Why ride one loop when you can do two? Old-growth forests, countless waterfalls, gorgeous alpine meadows and chundery downhills.
From Skyliner Snow Park, head west on Tumalo Creek trail. There are two trails heading west from the snow park, and they both meet up about 100 yards from the outhouse – just as the trail crosses a fire road. Be careful to take the Tumalo Ridge trail on the left as you cross the first fire road shortly after the start. Tumalo Creek trail will be the trail on the right – which you will come back on.
Head up Tumalo Ridge via a series of switchbacks to a nice overlook on the east end of the ridge. This is a beautiful trail, with great views and a steep side-slope. Once at the top of the ridge at the east end, things get fairly technical starting with a very rocky 180 degree turn around the edge of the ridge.
Next, you’ll hit a series of back-to-back, steep, rocky climbs that test your endurance and low-speed bike handling skills. Eventually the trail levels off and opens up to a few nice views of the Cascade Range.
The trail soon spits you out onto a fire road climb which takes you up to Swede Shelter. The shelter is hard to see, so be mindful of some trails off to the left of the road at the intersection of the Sector 16, Swede Ridge and SST trails.
After a brief pause at Swede Shelter, jump back on your bike and onto the fire road where you will see the start of Swede Ridge trail.
There are a couple of punchy climbs heading west on Swede and some burly rock sections that will sharpen your skills. Within a couple miles you will come to a “T” intersection with the Swampy Lakes Loop. Take a right and ride for a mile or so on your way over to Southfork. There is a nice, rocky creek crossing on this section of trail and if you are lucky you might get your feet wet.
Southfork is known for being a fast and technical descent and has become a favorite downhill route for many locals (dropping over 1,100′ in three miles). It is a two-way trail, so be wary of the occasional climber.
Half-way down the trail you will cross a large log bridge – which is rideable – but take caution and don’t push the envelope. More than a few have fallen into the creek at this spot. If you decide to ride it, look ahead and don’t stop pedaling until you’re on the other side. Novice riders should walk it.
The lower-half of the trail is a little less steep than the top-half, but the trail is just as rowdy with lots of rocks and roots.
At the bottom of Southfork, take a left and ride a mile or two up to Tumalo Falls. There is a lookout at the bottom of the falls where you can get a great view and there are more at the top of the falls as well.
The view from the parking lot up Northfork to Happy Valley is stunning. It’s a slow climb with a few roots and rocks here and there and more often than not filled with hikers. When you need a breather, stop at each water fall you encounter. Let the refreshing mist from the falls cool you off.
When you reach Happy Valley, you will climb up out of the 0ld growth canopy into a meadow. Not long after the meadow begins, you will turn right onto Metolious Windigo which will take you over a small bridge across Tumalo Creek where you will proceed to head northwest along Met Win. This section is just over a mile long and is fairly uneventful. You will cross a couple of streams that may or may not hold any water, and before long pop-out onto a fire road.
Keep right along the edge of the road and you will see the start of the Upper Mrazek trail. Head down Mrazek and soon you will cross a rocky creek bed. As with the other streams you have crossed it likely will be mostly dry. Crossing the creek without a foot dab is a challenge all strive to complete – so choose your line properly!
Mrazek descends in its typical windy and curvy fashion down to the top of Farewell. Stop here, regroup and get ready for one of Bend’s more interesting downhills. Farewell starts out fairly gently and gets progressively steeper and rockier as you head back down to the valley floor. Pause at the rocky lookouts for some great views of the High Cascades.
Once you pop-out on the road, you will take a right into the Tumalo Falls parking area, and once over the bridge you will get back on the Tumalo Creek trail to head down to the snow park. Watch you speed as there are many hikers and blind corners on this trail.
This Loop is maintained by Central Oregon Trail Alliance.