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Nugget News

Mountain biking: Miles and miles of fat tire fun!
By John Rahm

mountain biking
Troy McCullin | Pacific Crest stock

The Peterson Ridge Trail is located at the south edge of town just across Whychus Creek on Elm Street. This gem of a trail system has been expanded to 25 miles, offering options for riders of all abilities. The system can generally be characterized as playful flowing singletrack. Easier near town and more technical further out, with spectacular views of the Cascades, this "stacked loop" system can entertain for days. East and west legs and a dozen connectors between them provide loop opportunities from one to 20 miles. This year will see the addition of a mile of singletrack at the top of the system, and a parking lot on the edge of town just beyond the trailhead. For a fabulous 360-degree view, ride or hike the experts-only trail over Eagle Rock, only two miles from town. Technical (expert) alternate routes are being added regularly, including the half-mile "Hawk's Flight Loop" seven miles up the east leg and the new log ride four miles up. Recommended parking is at Village Green Park, across from the Sisters Fire Hall on Elm Street, where you will find restrooms and water. The trailhead is only a quarter mile away.

The Suttle Tie Trail begins 10 miles west of town past Black Butte at the intersection of George McAllister Road and Highway 20, across from the turnoff to Camp Sherman. This easy-to-intermediate trail climbs through the forest to Suttle Lake, crossing bridges over a couple of small creeks along the way. Cap this pleasant forest cruise with a three-mile lap around Suttle Lake.

The closest, more aerobically and technically challenging option is the 99 Trail, done either as an 11-mile loop from the upper Three Creek Sno Park located about 10 miles south of town, as a shuttle from the Park Meadow trailhead nearly 20 miles back down to town, or you can ride up to Park Meadow from the sno park and make it 25. Much of the singletrack descent follows the Metolius-Windigo Trail, parts of which get heavy horse traffic in the summer. With big trees, meadows and creeks, some of it is steep rocky "black diamond" terrain.

Ten miles out and back with a great view from a short hike at the top, the Green Ridge Trail is another segment of the Metolius-Windigo that is popular in the spring and early summer before horse traffic makes it too soft to enjoy. This trail is accessed from Green Ridge Road that turns north off Hwy. 20 just before Black Butte. Check with the Forest Service for detailed directions to the trailhead.

The McKenzie River Trail is 40 minutes away over the Santiam Pass, a 25-mile epic descent that is usually ridden as a shuttle. The first eight miles are very technical, and the scenery is spectacular throughout. Ride the bottom 15 miles if you don't like technical trails, and soak afterwards at Belknap Hot Springs.

Information and trail maps covering these local trails and others can be obtained at the Sisters Ranger District office, at Eurosports or Blazin Saddles on Hood Avenue in Sisters, Sisters Park & Recreation District, the Sisters Area Chamber of Commerce and other locations.

Be courteous to other trail users and enjoy!

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