During summer months the area is typically avoided as the soil is too dry and sandy due to limited tree cover. This type of soil lends itself to drying out quicker than the west side trails, so if trails on the west side are muddy – you can often find good riding here.
Most people access these trails by parking at the base of Horse Butte which is on Horse Butte Rd. From the parking area, there is a standard 10 mile loop that can be ridden in either direction. There are also many extended options into the Swamp Wells area and even as far East as Horse Ridge.
For the 10 mile loop, many prefer to ride counter clockwise as there is one steep, loose and techy switchback section along a rock ridge on the East end that is quite difficult to climb without walking. The loop takes from 45 minutes to an hour for most people, and is more narrow than most trails on the West side of bend due to less frequent traffic. Bunch grass and sagebrush grow very close to the tread, so be mindful of sneaker rocks. One of the things that makes this a desirable area to ride is that you have views from almost anywhere along the 10 mile loop due to a past forest fire.
Half way along the loop the you cross a gravel road which you can follow a quarter mile to Boyd Cave entrance. If riding clockwise, start the loop across Horse Butte Rd from the trailhead. This is the start of Arnold Ice Cave Trail. If riding counter-clockwise, follow the gravel road along the South edge of Horse Butte and look on the left for Swamp Wells trail which has a sign about a quarter mile down.
Note there can be horse traffic at times, which can leave the trail quite bumpy in sections. These bumps iron out fairly fast once a few bikes ride through.
This is primarily a winter riding area due to the sandy soils. Winter rain and snow doesn’t hit this area as hard, and trails are often prime in the winter months.
This trail is maintained by Central Oregon Trail Alliance.