Drake Park to Pilot Butte State Park

Want to get from Drake Park to Pilot Butte State Park on a bike? This route’s for you! This whole route is not suitable for all people to ride (i.e. people uncomfortable with riding in traffic), however there are some parts of the route that are usable for every kind of rider… This route will get better when the Hawthorne Overcrossing is built in the next couple of years. You can explore the full route in Google maps here.

We’ll describe the route from west to east, starting in Drake Park and ending at Pilot Butte State Park but the route can easily be ridden in both directions. One of the nice features of this route is that it connects people west of the river to downtown and beyond and people on the eastside to the west about as easily and safely as possible right now. We’ll point out the parts of the route that may not be for everyone.

Drake Park through downtown

Ride east on the brick path along NW Riverside Blvd through Drake Park to NW Franklin Ave. When you reach the Mirror Pond parking lot, continue east on the sidewalk next to NW Franklin Ave and turn left (north) into NW Brooks St and continue all the way to NW Oregon Ave. This part of the route is safe and comfortable for virtually all people on bikes although there can be a lot of people walking–please be considerate of them.

Turn right (east) onto NW Oregon Ave and continue east along NW Oregon Ave and NW Hawthorne Ave to NW Hill Street. This section can have lots of cars but they are generally traveling slowly. Ride in the middle of the traffic lane so you can see and be seen both by traffic and by cars backing out of the diagonal parking.

At NW Hawthorne Ave and NW Hill St, look east and envision a pedestrian and bike overcrossing rising over the Parkway and the Railroad and connecting to NE Hawthorne Ave! This overcrossing is coming in the next few years and will shorten this route and make it much safer and more comfortable.

In the meantime, turn right (south) onto NW Hill St and continue to the intersection with NW Franklin Ave. There is less traffic on this street than along NW Oregon and NW Hawthorne Aves but can be traveling much faster as cars race to and from the Parkway entrance on Hawthorne. Be prepared for this traffic.

Turn left (east) onto the sidewalk on the north side of NW Franklin Ave and continue through the tunnel under the Parkway and the railroad. For many people, this is one of the uncomfortable parts of this route…there can be lots of trash and bad smells but the city is doing a better job of keeping it clean than in the past. It may feel like you are traveling the wrong way along this sidewalk but there is no direction to a sidewalk and avoiding the danger of crossing NW Franklin Ave is well worth it. You might want to walk your bike through the tunnel since it is so narrow. Be considerate of other people walking or biking through the tunnel.

Through the Bend Central District to Juniper Park

After the tunnel along NW Franklin Ave, turn left (north) onto NE 1st St and continue to NE Hawthorne Ave. Imagine the overcrossing above you and dropping down onto NE Hawthorne. You’ll be riding on that overcrossing in a few years! Turn right (east) onto NE Hawthorne and continue to NE 3rd St. This section doesn’t have much traffic but drivers don’t expect to see many people on bikes, so be vigilant. 

Cross NE 3rd St at the pedestrian crossing. When you push the button to start the flashing lights, heed the warning “Lights are flashing. Traffic may not stop.” Often several cars will go by before anyone stops. And just because one car stops doesn’t mean everyone will. So make sure to look in the direction of traffic on all four lanes. You can stop safely on the pedestrian island in the middle of the street if the cars aren’t stopping.

After crossing NE 3rd St, continue east along NE Hawthorne St to NE 5th St and Juniper Park Cascades East Transit is redesigning Hawthorne Station so someday buses will not be parking in the street. If the buses and traffic is intimidating, stay on the sidewalk here. 

Through Juniper Park and on to Pilot Butte State Park

This part of the route is one the most pleasant, and except for two street crossings, is the safest and most comfortable part of the route. It is generally suitable for most people.

Cross NE 5th St and get on the path through Juniper Park. It winds a bit and goes through a playground where there may be lots of little people playing so be very careful.

Wind through the park, heading generally east. Leaving the park, cross NE 8th St onto NE Hawthorne Ave. This crossing can be difficult as traffic can be faster than the speed limit and during the morning and afternoon rush, can be heavy.

Travel east along NE Hawthorne Ave and enter the Pilot Butte Cemetery just after crossing NE 12th St. Follow NE Hawthorne Ave as it turns south and then turn left (east) onto one of the cemetery loops. After about 150 ft, it turns south. Don’t make this turn but continue east along the edge of the cemetery on an improvised trail. Keep an eye out for the parking lot and turn into it. Move to the east through the parking lot until you come out onto NE Forbes Rd. Follow it east and south until it intersects with NE 15th St. Cross NE 15th St carefully–traffic can be heavy and fast. Immediately turn left and get on the Larkspur Trail. Follow the Larkspur Trail under US 20 and continue to Pilot Butte State Park.

We hope you enjoy the ride and hope this route helps get you where you need to go. Watch for opportunities to provide input on the Hawthorne Overpass…it should be coming soon!