Bend has a number of super secret little paths, many of them are gravel and a few follow canal roads. So while this route isn’t in the mold of one of our classic five star rides, we recommend you give it a go. Why?
- To inspire you to leave that car at home (you will be shocked by how fast you can zip around town).
- It is a great recovery ride, very low key and mellow.
- When the weather is looking bad, and you want to ride, but also want an easy “bail out”.
- It is a great route for testing your navigation skills! Way better than being in the middle of the Ochocos where you have no phone coverage and rarely see cars!
- It is a great ride for Mom & Day to do with the kids. Some caution is advised though
The ride starts in The Old Mill near Strictly Organic coffee shop and the footbridge across the river. Ride the walking / bike path on the east side of the Deschutes river. Go slow and enjoy the views. (Little kids on bikes with streamers have right away!). After a mile or so, go under the Reed Market Bridge, wind your way through a bit of single track, and then “pop up” a hill and find your way up to a gravel canal road. (The canal is now buried below ground). The canal road will take you under Highway 97. Read more
When you reach 3rd street, you will pause and wonder why there’s no cross walk to guide you across 4 lanes of traffic. (We don’t get it either.) The trail then dodges behind a few businesses where you end up paralleling Reed Market. After you navigate through Bend’s only double roundabout (we recommend you stick to sidewalks) you continue on the Lark Spur Trail that starts at the Bend Senior Center.
This jets you over to Pilot Butte through quiet neighborhoods. The route hugs the east perimeter of Pilot Butte, cuts through a neighborhood, and then pops onto another canal road. Buzzing back toward the center of town, you wiggle through an industrial area on gravel, make a right turn onto Butler Market road, which after a little car dodging, intersects with the River Trail.
The River Tail leads you wind back to Drake Park and Mirror Pond. From here, you go by the whitewater park and rapids (maybe see big wave surf legend Gerry López) and back to the Old Mill. .
Please limit group sizes to 6 or less.
This ride can be combined with the Westside Tour route to give a ride total of 34 miles (almost all within the city limits of Bend). At mile 10.6 on Townie, go right onto the River Trail. You will be intersecting the Westside Tour route at mile marker 1.9.
Adventure / Gravel Route
– Loop : 14 miles / 500 ft gain
– Mixed route: ~ 55% gravel, 4 sectors / ~ 5% single track, 1 sector, ~30 % paved bike path, 6 sectors
– Location: Bend, Oregon
– Rideable: All year
– Route Author: Gravel Girl
– Published: October 2018
Easier. There is a short section along the river, in the beginning, that has some technical features. Walk this if need be.
Old Mill at the wooden foot bridge.
Food / Water
Water & Toilets at Larkspur Center (mile 4.7) and Pilot Butte (mile 7).
Red = paved road
Brown = gravel / dirt road
Blue = single-track
Purple = paved bike path