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Horse Butte Loop Trail

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9.9 miles
751' ↑

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Trail Description

 E-bikes NOT allowed on Horse Butte Loop

The Horse Butte Loop is a great 10 mile loop that’s nice and close to town. Because of its elevation and exposure, it gets less snow than the west side, and that snow melts faster too — so while we’re listing it as a fat bike ride, it’s really a “winter riding spot.”

The loop is made up of three trails: the Coyote Loop Trail, the Boyd Cave Trail, and the Arnold Ice Cave Trail. Depending on the snow depth and trail conditions, you’ll often find other options to extend your ride — or jump on China Hat Road and rack up some miles.

One of the coolest things about riding Horse Butte are the views. Unlike Bend’s west-side MTB trails, Horse Butte is fairly open and exposed making for some great vistas. For the same reason, it’s not super fun spot if the wind is howling, because there’s little to no cover.

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    Recent Reports

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    1. Jason Caron says:

      Trail is in great shape! I’ve never seen it so green, lush, and full of color. Wildflowers are still going off. Totally different feel riding it now vs the winter.

    2. York Schueller says:

      Rode it yesterday midday counter-clockwise on a fat tire. Where the trail is shaded, the snow is nice and rideable. There is a section about 2 miles in that is VERY muddy and even the fatty was digging into it to the point of getting off and hiking it. Maybe it freezes and is rideable in the morning but I would hold off riding that area for a while and let it dry out.

    3. Jason Caron says:

      Snowed all day out there today, Wednesday, 3/9. 1-2 inches of ridable snow, riding great. This weekend’s forcast should melt it real quick.

    4. Jason Caron says:

      Riding awesome! Tacky!

    5. Jason Caron says:

      Lite snow all day today. Ridable snow with 1-2inches at the Horse Butte TH increasing to about 3-4 inches up near China Hat. Totally ridable on a trail bike, slow going but worth it. This weekend and net weeks weather will eventually turn it to mud. Get it now!

    6. Alex Sandrow says:

      Road yesterday. Generally in GREAT Shape. for sure a few soft spots, but nothing crazy. Couldn’t really ask for better mid January conditions. Despite soft/wet patches scattered — neither bike, nor rider were covered with mud after ride.

    7. Jason Caron says:

      Big difference from last weeks snow covered trail. All dry and riding great except for just a couple of soupy spots. Heavy winds from this afternoon’s approaching storm added a challenge.

    8. Jason Caron says:

      Cows are out, please close the gates. Also some beautiful new signage at all the junctions.

    9. The HB loop is probably ridable on a fatbike if you’ve got the gumption and time. Tonight, we started at the Coyote/China Hat junction and rode Boyd Cave counterclockwise. About half way to the HB trailhead we turned around and climbed back the direction we came because it was getting late, and really slow going. Trail is lumpy boot pack — looks like the whole loop is boot pack now but we only rode a third of it. So not great, but ridable.

    10. Bruce Bradshaw says:

      One puddle on the Arnold part. Tacky otherwise.

    11. Marty Dawson says:

      Rode it counter clockwise on 4/9/19. At least a dozen small puddles but no real mud.

    12. Scott Wolfe says:

      TH to Boyd Cave via Arnold Ice Cave is 85% clear. Some of the north facing switchbacks still have some rapidly melting snow and wet areas, but largely Dry. When you get to Coyote section where Boyd Cave ends the conditions deteriorate rapidly. Mud, lots of patchy melting snow and standing ice/water. In the trees between Horse Butte Rd and TH it’s still lots of snow. Avoid Coyote section for a few more weeks.

    13. Bruce Bradshaw says:

      Riding well, but dusty.

    14. Bruce Bradshaw says:

      Soft out of tread, but otherwise good. Some bushes have been cut back, but still get wacked by others.

    15. Dylan Moore says:

      Riding great. A couple of dry sandy corners.

    16. Bruce Bradshaw says:

      Patches of mud in the trees, but tacky elsewhere.

    17. Richard Fernald says:

      Horse Butte Loop riding great.

    18. Mike Maidl says:

      A little sloppy, some minor muddy spots

      1. Bruce Bradshaw says:

        Not really loose, but very dusty.

    19. Loop is riding great. Just a tiny bit of snow on the side of a few areas, but mostly prime dirt.

    20. Marty Dawson says:

      Horse Butte was riding well today, 10/28/17

    21. Bruce Bradshaw says:

      Loose in places and dusty, but still rides well. The bushes seem bigger. I hadn’t noticed handlebar notches in them before today.

    22. Kellie Jacobson says:

      Rode the loop this last weekend – our first time out in this area (we’re from the valley). It was beautiful. No snow – nice footing. Fast and fun for us and the dogs!

    23. Rick Clothier says:

      loop is very rideable if you go early, as to not cause trail damage. I got out there about 8:30 was definitely worth riding.

    24. Steven Powers says:

      Rode today. Snow and mud in the trees. The open areas are 95% clear and riding well. Suggest park at Boyd Cave trail and do an out and back either way until you hit the trees. Lots of snow and mud in the trees and in the short canyon near Coyote Butte. Like Patrick said, should be better in a week. Keep single track single, ride in the middle!

    25. Mark Campbell says:

      Rode today and it was FANTASTIC! That trail when it’s good….it is really really good. Only a few slick spots but the views are just awesome. Makes you feel like you are riding the real High Desert instead of the Forrest….which I do love.

    26. Bruce Bradshaw says:

      A few loose spots and expect to be bushwhacking otherwise in good shape.

    27. David Dodge says:

      Trail is in great shape.

    28. Adam Nichols says:

      Great condition right now, no more mud, just tacky dirt!

    29. Matt Wesley says:

      Riding well. A few small spots of mud but overall trail is in great shape.

    30. Mike Johnson says:

      My wife and I rode it last Sunday, (2/21/16). As with most trails this time of year, it was great early – when it was still frozen. At about 4,700′ elevation the trail was about half snow and half dirt. By 4,800′ it was pretty much all snow. But… it had a nice crust and you could cruise along the top on a fatbike. I was able to get all the way to the horse camp. I’m not saying it was easy, but it was rideable. By the time I got back down to the dirt on the Coyote trail it was very sloppy.

    31. Willem Boom says:

      Horrible ice mess this morning. The snow is so packed, that it is pure slip and slide at this point. Had to bail on my attempt at a ride. Hope the new snow helps!

    32. Willem Boom says:

      Overall riding okay as of this week. Lots of other traffic on this trail is making the snow bumpy.

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