As warm weather gives way to cold, some of Central Oregon's most well-known bicycle trails go to bed for the season, soon to be—or already—tucked away under the snow. But that doesn't necessarily mean trail riding has to end.
In honor of the 2022 Redmond Issue, we checked in with Central Oregon Trail Alliance Executive Director Emmy Andrews, who points out that some of the best cold-season bike riding takes place in the areas built and maintained by COTA's Redmond chapter. Here's a primer on some of the 45+ miles of singletrack trail COTA manages in and around Redmond.
- Courtesy COTA
- A COTA trail builder gets after it on an area trail.
Cascade View Trail System
Completed in early 2022, the Cascade View Trail System has been a long time in the making.
"The Cascade View Trailhead is situated on the road into Eagle Crest off of Highway 126. We're into about 12 miles of trail there—they're kind of beginner, intermediate, there's some rockier sections on the intermediate trail," Andrews told the Source Weekly. "One of the trails, Stinger, kind of climbs up this hill and has these beautiful views of the mountains. And of course, people are also welcome to walk out there, and horse trails, too."
Approval for building those trails came about four years ago, in a piecemeal fashion, Andrews said. "One trail was approved and then another trail was approved and so we've been getting those approvals and building those trails over a series of years."
The completion of the Cascade View trails in 2022 came courtesy of a grant from the Bend Sustainability Fund, VisitBend's taxpayer-supported fund financing projects "that create sustainable experiences in Bend's community," according to its website. The funds allowed COTA to finish the Stinger trail, located in a rocky area that would have taken volunteer crews a long time to build, Andrews said.
"We were able with that grant to hire a professional trail contractor and get it done in like six weeks," Andrews said. Going forward, COTA hopes to add more miles at Cascade View, including a gravity trail and a trail that would go around Eagle Crest and connect to the Cline Buttes system, which then leads to the Maston trail system—another popular spot for winter riding for Redmond residents as well as those in the wider area.
Cyclists who ride around the Cline Buttes area have been eyeing the potential construction of Thornburgh resort and wondering, how will that affect riding the buttes? The bottom line for cyclists: It won't make it worse, and it could make it better.
"They [Thornburgh's owners] have no interest in decreasing recreation opportunities. There are some trails that go on private property. The trails were built without really a formal process—they're basically unsanctioned trails—so some of them extend onto private property. To get them brought into the [COTA] inventory with that development happening, those will have to be reworked, but we think it will be able to be done without significantly changing the experience out there. Working with BLM, it looks like it actually may present an opportunity to enhance what's available in Cline Buttes."
The majority of the trails there are on Bureau of Land Management land, Andrews explained, and will continue to offer access for riders regardless of what happens with the resort. Some trails also go onto Department of State Lands properties, too, Andrews said, and with the sale of some State Lands properties to Thornburgh off the table for now, the status quo remains.
"In general, it looks like recreation will continue and potentially even be enhanced," Andrews said of Cline Buttes, adding that Thornburgh is working with a professional trail builder to plan the resort's offerings.
Situated on county property north and east of Redmond's city center, the Radlands makes for a fun and technical ride—though cycling use has decreased there in recent years due to encampments, Andrews said. But one attraction to riding there: access for more types of riders.
"The Radlands is not a huge trail system, but it allows e-bikes, first of all, because it's not on federal land, it's on county land and they don't have the same restrictions," Andrews said. "It just has really fun rocky sections that are really challenging. I feel like it's a bit of a sleeper trail area that people should probably go and check out. All of the Redmond area is great for winter riding."
But with winter riding, Andrews had one piece of parting advice: With freeze-thaw cycles being more prominent in the colder months, riders should be mindful of getting out on muddy trails, getting yourself all muddy and making a mess of the trails and creating ruts." In other words, don't ride when it's muddy, or riders are giving COTA a lot more work to keep the trails maintained.