It’s hard to imagine a better biking mecca than Sunriver. The 34 miles of paved biking trails offer loads of opportunities for fun excursions. With an exciting loop system, there are several ways to explore. You could easily pick a different destination for each outing. You’re sure to have a blast in this breathtakingly beautiful Central Oregon resort community.
Let’s take a detailed look at these paved pathways, which make recreational cycling in and around Sunriver fun and easy for everyone.
The Sun-Lava Trail was officially opened in 2014. This one-way 5.5-mile paved bike path takes you from Sunriver Resort or the Benham Falls day use area to the Lava Lands Visitor Center, and along the route you’ll ride along the banks of the well-known Deschutes River.
Bicyclists benefit from the efforts of Central Oregon land-use managers to find an innovative way to connect communities and popular spots. Anyone who wants to pedal effortlessly past the area’s gorgeous scenery will thoroughly enjoy this experience.
This trail makes biking from Sunriver to Bend, and vice versa, an adventure that recreational cyclists with varying skill levels will enjoy, in contrast with the singletrack mountain bike trail, which used to be the only alternative. Admittedly, this paved trail doesn’t go all the way to Bend but it connects with the singletrack, which remains an option for those looking for a bit more excitement.
What to Expect
Cyclists can enjoy a tranquil and safe ride because, except for a few crossings, the paved paths are separated from the roadways.
If you set off from the Lava Lands Visitor Center, you’ll have a mostly downhill ride for about 3.5 miles. You’ll come to a railroad crossing where you’ll need to cross the tracks and veer left for about 2.5 miles to Sunriver, or veer right and cross a little wooden bridge if you prefer to make your way to the Benham Falls area.
Before long, you’ll notice that the paved pathway turns into a dirt trail, but it’s manageable for most types of bikes. The good news is that you’ll be able to get closer to the river to take some incredible photos.
Don’t miss the Trail of Molten Lands, where you can walk among the spectacular lava rock formations that remain from a huge volcanic eruption thousands of years ago.
Parking & Access
Parking at Lava Lands is convenient at any time of the year, although the visitor center there is closed during the winter.
From Sunriver, you can reach the path to Lava Lands from a small parking area off East Cascades Road between Circles 7 and 9. In case you’re wondering, there’s no Circle 8.
You can also access the Deschutes River Trail from this parking area. Although some of the most popular maps note that the trail is for “experienced bike riders only,” navigating the rocky bits doesn’t require advanced, technical skills. You should be aware that there are some short steep sections that take you up and out of the river canyon, but you won’t have more than a 125-foot increase in elevation.
It’s easy to see why biking is residents’ and visitors’ favorite way to get around scenic Sunriver. The development of the Sun-Lava Trail offers everyone an amazing opportunity to ride serenely on a paved surface that takes you past the Deschutes River, pine trees, meadows, and lava flows. What’s more, you can explore trail loops to your heart’s content and pick a different destination each day. There’s never been a better way to cycle safely to the mesmerizing rapids at Benham Falls or to head to Bend, avoiding highways the entire time. What are you waiting for?