This local favorite 13-mile loop starts at the Skyline Snow Park and can be finished in one to two hours depending on your fitness.
From Skyliner Snow Park (ride this loop clockwise), 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 sweet 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 on 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 the 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. Within a couple of 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 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 hard right back onto Tumalo Creek trail back toward the snow park. This trail is wide open and fast, and care should be taken to control your speed as there are plenty of hikers, and several blind corners.
This loop is maintained by Central Oregon Trail Alliance.