5 Star Route / Published September 2017
This is a 5 Star Route, meaning that it is a highly curated, premier riding route.
The West Side Tour is just that …. A quick tour of Bend’s Westside. It’s a lot more urban than we normally ride, but we’ve tossed in enough forest roads to make it an honest gravel route.
What we love about his route is that it is chocked full of Bend history, culture, and heritage and has some amazing river and mountain views. There are kiosks for the first schoolhouse in Bend, the history of the irrigation dams, some old logging and mill implements, and a number of pieces of art and sculpture.
Adventure / Gravel Route
– Loop: 25 miles / 1400 ft gain
– Surface: ~ 40% gravel, 10% single-track, 20% paved bike path, 30% paved road
– Technical Difficulty: Easier
– Tire Size (recommended minimum): ~ 40 mm tires
– eBike Friendly: No
– Location: Bend, OR
When we like to ride this …
This is a go to route for us Bend locals. It 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).
And if the weather is touch and go, this is a perfect route. It is really easy to bail out and be back to town in a flash.
Terrain & Riding: What to expect …
The route is fun, close to town, relatively flat, and a mix of paths, trails and road. Expect to encounter others on the trails, remember to give way. The terrain is a mix of urban and national forest, with a number of scenic river and mountain views.
Highlights & Anchor Points
Drake Park / ~ The Start
You start out in downtown Bend, in the historic Drake Park. You then pass by First Street Rapids and take the River Trail around Awbrey Butte with nice views of the mountains. When the River Trail ends, you will take paved roads up the backside of Awbrey Butte and head out to Shevlin Park.
Shevlin Park to Phill’s Trails / ~ mile 8.9
Then you meander through Shevlin Park and then on a few paved roads to reach Skyliners Road and then over to Phil’s Trailhead Parking Area (which is the start of an extensive mountain biking area). Here you are on gravel roads that will loop you to Century Drive.
Back to Town / ~ mile 18.5
You then catch the bike path back towards town, which winds you into a gravel road, paralleling Century Drive. You will drop down into the Old Mill District and follow the Deschutes River, then slice through a historic neighborhood to take you back to Drake Park.
Technical Difficulty[what this means]
- Riding Difficulty: Easier
There are a couple of short single-track segments that are rated mountain bike easy.
- Navigation: Challenging
There are a number of turns along the route, and it is easy to miss a turn, but it also easy to correct the mistake. This is a great course to test and refine your navigation skills.
- Locale: Urban Forest
This ride is mostly within the city limits.
Food & Water
~ mile 0, downtown Bend.
~ mile 20.5, the cafe at the Loge Bend.
~ mile 24, the Old Mill.
- March 2022 / Updated for Gravel Adventure Field Guide.
- July 2021 / Put route guide into new tabbed / multi-media format.
- January 2020 / Added pictures, added to route description.
- September 2017 / Original Post as 5 Star route.
Love Where You Ride!
We encourage you to stop and see the many pieces of art and sculpture along this ride. For a sample, see the photos at the end of slide deck to left.
To learn more about public art in Bend, check out Art in Public Places.