With the exception of the-sometimes frantic pace on Hwy 97, this is a relaxing ride into the Central Oregon Cascades. The ride makes for a great retreat when the weather gets hot in the lower elevations. There are some great views of Mt. Bachelor from NFD4020–which also has just enough long sweeping curves to be interesting.
From Bend, take Hwy 97 south to Sunriver. Go through the roundabout at the entrance to Sunriver and bear right off of South Century Drive onto Spring River/Harper Bridge Road (this becomes NFD4020). Follow NFD4020 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.
This forest road is lightly traveled, though you’ll frequently encounter bicyclists making their way to or from the Cascade Lakes Hwy. There are some nice sweeping curves once you get past the Sunriver area. If you’re on a dual-sport bike, there are many unpaved forest service roads in this area to explore as well. A few stretches open up to reveal incredible views of Mt. Bachelor.
Cascade Lakes Hwy from NFD4020 to Bend
This section of the Cascade Lakes Hwy is open year-round, making it a good ride anytime the snow isn’t blowing. It’s more heavily traveled than NFD4020 above, but light compared to Hwy 97. Aside from a few high speed sweepers, this is mostly a quck, straightish section. Expect to encounter bicyclists riding to/from Mt. Bachelor along this stretch of the Cascade Lakes Hwy. One of the best views of Mt. Bachelor on this ride will be in your rearview mirrors just after you turn onto this road. You may want to stop for a photo op.
View Bend – Sunriver – Cascade Lakes Hwy Loop in a larger map