (about .2 miles in length).
When we like to ride this …
Mid-spring thru early summer. Also, late fall, after several freeze thaw cycles to re-capture moisture in the ground.
This route is a no-go in early spring, it is north facing with little direct sunlight. It tends to hold water and can be a thick, muddy mess. Also, avoid the route during late summer when the moon dust dominates.
Lastly, this section of Skyline Forest is closed to access December 1 to March 15 for winter wildlife migration.
At the Shevlin Commons public parking area, just off Skyliner road.
Lat / Long: 44.079753, -121.369591
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.
Food & Water
Recommend 40 mm tires.
As you turn onto Bull Springs road at mile 0.5 there is a sign that states “no bicycles Monday through Friday”. We have checked with Deschutes County and the road is a public use road and bicycle access is not limited. Unfortunately, this sign is on private property and the county does not have jurisdiction to remove it. However, we strongly suggest that you ride single file on Bull Springs road due to the truck traffic.
This route accesses a major section of private property called Skyline Forest. In October of 2020, we held a Zoom conference with Brad Chalfant, the Executive Director of the Deschutes Land Trust, to learn more about the land and on-going conservation efforts. To get involved with time, talent or money, contact the Deschutes Land Trust.
Summary of what we learned in Zoom Meeting with BradC.
The Skyline Forest (or sometimes referred to as the Bull Springs Tree Farm) is an ~33,000 acre of private property commonly mistaken as public property. It lies to the northwest of Bend and is bounded by National Forest and smaller private property tracts. It is roughly bounded by the Brooks Scanlon Haul road on the east, Skyliners Road on the south, and Three Creeks road on the north. The western boundary is of Skyline Forest is National Forest.
Skyline Forest is an important piece of property. It provides access to National Forest lands, is a prime recreation area for cyclists, hikers, and others, and is a winter migration area for deer and elk.
Currently, Skyline Forest is privately owned and managed via the Shanda Asset Management group. Shanda has continued to allow access to the lands for recreational use. However, they have recently posted the forest as “closed to motor vehicles.”
The Skyline Forest is also an important winter range migration area and closed to recreational usage from December 1 to March 31.
As gravel cyclists (and recreationalists), we should have a very strong interest in maintaining the forest for public access. The following routes posted on Dirty Freehub access large sections of Skyline Forest. They include:
Here is what we can do:
- Be cognizant that Skyline Forest is private land and know the general boundaries of the forest.
- Advocate for preservation and proper use of the forest in alignment with the current property owner’s desires. Advocacy can include talking with our friends about the history, ownership, usage, and importance (wildlife migration, recreation, land preservation) of the forest.
- Be a second set of eyes and ears for the Forest Manager of Skyline Forest. That is, report unusual or hazardous activities to the local authorities.
- Stay out of the forest during the winter range closure of December 1 to March 31.
- Keep up to date with the latest information regarding the forest. One way to do this is to follow the Deschutes Land Trust on Facebook and Instagram and subscribe to their newsletter.
- March 2021 / Put route guide into new format with tabs. Change classification to Training route.
- October 2020 / Added Skyline Forest information and restrictions on usage.
- September 2018 / Added information about the truck traffic and signage on Bull Springs road.
- November 2016 / Original Post as a 5 Star route.