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Best of Central Oregon: Mountain Biking

Adventure Calls

Everyone has their own way of enjoying the outdoors. For some, it’s finding a shady spot by the lake to crack open a new book. For others it’s exploring a bucket list hiking trail. For the exceptionally adventurous, it’s mountain biking. It’s the feeling of the wind rushing against your face as you rip through the dirt and the trees. It’s the feeling of freedom as you cascade full-speed through a majestic landscape. 


Speaking of Cascade(s), Central Oregon is home to several exceptional mountain biking trails! Whether you are looking for a casual ride along the river or a high-intensity downhill escapade, Central Oregon has a trail for every mountain bike enthusiast. Read ahead to learn more about 5 of the top mountain biking trails near Bend, Oregon!

A bad day on the mountain bike always beats a good day in the office.

1. Mckenzie River Trail - Difficulty 3 out of 5

Mckenzie River Trail has been affectionately dubbed “North America’s Best Single-Track.” This 12.4-mile trail runs through a lush temperate rainforest that is guaranteed to delight any outdoor enthusiast. The best times to visit the Mckenzie River Trail are between the end of April to early September. It is best to avoid visiting this particular location during the winter months, as the snow makes accessibility very difficult. Though it is suggested to start at the very top of the trail and traverse it in its entirety, there are multiple locations where you can start from. Regardless of where you begin, you should plan on shuttling as this is a one-way trail.

2. Tiddlywinks - Difficulty 3 out of 5

Tiddlywinks Trail (along with possibly having the best trail name ever) offers something for everyone. Dubbed the “King of Variety,” Tiddlywinks mountain biking trail consists of cross-country riding, short climbs, flowy downhills, and technical riding sections. This trail is approximately 12.2 miles in distance and takes anywhere between 2.5 to 4 hours to complete. With swaths of meadows available along the path, this would be an excellent trail to bring a picnic along for a midday rest stop!

3. Whoops Loop - Difficulty 3 out of 5

Whoops Loop mountain biking trail is significantly shorter than those previously listed (3.6 miles). Still, it packs a mighty punch for any adrenaline seeker! Whoops Loop is the quintessential downhill flow trail of Central Oregon. This trail is used to seeing a higher level of traffic than others, but it’s easy to see why. A gradual climb to the top soon opens up to a downhill journey of berms and tabletops that will keep you going back for more. If you’re looking for high speeds and plenty of room to test your skills, Whoops Loop is the right place for you.

4. Smith Rock Summit Trail Loop - Difficulty 5 out of 5

Smith Rock is arguably one of the most popular destinations in Central Oregon. The incredible geology of the area is awe-inspiring. Every year, hikers, climbers, and bikers flock to this mecca of outdoor activity and beauty. This is a 7.8-mile trailer to the summit and takes approximately 1.5 – 2.5 hours to complete. The difficulty rating for this trail is in reference to how steep it is known to get in specific areas. Between the ascension angle and the loosely packed earth, many mountain bikers prefer to walk for swaths of this trail. Once you reach the summit, however, you’ll be treated to a view that makes all of the effort more than worth it. 

5. Suttle Tie and Loop Mountain Biking Trail - Difficulty 1 out of 5

Bringing it down a notch in the difficulty department, we have the stunning Suttle Tie and Loop Mountain Biking Trail. This 13.7-mile trail near Black Butte Ranch is a nice casual ride through the woods and all the way around Suttle Lake. Unlike the more intense previously listed trails, this trail is family-friendly and popular with children and cross country riders alike. The best time of year to visit this trail is late spring or early summer, as the lake draws substantial crowds during the summer months that are better to be avoided. Once reaching the lake, you’ll find a small dockside restaurant beside the lodge. This is the perfect place to grab a snack and take a break with the kids!

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