Hikers and Bikers Enjoying New Sunriver Singletrack Trails

Posted on in category Positive News

Some ‘Positive News’ in our local mountain bike community.

From The Bulletin By Mark Morical

Sunriver is not just for road bikes and cruisers anymore.

The vast network of paved paths that weave through the resort area usually come to mind when you think of Sunriver. And with good reason. Locals and tourists alike have enjoyed those paths, all 34 miles of them, for years.

Now, cyclists in the area have even more options. Volunteers with the Central Oregon Trail Alliance have been hard at work building about 14 miles of new dirt singletrack trails in Sunriver.

About 7 miles of the new network is complete, located in the forest immediately west of Sunriver, including three trailhead kiosks and signs at junctions.

The trails are accessible from Sunriver via the Cardinal Landing footbridge and from Forest Road 41, and will eventually connect to the existing Wanoga and Cascade Lakes Welcome Station trail networks southwest of Bend, according to Dan Youmans, south Deschutes County chapter representative for COTA. The project has also involved restoring and preserving nearby elk habitat by decommissioning some old logging roads.

“In terms of the whole network that we’re looking at doing, we’re a little more than half done,” Youmans said. “We’ve got the primary trails between Sunriver and Road 41 done.

“We hit a milestone with the completion of most of the trails that are close to Sunriver. It’s really gratifying to see so many people out there already using the trails. They’re already extremely popular. We’re really thrilled about that.”

The section of trails will connect to Tyler’s Traverse Trail in the Wanoga system and the Catch and Release Trail in the Cascade Lakes Welcome Station network, according to Youmans. Currently, bikers can connect the Wanoga and Sunriver networks via Road 41.

The new trails are primarily cross-country singletrack, with a few technical trail features woven into the design. The trails range in difficulty from easy to moderate, with one advanced trail planned, and are popular among hikers and trail runners, too.

“That was the vision — take kind of an underutilized forest and have it brimming with activity,” Youmans said.

The new dirt singletrack trails complement the paved paths, as they are connected via the Cardinal Landing footbridge, which crosses the Deschutes River on the west end of Sunriver.

“If you want that true mountain bike experience, you can get that by riding right over the river,” Youmans said. “For people who love biking, whether it’s paved or dirt, it’s got everything. This has really been a community effort to build these trails. We’ve had fantastic financial support from businesses in Sunriver. Along with COTA, it’s been a total community effort.”

Last week I made the short drive to Sunriver to ride the new trails. After parking at Fort Rock Park, I rode about 1½ miles along paved paths to the Cardinal bridge and to one of the new trailheads on the west side of the bridge.

The plan was to ride a counterclockwise loop on a trail called Roundabout, while also checking out two spur trails, Elko Point and Afternoon Delight.

The trail started out along the river and then climbed steadily up a ridge through the forest. I turned right onto Elko Point and came to a rocky overlook high above the Deschutes River.

“It’s a nice destination if you’re hiking from Sunriver,” Youmans said of the overlook. “We’re anticipating these trails will be just as popular for hiking as they are for mountain biking.”

Back on Roundabout, I eventually arrived at the junction to Afternoon Delight. This trail was a bit of a climb amid ponderosa trees all the way to Road 41.

“Eventually it will cross 41, go north, and go all the way to the Tyler’s and Catch and Release Trailhead,” Youmans said of Afternoon Delight. “That’s the bi-connector trail that will really connect Sunriver to the Wanoga network. Right now you can connect on Road 41, and a lot of people do that.”

The goal is to have the connecting trail finished by sometime this fall, Youmans noted.

Back on Roundabout again, I began descending back toward the river, enjoying a series of swooping turns built through an old decommissioned logging road.

“It’s a really fun downhill,” Youmans said.

After arriving back at the trailhead at Cardinal bridge, I turned onto Swan Song, a family-friendly trail that follows the river from Cardinal Bridge to the Besson Picnic area. The flat gravel trail is ideal for kids or beginners.

Eventually I made my way back along Swan Song, over the bridge, and back along the paved paths to my car.

All told, it was about a 16-mile ride — with only about 3 miles of it on paved paths.



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