Who is Phil and Why Should I Care?
Phil was a Bendite back in the day when cyclists wore tube socks, neon spandex and bucket-shaped helmets. He also happened to be a monster mountain biker. He and a bunch of his hammerhead pals went west of Bend, Oregon and carved out a single track trail full of bumps, drops, jumps and turns, right through the Deschutes National Forest.
Nice. Great. A bike trail. Wahoo. So what?
Today, Phil’s Trail is a complex of intersecting trails of varying degrees of difficulty offering hundreds of miles of sweet singletrack. It is THE local’s choice for mountain biking. The trailhead is still just minutes from downtown Bend, but the opportunities for exploration are endless, as riders span out west toward Mt. Bachelor. The system reaches its apex at Swampy Sno-Park on the Cascade Lakes Highway.
For my Phil’s Trail adventure, I chose the van-ride-up, gravity-down, beer-at-the-end option. A very groovy local company, Cog Wild, which leads mountain biking tours all over the state, hosts a bike and brew shuttle. They rack your bike on the roof of their van and shuttle you 12 miles uphill to Swampy Sno-Park. Then they cut you loose. At the end of your ride you’ll land at the Cascade Lakes Brewing Company, where you can enjoy a Blonde Bombshell. That would be a beer, my friend. Other microbrews on tap: Rooter Tail Ale, Monkey Face Porter, 20” Brown and more.
If the van-ride-up, gravity-down, beer-at-the-end option sounds easy, it isn’t. I earned that beer! And the steak salad that came with it (medium rare, bleu cheese vinaigrette on the side). The Cog Wild shuttle costs $10 cash per rider and bike and leaves the Cascade Lakes Brewing Co. parking lot on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 5:30 p.m. sharp. Come ten minutes early to load your bike. On Wednesdays at 5:30 p.m. the shuttle leaves from the Athletic Club of Bend, just a mile up the road. All riders enjoy a discount for bar menu items and $2.50 pints at Scanlon’s, the restaurant at the Athletic Club.
Trail Map: Link here for a map of Phil’s Trail.
Getting There: Phil’s Trail trailhead is approximately three miles from downtown Bend. From Drake Park, travel west on Galveston Avenue (becomes Skyliners Drive) past Mt. Washington Drive until you reach a paved road on the left. Look for a sign with a biker icon. The trailhead is a half-mile further down this paved road.