This area is winter migration habitat (December 1 to March 31) for mule deer and elk. Please limit your group size to 4 or less.
Get ready for a big ride with a bit of everything: gravel roads, forest service dirt roads, dropbar single-track, and some pavement. There are ohh so many highlights and points of interest along this route including the infamous Tumalo Reservoir irrigation project of the early 1900s, the Two Bulls fire scarred forest, a zipping fast paved downhill on Three Creeks road, incredible mountain views, Suttle Lake and lodge, Camp Sherman, and more!
Late spring / early summer when the peaks are still snow-capped, but after the snows have melted out above north facing slopes at 5000 feet. A first go at this route is usually in May.
Village Green City Park. Flush toilets.
Lat / Long: 44.289382, -121.548832
This ride is by Serena Bishop Gordon, a local legend in Central Oregon for her racing prowess.
Miles 0 to 15 / The Lead Out
A mix of easy riding single-track in the Peterson Ridge system of trails, a short rugged sector followed by a short section of pavement, and then hard-packed fast gravel roads. It is slightly uphill most of the time, with a few rollers. Along this sector you will get some big mountain views. This is a great warm-up for things to come.
Miles 15 to 40 / Skyline Forest
This sector has the longest most sustained climb and descent along the route. It is on mostly dirt logging roads with a few punchy climbs, for some a little walking uphill. The lands you will be riding are a mix of private forrest and the Deschutes National forest. At mile 33 you pop out onto Three Creeks road where you get a great paved descent where you will be happy that you have a gravel bike. The frost heaves breaks in the road make your bike go clunk, clunk, clunk.
Miles 40 to 60 / Mountain Views
This next 20 mile segment is so, so good. Proper gravel roads (maybe a bit of washboard), but it almost feels like you can reach out and touch the mountains.
Miles 60 to 98 / Views, a Lake, and some Wicked Fun Single-track
From here to the finish the route gets a bit tame – no big climbs, no big descents. 1600 feet up, 2200 feet down. There are a couple of wicked fun sectors of single-track and some great views of the mountains to the west including Mt Washington and Three Fingered Jack. You will also pass by Suttle Lake, where there is a lodge, and Camp Sherman which is along the Metolius River.
Native Americans occupied the areas around Suttle Lake for ~10,000 years before the first European pioneer settlers. For centuries, Native Americans used trails over Santiam Pass to transit from the Willamette Valley to central Oregon. Suttle Lake offered a place to camp, fish, and gather berries.
Over the years, a series of lodges were built at the lake. The first lodge was constructed in the early 1920s. The second was built in 1931, and a third in 1941. All three lodges were destroyed by fires. The 1941 lodge was renovated in 1974; however, before the remodeled facility re-opened a fire burned the building to the ground. The current lodge, known as The Lodge at Suttle Lake.[Wikipedia]
The outlet of Suttle Lake is Lake Creek, which flows eastward into the Metolius River. The lake has an excellent population of naturally reproducing kokanee, plus brown trout, whitefish, and crayfish.[US Forest Service]