North American Bike Park Review Tour
MT. BACHELOR BIKE PARK
After a long a grueling summer on the road, our first season of the Bike Park Review Tour is done. Our eleventh and final stop was our home mountain, Mt. Bachelor. Up the road about 25 miles from Bend, Oregon, Mt. Bachelor is a unique mountain as it’s sits on the border of a Wilderness boundary in the Deschutes National Forest and offers some incredible views from the top of its volcanic summit. Having only been open for a few years, the Mt. Bachelor Bike Park has been working hard to catch up to the other stellar offerings the West Coast has to offer. Mt. Bachelor has two chairs offering lift access to a beginner zone or the Pine Marten lift which takes riders up to the Pine Marten Lodge and the top of the upper mountain’s trail network.
Mt. Bachelor’s short life span hasn’t allowed them to amass a huge option of trails but they are working to add more to the menu every year. In fact they just completed a new trail called Red Line, which is one of the most progressive and fun jump trails we rode all summer. It was like our own mini FEST Series line.
Other offerings include one double-black diamond DH track called Rockfall, four black diamond tech trails and three blue options. The lower Sunshine Bike Park network has one green and two blues that will help beginner riders get their feet wet on the rocky, loose terrain found on the volcanic slopes of Mt. Bachelor.
The trail network is definitely not extensive here at Bachelor, in fact we’d say it’s fairly small and indicative of a new park. The terrain is challenging and quite rocky at Mt Bachelor, so we’d say it is geared a bit more towards skilled riders. However, they have done a great job of making the lower beginner and Sunshine zones great for newer riders. Lava Flow has also been seeing major improvements every year and we’re happy to watch the tuning evolve.
While we’d selfishly love to see even more black and double black tech trails get built on Bachelor, we believe they could benefit most from adding some true blue and green trails to the mix. The current offerings are a bit lacking and aren’t quite accurately representative of blue and green trails we’ve ridden at other parks.
The black diamond trails like Rattlesnake, Big Wood, and Hot Dust are quite fun and add some challenge to riders looking to perfect their skills in pumping terrain, gapping natural features and going fast! Last Chance is a much longer trail with some variations that we prefer riding on an enduro or all mountain bike since there is some pedaling to be had.
ON-SITE ACTIVITIES & FOOD
As we said in our opening, Mt. Bachelor faces a major barrier with the nearby Wilderness boundary as it prevents them from building too much in the way of lodging, entertainment or a village. Despite the constraints, Bachelor does offer the bare essentials to keep you kitted and fed while on the mountain. Scenic lift rides, disc golf, hiking trails and a scenic dinner at the Pine Marten Lodge are all available during the summer months. Visitors can also find a cafeteria style eating area with mediocre food that’s priced a bit high in our opinion. The ticketing building also has a rental shop with bikes, gear, protection wear and snack bar. Another attraction that is sure to bring some crowds up is the zip line. Opening in 2020, the 1,400 vertical foot dual-line zip line has three different stages that will take riders down from the 7,800 foot mid-mountain staging area.
Overall the mountain area doesn’t have a ton to offer families or non-riders so chances are you’ll have to split up, which isn’t all that bad since Bend has tons to offer.
WHAT BIKE TO BRING
If you’re traveling from afar to ride Bachelor and you’re only bringing one bike, we’d suggest something in the 150-160mm range. Trails like Rock Fall, Red Line and Hot Dust will certainly make use of a DH bike, however the small trail network will likely mean you’ll want to spend as much time pedaling the local Bend trails as you do riding the lifts at Bachelor. For this reason we’d suggest bringing a pedal-friendly bike since there are lots more trails to ride in Bend than the bike park alone.
WHERE TO STAY
One of the benefits of visiting tourist towns is the abundance of lodging options. Bend is also extremely friendly for campers. You can pretty much pull off onto any dirt road and set up shop. Just be sure to pack out your trash and mind the fire restrictions. If you’re looking to have a roof over your head you can find any number of hotels or Airbnbs.
If you’re looking for anything on the West Side of town be prepared for a bit more traffic and high prices as it’s the desirable part of town for most visitors. In our opinion anything near downtown, the old mill or mid-town areas near Third Street will be solid options as they’ve save you a few bucks but still keep you close to the action.
Ask anyone in town what Bend is known for and you’ll get a different answer, but there’s sure to be a couple consistent replies: Beer, mountain biking, fishing, skiing and food. Whether you’re traveling with a group of friends or the family, Bend is sure to offer your crew plenty of recreational opportunities. Some of our favorite dining options are in the video above and we suggest you give it a watch to see where we like to dine.
The river park, surf wave and nearby lakes offer plenty of ways to cool off when the summer temps climb. If you enjoy rock climbing, golfing, fishing or dirt biking, there are also plenty of places to keep you entertained. Mt. Bachelor’s proximity to Bend certainly help bolster the park’s attractiveness when it comes to recommending the area as a vacation destination and we’re stoked to call it home.
THE WOLF’S LAST WORD
Mt. Bachelor may not be the biggest park or have a European-styled village, but it is lucky to piggy-back off an amazing community in Bend, Oregon. With only a few years of trail building in their pocket, Mt. Bachelor has done a good job of offering Central Oregon with a popular local bike park. The addition of trails like Rock Fall and Red Line are sure to make it a worthy destination from riders around the state and beyond. We’re hopeful to see more building like this continue as the park grows. If you’re a beginner level rider you’ll find a few decent options at Bachelor but will love the extensive network of beginner friendly cross-country trails in Bend. Advanced level riders will be grateful of the new building going on but will still feel a bit underwhelmed by the older XC-rider influence on many of the Bend trails. It appears there may be a changing of the guard however as new trails like Lone Wolf and yearly improvements to Tiddlywinks seek to answer the call of gravity thirsty riders. And of course we can’t forget the awesome dirt jump zone, known as the Lair where local riders like Kirt Voreis and Carson Storch can regularly be found.
For more info visit Mtbachelor.com
Since Mt. Bachelor doesn’t offer lodging or have any amenities open after the park closes, all votes below will reflect the city of Bend’s offerings. Which is roughly a 30-minute drive from Mt. Bachelor.
THE FINAL SCORE
Off Mountain Activities: 9/10
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