Closest Towns: Bend(25 minutes), Corvallis/Eugene/Salem(about 2 hours)
Ride Format: Loops and connectors.
Trail Style: Zippy XC.
Giggle Rating: ****
Technicality: Mostly Easy, some moderate
Physical Difficulty: Easy
Ideal Bike: A zippy XC bike that is fun to turn, or a fast trail bike.
Overview: The Peterson Ridge trail complex could easily be dismissed as a quant collection of loops that pale when compared to scope of the nearby Bend circuits, but that would be missing the point of this awesome little assemblage. In one quick loop, these trails pack in more XC diversity and fun than anything I can think of in Bend, and TDM loves the fact that he sees as many smiles on retired grandmothers riding on three-speed town bikes as he does ultralight XC slayers. Even TDM ( with his big-bike leaning noticeably toward big descents) seems to come off each tour of this place thinking warm thoughts of how much fun a bike can be. The trails form a loop of around 18 miles if you go to the full extension (actually there is a bit more than that if you keep going toward Three Creeks Lake), but the many alternative routes and connectors allow riders to customize their distance and effort to suit their personal needs. Furthermore, the trails get somewhat more technical the farther from town, meaning that beginners can pull of enjoyable loops of 5-10 miles without getting into too many of the brief lava sections that dot the higher elevation areas, while the full loop provides some fun rocky bits and a few more high-speed moments on the descent. To summarize this summary, the number of connector trails that link the two halves of this fun loop can be a little confusing, but few areas are so fun, while also allowing groups of beginners and experts alike to have fun riding together. Add a really pleasant park, and the enjoyable town that is Sisters, and you have one of the best family riding locations TDM has seen…anywhere.
Pros: Accessible to pretty much anyone on any bike. Easy access, close to restaurants, shopping, and a cool city park. This system actually connects to the Bend trails once the snow melts, though it is a big day to make the connection as a loop. While the soils are not so great after a big rain, or when the thaw is on, it is often rideable during all months of the year.
Cons: It can be a little sandy during late summer, and there is not much elevation to gain/loose.
Need to Know: TDM likes to start in the city park to provide the ultimate post-ride BBQ and hang-out opportunities (as well as water and bathrooms). It is a small area, suitable to a ride now and then. For big loops or a more alpine feel in a similar style hit Bend. This loop is fun in both directions, and can actually be shuttled! If you want a more descending friendly option consider investigating the upper trails located closer to Three Creeks Lake. The best map for Bend also covers this area (see below)…nice!
Recommended Route Options
- The Loop in either direction ~18 miles miles, 800 feet gained (1-3 hours). The main loop is slightly easier technically if done Clockwise, but the descending is slightly better if done the other way around. For maximum fun one can do a figure 8, climbing counter-clockwise on PRT-west to the viewpoint at the picnic table, then crossing over from there to climb the top half of PRT-East. Once arriving back at the picnic table, cross back over to PRT-east again, but this time descend it’s lower section…fun!
Links, Maps & Media
Sisters Trails Alliance: http://www.sisterstrails.com/
STA Maps at: http://www.sisterstrails.com/trailmaps.html
Blazing Saddles Bike Shop: http://blazinsaddleshub.com/
Eurosports Bike Shop: http://www.eurosports.us/