Horse Ridge

3D view of Horse Ridge Trail

Overall: 6

Aerobic: 5

Technical: 5

Steepness: 4

Flow: 7

Singletrack: 98%

Horse Ridge is one of the best Bend area winter rides, along with Arnold Ice Cave Tr3963 and Gray Butte Tr852.




Avg: 15.5mi



Elevation Change

Avg Ascent:2050'

Ascent Incline



Avg: 2.5hr





View of Horse Ridge Descent

The 40 square mile region of lava and juniper is managed by the Prineville District of the Bureau of Land Management, bounded to the north by Oregon Badlands Wilderness and Dry River Canyon to the northeast. Pine Mountain is at the ridge's southeast quarter.

The trail is buff, but rocky sections add some technical challenges, requiring some attention and speed control to navigate the best line.

The aptly named Sand Canyon is the primary descent route but the ride can be lengthened by descending the mid-route, which winds through the hillside prior to the final, fast run to the TH.

The abandoned road provides a very steady, moderate ascent route. Those seeking more challenge can ascend the mid-route, as indicated by the arrows on the map. Ascending Sand Canyon should only be tried when no one else is around, to avoid spectacular, yet painful, collisions.

The area is covered in abandoned trails, some of which are marked as hiking trails on the map, and should be considered to be not much more than wildlife paths.

The viewpoint offers a great view of Paulina Peak, Pine Mountain, Mount Bachelor and the ever-present Three Sisters peaks. There is a sandy hiking trail from the summit to a jeep trail, which leads to Fort Rock Rd, which is not useful for biking.

Note: Horse Ridge Summit is on the abandoned road, near US20, at the midpoint of the ascent. The ride peak is at the viewpoint of this reverse lollipop ride.

Please remain on the trail, especially in the Research Area. Biking has been allowed on the designated path through that area, which is clearly marked otherwise and would be cut off if the terrain became damaged from bike traffic.

Directions: See Map. From 3rd St in Bend, go east on US20 17.9mi to the Oregon Badlands Wilderness sign, then go right and continue .7mi to the Horse Ridge TH. View Larger Map. No Map?.

Horse Ridge Trail Topo Map View of Horse Ridge Trail

Loop Directions

a windy ridge

Horse Ridge Area Topo Map

  • TH: Go left at the sign, just off the parking area. Ride along the frontage road, passing the return intersection at .6mi.
  • 1.9mi: After ascending slowly along US20, pass the other return intersection at 1.8mi then go right onto the abandoned highway and enjoy the moderate ascent to Horse Ridge Summit.
  • 4.3mi: Pass a jeep trail at 4mi then go right onto Horse Ridge Trail at 4.3mi. Bear right at the 4.6mi intersection with an abandoned jeep trail. Crest a 5.2mi knoll then descend to the 6.4mi fence. Cross the fence and continue on the trail, which continues to be mildly technical. Manage the speed and pick lines carefully.
  • 7.3mi: Cross the western research area fence and pass the Sand Canyon intersection on the moderate viewpoint ascent.
  • 8.9mi: Enjoy the open view of Newberry, Mt Bachelor and the Three Sisters, then enjoy the fast descent to the first and second fence.
  • 11.3mi: Go left just prior to the eastern fence, immediately scale a little technical knoll, then begin the increasingly fast, winding downhill to the frontage road trail and back to the TH. Watch for ascending bikers, as this route is often ridden in both directions.
View of Horse Ridge Rocky Knoll




Trail Rankings

Ranking consistently applied to all of the listed trails.

  • Overall Rating: Ride quality and challenge
  • Aerobic: Ascent challenge
  • Technical Difficulty: Terrain challenge
  • Steepness: Average incline
  • Flow: Uninterrupted riding
  • Elevation Change: Total elevation gain
  • Ride Difficulty: Terrain challenge






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