Phil's Trail is actually a network of trails west of Bend that would take days of 20 milers to discover. Swirling around Phil's are treads with names like C.O.D., KGB, Storm King, Old Dirty Pirate, Kent's and Ben's, and Phil's Whoop De Doos. This network also connects to other popular and scenic rides. For those needing an epic 30 miler plus, combine Phil's network trails with a loop around Swampy Lake, Metolius-Windigo, Farewell, Tumalo Falls Trail, or Mrazek. The climbs within the network vary from nil to a leg and lung scorching 2500 feet. Of course, the bonus for the climbs are the mountain biker designed twisty, flowy, on-the-edge, don't blink descents. This area, with the climbs, isolation, and required trail finding zen, is a favorite with locals when the more tame Deschutes Trail suffers the Summer visitor bloat. Definitely get a good map and take a compass/GPS if you want to venture too far.
Whistling through the sparse pines and manzanita in Phil's Canyon.
A great section of stunts, some of which are possible for intermediate riders.
Upper portion of Old Dirty Pirate. Some fun stuff along this half mile of tread.
Crazy stunt section. Don't know if this one is sanctioned by COTA or DNF.
Finding a good line in Phil's
The mileage, elevation gain, and aerobic/ technical difficulty levels listed in the above summary are only averages, really. There are enough single track treads here to lay down 30-40 miles or more in a day. Ride further west and the climbing and technical potential are greater, requiring more from riders physically.
This is Jon Gustavson on the Whoops section. This line is simply sick.
WHOOoops! from Jon Gustavson on Vimeo.
Mrs. Mal on Kent's Trail
More "interesting" trail features.
All of this world class mountain biking bliss can be accessed from the Phil's trailhead just a few miles from the town of Bend. In fact, many locals ride out from town and thus avoid the parking permit fee.
The Flamin' Chicken about 2 miles from the trailhead. Loop around Phil's enough and you will pass this point, maybe more times than you want.
You can set out on Kent's, Ben's or Phil's and head basically west. Head far enough on this compass point and you may cross Voodoo or run into the Whoops. Head south at Storm King for a challenging loop with C.O.D. and E.L.V. Again, bring a map or hook a ride with someone experienced here to get the best flow opportunity.
Finding Phil and Pesky Permits
From the junction if US Highway 97 and NW Franklin Avenue in Bend, set you trip OD to zero and travel west on Franklin. Franklin becomes NW Riverside Blvd. At 1.2 miles, turn right onto NW Tumalo Avenue. Continue this direction as Tumalo becomes NW Galveston Avenue and then becomes Skyliners Road. At 4.5 miles, turn left on Forest Road 4604. Travel to 4.9 miles and look for parking on the right.
You will need Northwest Forest Passes for parking since this area in under the jurisdiction of the DNF-Bend District. These are available for around $5.00 at various locations around town and may be available at a kiosk at the trailhead.
When to Bike
The trailhead is at almost 3900 feet and with the right combination of routes, a rider can reach to well over 6000 feet before looping back. With this in mind, this is mostly a late Spring to late Fall area.
Additionally, COTA posts signs at the trailhead cautioning riders not to be on the trails when it has been raining considerably or when snow melt off has the trail quite muddy. Essentially, if you are going to leaving deep ruts, avoid riding.
"Good-bye. I am leaving because I am bored." --George Saunders, last words