Oregon’s first Gravel Scenic Bikeway opens to the Public: A Partnership with Dirty Freehub & Visit Bend

oregon gravel scenic bikeway
All photos by DirtyFreehub.com

Cyclists craving new adventure will have their wish granted as Oregon’s first Gravel Scenic Bikeway opens to the public.

The new Cascades Gravel Scenic Bikeway is a collection of curated gravel riding routes around Bend and Central Oregon. Dirty Freehub and Visit Bend partnered to create six different routes ranging in difficulty.

oregon gravel scenic bikeway

“Gravel cycling has exploded because people are looking to get away from the crowds and out into nature,” explained Linda English, (aka, Gravel Girl), Co-Founder of  Dirty Freehub, which is an online guide to five-star gravel cycling routes.  “Deschutes County alone has more than 5,000 miles of gravel and forest service roads, so it’s the perfect place to establish Oregon’s first Gravel Scenic Bikeway.”

oregon gravel scenic bikeway

The core of gravel cycling uses gravel farm roads and forest service dirt roads, but some routes include bike paths and quieter paved roads. While many dedicated gravel cyclists own bikes made specifically for this type of riding, many gravel routes can be ridden on a mountain bike. Some of the routes on the Cascades Gravel Scenic Bikeway even permit eBikes.

oregon gravel scenic bikeway

The sport has gained popularity for two reasons: changes in bike technology allowing cyclists to better handle a large range of surfaces, and cyclists are looking to escape from stressful busy roads.

“It’s a great option for cyclists concerned about their impact on the environment and seeking more sustainable routes,” explained Visit Bend CEO Kevney Dugan. “Singletrack mountain biking is a challenge in the era of COVID and social distancing, where riders find themselves going off-trail to avoid contact with others. But most gravel cycling takes place on wide roadways with plenty of open space.”

oregon gravel scenic bikeway

The six routes comprising the new Cascades Gravel Scenic Bikeway range from flatter, beginner-level rides to steeper and longer mixed-surface rides. Dirty Freehub has created online maps, cue sheets, and ride descriptions for each of the routes.

oregon gravel scenic bikeway

Scenery and topography vary widely between the routes. The Water & Lava Cascades Gravel Scenic Bikeway spans 31 miles along the Deschutes River just off the Cascade Lakes Highway, while the whimsically named Poke the Bear route spans 33 miles of rolling hills on the northeastern edge of Madras and includes stunning views of Mt. Jefferson and the Three Sisters.

oregon gravel scenic bikeway

“We’ve designed these routes so you visit places you probably haven’t been before,” English said. “They each offer up big views of mountains, waterfalls, rivers, and the natural beauty of Central Oregon.”

To learn more or view detailed information about the routes, visit www.cascadesgravelbikeway.com

About Visit Bend

Visit Bend is a non-membership, non-profit economic development organization dedicated to promoting tourism on behalf of the City of Bend. We’re a leading provider of information on Bend, Oregon hotels, restaurants, activities, and Oregon vacation planning. To learn more or to order a complimentary Official Visitor Guide to Bend, contact Visit Bend at 1-800-949-6086 or visit www.visitbend.com

oregon gravel scenic bikeway

About Dirty Freehub

Dirty Freehub is a free online guide to gravel bicycle routes. We offer over 160 curated gravel bicycle routes across the Western United States, with over 4,000 miles of documented routes in Oregon. Each route includes photos, history, critical information, and a downloadable map. We are based in Bend, Oregon.  To learn more about Dirty Freehub, visit us at www.dirtyfreehub.com

1 Comment

  1. Avatar jason moyer

    I’ve lived in Bend for 25 years. Kevney is the worst thing to happen to this place since the first white settlers, probably, I wasn’t around then. He’s just a hipster version of a used car salesman. I can’t believe the Dirty Freehub got involved with him. The last thing we need is more people out doing the things we do to get away from tourists.

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