5 Star Route

This is a 5 Star Route, meaning that it is a highly curated, premier riding route.

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 Ochoco National Forest where you have no phone coverage and rarely see cars!
  • It is a great ride for Mom & Dad to do with the kids. Some caution is advised though.

Adventure / Gravel Route

Loop: 14 miles / 500 ft gain
– Surface: ~ 50% gravel / double track, 50% single track
eBike Friendly: Yes
– Location: Bend, Oregon
– Published: October 2018 (updated October 2020)

Terrain & Technical Riding Difficulty[what this means]

Easier. There is a short section along the river, in the beginning, that has some technical features. Walk this if need be.

When we like to ride this …

This route goes most of the year, except when we there is snow in town. We like this route outside of tourist season. If done during the summer, and early start is recommended (prior to 8 am).

The Start

Old Mill at the wooden foot bridge.

Lat/Long: 44.045096, -121.316069


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

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.

Ride Details

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.

When you reach 3rd street, there’s a new cross walk to guide you across 4 lanes of traffic..  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.

Food & Water

Water & Toilets at Larkspur Center (mile 4.7) and Pilot Butte (mile 7).

Ride Notes

~ 40 mm tires are about right for this course.

Ride Options

Longer Option – 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.

Ridden and Reviewed by …

Gravel Girl / Team Dirty Freehub

She loves a good day of gravel, like most people like a good book. She’s always amused by the outdoors and the wild adventures. Gravel Girl is a Co-Founder of Dirty Freehub.

Captain O / Team Dirty Freehub

He should have “Never Stop Exploring” tattooed on his chest! He loves adventures on bikes and is a Co-Founder of Dirty Freehub.


Revision History

  • Sept 2021 / Put route guide into new tabbed / multi-media format.

Get Involved!

The Ride!

Coming soon…


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