Where do Sunriver locals bike with their kids? From well-known favorites to off-the-beaten track adventure spots, we've got some suggestions you'll love!
1. Bike & Picnic at Benham Falls
CROWD RATING: BUSY
Depending on where you're staying in Sunriver, this beautiful bike ride can be accessed without any driving, although if you've got younger kiddos, you may want to shorten the ride by heading to the trailhead by Circle 7. Follow the paved Sunriver/Lava Connector trail for an easy ride, or scroll down for more info on the dirt trail options. Beat the crowds by heading out early or going in the off-season.
What kind of bikes do you need? The path is paved up until you get to the Deschutes River, and then turns into a wide dirt path for about a mile. Right before the falls, you'll come to a parking area and restroom, where you can leave your bike to hike down a short foot path to see the falls.
Parent Tip: A tag along bike is perfect for the little guys who love to pedal but get tired quickly - rent yours - and a bike for yourself at Sunriver Sports before heading out! Be sure to carry snacks, sunscreen and plenty of water!
Beautiful views along the Deschutes River Trail
Make a Day of It: This longer bike ride can take several hours with younger kids, but if you're jonesing for more, the trail continues past Benham falls to Dillon falls and beyond. Beyond Benham Falls, the trail is singletrack, and you'll need to rent mountain bikes for the family if you don't have them. This trail can be too busy with hikers at times, so check trail information on the Bend Trails website.
When exploring Sunriver wilderness bike trails, it's essential to have a good map we recommend you stop by Sunriver Sports and pick up the fantastic Central Oregon Trail Alliance map.
To Get to the Trailhead: Map Directions from the Village
2. Make a Trip to the Sunriver Nature Center
CROWD RATING: MODERATE
You can bike to this small science museum from anywhere in Sunriver. Exhibits are focused on the plants and animals of the local area, but locals most enjoy exploring the area around the pond, where you can find a beaver dam, a trumpeter swan, and all kinds of neat wildlife. Check out the Nature Center website for more activities, including:
- Kids summer science camps
- Educational programs about the local area
- Astronomy programs at the Oregon Observatory
Make a Day of It: If you bring or rent bikes, you can explore the bike path around the Nature Center to learn more about the local area
Even the youngest kids love the bike ride to the Nature Center.
Parent Tip: The nature center is part of the ASTC passport program, so admission is free to families who are members of OMSI, the Pacific Science center, or a slew of other science museums across the country!
To Get There: Map Directions from The Village
3. Mountain Bike at Wanoga
CROWD RATING: CHILL - while you may see a few people hop on bikes and take off down one of the trails, this are isn't typically crowded.
Difficulty Level - Novice - Expert
The pump track has areas to explore for all biking levels, but Tiddlywinks and Funner are best for riders with some experience.
For kids who yearn for a little more adventure, we love to rent some mountain bikes and drive up the road towards Mt. Bachelor to the Wanoga Sno Park. This winter park features a fun pump track at the middle with some good options for different levels of riders. It has features appropriate for anyone from toddlers on a balance bike through big kids (or their parents) who want to play on small jumps.
The little kids will want to hit some "jumps" in the pump track area, while bigger kids love the fun & flowy ride of Tiddlywinks.
Sometimes we like to bring some camp chairs and a picnic and just watch the kids try their stunts, but for more advanced riders, this parking area offers access to the Wanoga Complex trails.
Our favorite thing to do with bigger kids is to check out the downhill section of Tiddlywinks. With two vehicles, there are several options to turn this ride into a mostly downhill shuttle, making it easy for kids endurance levels. Check out the Bend Trails Map or stop by Sunriver Sports for more information!
More info on the Wanoga Complex at Bend Trails
To Get There: Map Directions from the Village
4. Black Rock Trail
CROWD RATING: MODERATE - popular paved trails nearby mean you're likely to see kids in search of more adventure hopping on and off this trail, but it remains far less crowded than the paved sections.
Difficulty Level - Easy - Intermediate
Although this trail has a few more technical rocky sections, most of the trail is fairly mellow, and there are plenty of paved trails nearby.
This is a fun trail that's easy to access from the Sunriver bike paths. This trail starts at the same parking area as Trail #1, where there's a singletrack option that follows closer to the river than the paved Sunriver/Lava Connector. Check out the Bend Trails map to get the full picture.
For new mountain bikers, we especially like the low commitment level - there are lots of options here for kids to switch to a paved trail system, and keep on going. With some beautiful viewpoints of the lava flows and Cascade Range beyond, this trail offers up some classic Central Oregon scenery, but it can be brutal on a hot day.
Bring: Snacks, plenty of water, sunscreen and BUG SPRAY - although if you can keep moving, you might be able to outrun the mosquitos.
Make a day of it - This trail ends at Lava Butte, which has a nice interpretive center and trails where you can learn about the volcanic activity in the area. There are also plenty of good spots to stop for a picnic or snack around Lava Butte.
5. La Pine State Park
With over 30 miles of mellow dirt trails, this area is perfect for kids and novice mountain bikers, with some beautiful views of the Deschutes and Fall Rivers. The trails feature a series of loops, allowing you to pick a longer all day ride, or a short afternoon. These trails are mostly singletrack, with a little bit of forest road/double track thrown in, so we do recommend mountain bikes, but the terrain is mellow and kid friendly, with no long climbs or really technical areas.
Fall River Falls makes a fun stopping point on your bike adventure!