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Outside » Outside Features

Above It All: High Elevation riding is wide open

During the hottest time of the year in Central Oregon some people would rather find activities that don’t involve breathing a lot of dust while dodging mosquitoes.

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During the hottest time of the year in Central Oregon some people would rather find activities that don't involve breathing a lot of dust while dodging mosquitoes. For the dedicated mountain biker these are trivial concerns but for others the call of the Coast or the lakes is too great to resist. That's OK. There are still trails with less of a dust problem and/or fewer mosquitoes, if you know where to go.

It goes without saying the mosquito count in the Cascade Lakes area is "strong". One crew leader recently reported on a scale of 1-10 the mosquitoes were an "11." Again the relationship to water here is key. Places like Cultus Lake, Waldo Lake and Lava Lake are notorious for bugs - the best thing is to keep moving or avoid those areas until later in the year.

Speaking of lakes, Waldo Lake trail has seen some recent work by Forest Service crews and should be clear of downed logs soon. Cultus Lake trails are all cleared but the Lemish / Charlton Lakes loop trail has not been. Another lake - Suttle Lake (on Hwy 20 west of Black Butte Ranch) has been opened but there is ongoing trail reconstruction along the shoreline trail. Also in the Sisters area Three Creeks road access to Trail 99 heading north is good, but the trail itself has not yet been cleared. That extension of the Metolious-Windigo trail eventually connects into the Petersen Ridge trails above Sisters. This new trail network, built by our "Sister" group - the Sisters Trails Alliance offers many ride options. Please see their website (www.sisterstrails.com) for new trail maps and other info.

All but the highest-elevation trails are open or soon to be open. Some of these are accessed by the 370 Road which connects the Todd Lake trailhead to Broken top Wilderness trails, but this road is still closed due to snow. Vista Butte (near Swampy Snow Park), lower Flagline trail and Flagline tie have all been cleared and this area can have fewer mosquitoes than other areas. Please keep in mind that upper Flagline is still closed.

Southeast of Bend, The Newberry Rim trail has not yet been cleared and there is still patchy snow but this should disappear very soon. Trails in the Ochoco National Forest are open but there is some contract trail work occurring. Please be aware of new trail conditions and active work zones especially in the next week or so along the Lookout Mountain trail.

Send trail-related info, questions or concerns to chairman@cotamtb.com. Thanks!

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