Like the shorter Bend – Sunriver – Cascade Lakes Hwy Loop, this is a relaxing ride (with the exception of Hwy 97) into the heart of the Central Oregon Cascades. It makes for a great retreat when the weather is hot in the lower elevations and there are some terrific views of the Three Sisters, Broken Top and Mt. Bachelor from the Cascade Lakes Hwy.
From Bend, take Hwy 97 south to Crescent. Take the Crescent Cutoff Road to the Cascade Lakes Hwy. Go north on the Cascade Lakes Hwy and follow it back to Bend.
Hwy 97 is the main two-lane highway east of the Cascade Range. It gets a lot of truck traffic as well as tourists on their way to or from California (do yourself a favor and just stay out of their way). The stretch between Bend and Sunriver is one of the most scenic sections–particularly near Lava Butte. After Sunriver, the road is mostly straight with occasional views of the Cascades and Newberry Crater National Monument. The ride up to Paulina and East Lakes from the highway is a worth diversion if you have the time.
Crescent Cutoff Road
This 12-mile stretch of road linking Crescent/Gilchrist with Oregon 58 is a fast ride with a few sweeping turns. Watch for trucks coming out of the lava flow (now a quarry) about 6 miles in. The turn for the Cascade Lakes Hwy. is a few miles before you hit 58.
Cascade Lakes Hwy
The Cascade Lakes Hwy is a designated a scenic byway and it doesn’t take more than a few miles on this wonderful road to understand why. The section between the Crescent Cutoff Road and Mt. Bachelor is closed for snow seasonally. Being a scenic byway, there’s a fair amount of traffic–especially near any of the lakes or trailheads. There are a few curvy sections and a number of high speed sweepers, but the road is mostly quck (and very scenic) ride back to Bend. Expect to encounter bicyclists riding to/from Mt. Bachelor between NFD4020 (just past Mt. Bachelor) and Bend. One of the best views of Mt. Bachelor on this ride will be in your rearview mirrors right after you pass NFD4020. You may want to stop for a photo op.
View Bend – Crescent – Cascade Lakes Hwy in a larger map