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Swamp Wells Mountain Bike Trail

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Trail Snapshot

Report (Date)
Length
23.6 miles
Elevation
5051'
Rating
Forecast
Trail is riding well right now and there are no reports of mud, deadfall, or snow.

Trail Reports

  • Joe Myers August 7, 2017 at 8:46 amSwamp Wells has been cleared from the rim down to the horse camp. Thanks Jade and John!
  • Marc Fortier July 24, 2017 at 9:04 amI thought since Cog Wild was running shuttles the top part of Swamp Wells would be clear - wishful thinking :( But most of the 9 downed trees are easily circumvented, and the trail is in great shape. Only gets sandy the last half mile to the horse camp.
  • Andrew Murray July 11, 2017 at 10:25 amRode from SE Bend to East Lake Resort on Saturday, July 8th via Coyote Trail, Swamp Wells HC and Swamp Wells Trail to the Crater Rim Trail, then down Newberry Crater Trail. Stats: 35 miles/4000' climbing/2000 feet descending. We stayed at East Lake Resort and rode home on Sunday morning. Amazing views and absolute solitude out there...never saw a rider until we were 3 miles from East Lake. From Horse Camp to the Crater Rim there were about 1/2 dozen + down trees, but nothing to difficult....only a few small snow patches on the trail. Very ride-able although not an easy ride. The pumice and lava rock about 1.5 miles and 7200' elevation from the Swamp Wells/Crater Rim junction was pretty tough. Had too flats on tubeless tires on this ride, and fortunately we had exactly two tubes that we brought with us. I may be looking for people to help fill a custom shuttle trip w/Cog Wild to be dropped off at East Lake and ride back to Bend on Saturday July 22nd. So far I have 6 riders, looking for a few more to fill the van. No guide/ must be self sufficient. message me if interested.
  • Natalie Herse July 3, 2017 at 8:38 pmRode up and back from Swamp Wells CG. Perfect conditions for my fatbike. Mostly perfect but some sandy spots at first and on the painful switchbacks up and down those darn buttes. Several downed trees started to appear around mile 6 (lost count). Then snow patches started around mile 9. Had to hike a bike and orienteer over snow towards the top (first tracks, yeah baby, much easier to ride downhill). But as soon as I hit the Paulina Rim trail intersection the snow had suddenly vanished and I saw lots of tracks (dusty!) on the rim trail for the half mile I rode west on the north side to get the view of Paulina Lake. People have been riding the Rim trail I guess?
  • Stephen Daltrey June 11, 2017 at 11:09 amRode on 10th June until snow at 6700 ft, just a couple of miles short of the end. There was also one downed tree that you need to carry your bike over, and that big one mentioned in another post. Great ride, and a long day out and back!
  • Joe Myers June 5, 2017 at 9:50 pmRode from Horse camp up hill for about 5 miles today with a chainsaw. Most smaller trees had already been cut out, but a couple were left - but after a couple steep ass climbs I hid the trailer and went without for a couple more miles. And encountered about 7 more trees (doh!). All were fairly small with the exception of a beast that is on one of the buttes and a trail has developed around it. Didn't have the energy to go past about Pilpil butte. No snow in sight and turned around at about 6400 ft elevation
  • Kristopher Siewell April 17, 2017 at 12:05 pmTotally agree with Eric trail is great shape with just some snow spots great loop on Saturday but man thou's pinecones are evil
 

Trail Description

Swamp Wells starts at Horse Butte and goes all the way up to Newberry Crater rim. Most people only ride the bottom sections to make loops in the 10-30 mile range.

The trail is mostly in the trees and would be similar to a trail in the Phil’s area, but with far fewer riders, and a more remote feel. The trail is used by horses near horse butte and in the middle near the horse camp. As you get higher in elevation the trail gets a little more primitive.

From the horse camp up to Newberry, the trail is rarely cleared of deadfall, so keep this in mind if riding the entire trail.

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.

Trail Photos

Before heading out, please take a minute to look at the Rules of the Trail.
More pix @bendtrails and #bendtrails.

Trail Reports » Swamp Wells

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  1. Joe Myers says:

    Swamp Wells has been cleared from the rim down to the horse camp. Thanks Jade and John!

  2. Marc Fortier says:

    I thought since Cog Wild was running shuttles the top part of Swamp Wells would be clear – wishful thinking :( But most of the 9 downed trees are easily circumvented, and the trail is in great shape. Only gets sandy the last half mile to the horse camp.

  3. Andrew Murray says:

    Rode from SE Bend to East Lake Resort on Saturday, July 8th via Coyote Trail, Swamp Wells HC and Swamp Wells Trail to the Crater Rim Trail, then down Newberry Crater Trail. Stats: 35 miles/4000′ climbing/2000 feet descending. We stayed at East Lake Resort and rode home on Sunday morning. Amazing views and absolute solitude out there…never saw a rider until we were 3 miles from East Lake. From Horse Camp to the Crater Rim there were about 1/2 dozen + down trees, but nothing to difficult….only a few small snow patches on the trail. Very ride-able although not an easy ride. The pumice and lava rock about 1.5 miles and 7200′ elevation from the Swamp Wells/Crater Rim junction was pretty tough. Had too flats on tubeless tires on this ride, and fortunately we had exactly two tubes that we brought with us. I may be looking for people to help fill a custom shuttle trip w/Cog Wild to be dropped off at East Lake and ride back to Bend on Saturday July 22nd. So far I have 6 riders, looking for a few more to fill the van. No guide/ must be self sufficient. message me if interested.

  4. Natalie Herse says:

    Rode up and back from Swamp Wells CG. Perfect conditions for my fatbike. Mostly perfect but some sandy spots at first and on the painful switchbacks up and down those darn buttes. Several downed trees started to appear around mile 6 (lost count). Then snow patches started around mile 9. Had to hike a bike and orienteer over snow towards the top (first tracks, yeah baby, much easier to ride downhill). But as soon as I hit the Paulina Rim trail intersection the snow had suddenly vanished and I saw lots of tracks (dusty!) on the rim trail for the half mile I rode west on the north side to get the view of Paulina Lake. People have been riding the Rim trail I guess?

  5. Stephen Daltrey says:

    Rode on 10th June until snow at 6700 ft, just a couple of miles short of the end. There was also one downed tree that you need to carry your bike over, and that big one mentioned in another post. Great ride, and a long day out and back!

  6. Joe Myers says:

    Rode from Horse camp up hill for about 5 miles today with a chainsaw. Most smaller trees had already been cut out, but a couple were left – but after a couple steep ass climbs I hid the trailer and went without for a couple more miles. And encountered about 7 more trees (doh!). All were fairly small with the exception of a beast that is on one of the buttes and a trail has developed around it. Didn’t have the energy to go past about Pilpil butte. No snow in sight and turned around at about 6400 ft elevation

  7. Kristopher Siewell says:

    Totally agree with Eric trail is great shape with just some snow spots great loop on Saturday but man thou’s pinecones are evil

  8. Eric Kutter says:

    About 6 snow spots of about 20′ in length which are kind of rideable in the last mile to Swamp Wells. Other than that, the trail is in great shape all the way to Swamp Wells. Lots of pine cones though.

  9. Brian Frankle says:

    Rode Arnold Ice Cave – North Swamp Wells Loop this morning. Patchy snow prior to Swamp Wells Butte (riding from Arnold), but nothing too inconvenient. Zero blow down, trails were in fine shape

  10. Patrecia Hedges says:

    Rode up to Swamp Wells Rd (the red road). Multiple hike-a-bike patches of snow in the last couple miles, including the small canyon which was mostly snow. But overall, better than expected!

  11. Joe Myers says:

    rode up swamp wells a few days ago. No snow until about 1/2 mile past Kelsey butte in manageable patches. Took a Ed just past the next small butte over to coyote loop. Road had several snow patches. Coyote was clear all the way down.

  12. Paul Armstrong says:

    Snow has receded nearly to the Coyote Loop trail. After Kelsey Butte, the trail is a bit overgrown in places, making it difficult to get through unscathed.

  13. Roger Schultz says:

    The trail couldn’t be better. Made it halfway up Kelsey Butte before turning around due to snow patches

  14. Zach Blickman says:

    Good for a few miles south of China Hat, snow patches start around rd 1814

  15. Josh L says:

    Went out yesterday to check Swamp Wells from China Hat going south.

    It’s unrideable. Still tons of snow, and ground is very soft.

    In this area, best bet is to ride the cinder roads, then maybe the forest service roads, but even those are still covered with snow under the trees.

    1. Josh L says:

      Checked again yesterday, still too many snow patches (south of China Hat).

  16. Brian Frankle says:

    Rode Swamp Wells – Arnold Ice Cave Loop this morning. A bit of ice/snow on Kelsey Butte and higher sections of trail just before the Horse Camp as well as on the top end of Arnold. Surface was hard and fast. One downed tree between RD 550 and 570. Few soft spots on Arnold but nothing significant. Trail was in great shape.

  17. Natalie Herse says:

    Rode from the horse camp up towards Paulina. Made it 6.5 miles before turning back due to time constraints. Didn’t hit snow. Perfect tread, a few trees down.

  18. Patrecia Hedges says:

    Good to the horse camp.

  19. David Welton says:

    Rode up from Paulina lake and then down Swamp Wells to Coyote Loop and Horse Butte.

    This is a really beautiful trail with a lot of variety if you do the whole thing: pumice deserts, fast swoopy stuff in the forest, rock gardens. I’m surprised that it hasn’t been ridden more. It could use it, as it’s a little bit overgrown in spots.

    It could also use some work on the switchbacks going up and down some of the buttes on the way.

  20. Eric Kutter says:

    Did the loop from Horse Butte to Swamp Wells. Out on Swamp Wells, back on Arnold’s. Swamp Wells was in surprisingly great shape. The outer 2/3 rds of Arnold’s was pretty rough. Seems like it gets a lot more horse traffic than bike.

  21. Chad Ash says:

    Trail is clear all the way from the top down to Swamp Wells Horse Camp. It gets more, and deeper, mob dust the closet you get to the horse camp.

  22. Natalie Herse says:

    Surprisingly not dusty nor horse tracked today. Fun! And the flowers are spectacular, especially my newly named “Paintbrush Alley” (the climb up the westside of Kelsey Butte) where the paintbrush are going nuts. And I only saw one other rider out there.

  23. Marc Fortier says:

    Went a few miles past the horse camp towards Paulina. Numerous trees down, about 10-12 per mile. Nothing major – a couple of minor bushwacks. Turned around at the road on the other side of that lava butte climb

  24. Bruce Bradshaw says:

    No snow and no trees across to horse camp.

  25. Marc Fortier says:

    Swamp Wells : a couple of snow patches and 2 trees down near the top. Riding great.

  26. Garrett Hampton says:

    Popped on trail just south of Kelsey Butte & rode to Bessie. Trail was in pretty good condition – there was a couple moondust sections but not bad at all.

    Trail was also clear. (Did see a few fresh cuts)

  27. David Anderson says:

    Rode from town up Swamp Wells and down Coyote on Sunday. As others have said, a little bit of snow to negotiate. About 10 trees across the trail up high that you need to negotiate as well.

    1. Bruce Bradshaw says:

      This is confusing since the COTA Worklog had the dead fall being cleared yesterday. You could have been there before the trees got removed.

  28. Bruce Bradshaw says:

    Still a small patch of snow just beyond the south end of the “alt hard line”. Another rider got turned back by snow not far beyond that. I took the 350 road for half mile to Coyote Loop. Another small patch of snow on the road which I road thru.

  29. Patrecia Hedges says:

    Oh so nice! Really good riding! Hit hefty snow in the little canyon about 1/2 mile before Swamp Wells Rd but it is hike-able. Then took the road over to Coyote. Did not try to make it to the horse camp.

  30. Stephen Bryson says:

    The trail up past Kelsey butte to the intersection of the alt hard line is perfect, couldn’t be better, get sum

  31. David Anderson says:

    Road lower swamp. Still some snow here and there. Roads in area good option.

  32. Shane DeMars says:

    Kelsey Butte is now dry. Got stopped about 1.5 miles past there by a very large patch of snow in a low spot. If you know where you’re going you can probably get past this or even cut over to Coyote as it appeared to be an isolated spot.

  33. Nick Skinner says:

    Last snow still hasn’t melted off Kelsey butte. Got to the base and turned around this morning.

  34. Ballard Dustin says:

    Rode from horse butte trailhead to almost swamp wells horse camp where I lost the trail due to snow.. dirt was good for almost all of the ride few downed trees very short hike a bike sections no mud. wound up turning around and riding the double track to coyote lp trail which was in great shape

  35. Josh L says:

    Confirming previous report: trail south from China Hat Rd nice dirt – one mud puddle and 2 downed trees – I turned around at the first giant patch of snow, as it was deep, about 40 minutes in. Any more rain and I would avoid.

  36. Natalie Herse says:

    We rode our fatbikes from China Hat to the base of Kelsey Butte. It was pretty much hero dirt with a few short snow patches and 2 downed trees. We got about 200 yards up Kelsey but had to turn back as we suddenly hit about 6″ slushy unrideable snow from there on up. Hopefully by next week we can summit Kelsey? Good fun!

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