I’ve done two road trips to Bend, Oregon this year, one for a week with my wife in May and another a few weeks later by myself in June. A few thoughts:
- The trails near Bend are mostly flowy beginner / low intermediate with few rock gardens and gentle climbs. My wife loved them! I wanted a bit more technical so when I returned in June I rode the higher elevation trails that were buried in snow in May. More rocks but mostly ridable rock gardens. I don’t find the lava rocks to be as much fun as sandstone though. There are several flow trails with berms but Tiddlywinks is by far the best. Big features and long descent.
- Both Bend and Sisters are great fun to visit! Bend has 22 breweries and a few distilleries. We really enjoyed the fine dining on Wall and Bond Streets and tasty elk burgers at Deschutes Brewing. Sisters has a very good intermediate level trail system, interesting fine dining at Open Door, cozy cafes, and the the Euro Sport bike shop has local brews on tap in the mechanic shop!
- There are a LOT of trails and loops. However, the lodge pole pines get a bit boring as they are often the only view. Higher elevation trails near Mt. Bachelor have some terrific views of the volcanoes and the Deschutes River Trail is a scenic gem.
- I rode nearby Oakridge a couple of times. I’m not excited about hanging on the brakes for long descents. Two good shuttle companies available. Mostly upper intermediate level. It was OK but not my thing. Enjoyed the town and meeting folks though. We upgraded our XT brakes at the bike shop and that went well. You’ll need the better brakes to ride Oakridge and probably Mt Ashland which is also a shuttle served big descent destination.
We will return to Bend. Fun trails, people, town, and a great bike culture. Not an expensive place to visit and I park in the forest for free. Go for a swim in the river to clean up. Toilets at major trailheads. Some nice state parks to camp at but a lack of Forest Service camps close to the trails. Better camping is out at the lakes. Cheap motels available, especially compared to Moab and Hurricane.