A vertical paradise, with all the trimmings
The advent of lift-assisted, vertical bike parks has changed the game for mountain biking. Think about it: You’re looking at the side of a mountain that already has all the infrastructure, facilities and terrain you need, thinking, “What’s the most possible fun we could have here?” Then you build it to fit your vision.
Mt. Bachelor Bike Park opened in 2019, and they built it right. The planning that went into this park is evident, from the full-scale support operation to the carefully engineered trails built for maximum enjoyment for all levels of riders. It’s an absolute playground.
Take your pick of more than a dozen miles of trails – there are two beginner trails, six intermediate, four black-diamond advanced… and one double-black-diamond. Whatever you’re looking for, from a pleasant glide to a white-knuckle freakout, you’ll find here. Some trails are machine-built, wide tracks giving plenty of room for error, and some are classic single-track. There are two lifts – the Sunshine Accelerator for the beginner routes and a couple intermediate trails, and the Pine Marten Express for the rest. You can mix up your route every time you step off the lift, or you can repeat the same run until you get it just right.
As an example of the more challenging runs, the Redline Trail (black-diamond) was put together by a team including local trail-building experts Dirt Mechanics, pro rider Kyle Jameson and the bike park’s own crew. It’s a flowy masterpiece – pedaling is barely a consideration as you swoop, slide and fly down and over a gauntlet of berm jumps, rollers and tabletops. Check out a video about the trail and its creation here to get a taste of what you can enjoy.
Whatever trail you’re riding, expect an exhilarating sense of place – winding trails, banked wooden curves and smooth rollers as you hurtle through the piney forest, occasionally breaking out into the open of a ski-run clearing to get a glimpse of the snowy peaks and high-desert landscapes surrounding you.
One thing’s for sure: you’ll have plenty of resources. There’s a bike-rental shop on-site that carries a wide variety of bike types (you can take off the many public trails in the area, besides the bike park), a retail store for any gear needs, and a mechanic shop for tuning and repairs, too.
Tickets come in several options, from daily tickets to a three-day version, or season passes. There’s a special deal on a pass to just the Sunshine area of easier trails, to build up your skills over multiple days of riding. The season pass offers two free days at sister parks Mt. Hood Bike Park, Whitefish (MT) Bike Park and Schweitzer Mountain Resort (ID) as well. There are also week-long Gravity Bike Camps for kids, plus private lessons and riding clinics for grown-ups throughout the summer.
Of course, a long day of shredding builds up an appetite and a thirst – so after you’ve checked out the offerings at the mountain, think about heading down to town to partake some more. Bend has a bodaciously big number of casual restaurants, cafes and food carts – not to mention more breweries than you can count on both hands. Some food favorites include Parrilla Grill for wraps; Primal Cuts for meats, fine foods and casual plates; El Sancho for an impressive variety of tacos and more; Jackson’s Corner for fresh local fare including gourmet pizzas; Wild Rose for savory Thai; Spork for inventive omnivore and vegetarian dishes; Chow for great hearty breakfasts… just to mention a few. On the beverage side (and in most cases these offer good food choices as well), try Crux Fermentation Project, the Boneyard, Silver Moon Brewing or the Ale Apothecary. There’s also McMenamins Old St. Francis School in the heart of town, to combine food, beer, lodging and a movie, all in one spot.
June through September/early October, depending on seasonal weather.