Deschutes National Forest
Sparks Lake/Lava Lakes Route 4 . . . A challenge with paybackbeautiful scenery: lodgepole pine and lava formations.
Charlton Lake Loop Route 18.1 . . . A very difficult trail that connects with other routes
Edison/Lava Route 31 . . . Hard route with lots of thrills
Twin Lakes/Wickiup Route 47.1 . . . Gentle, but long ride
Round Mountain/Lookout Mountain Route 47.2 . . . Feather in your cap sort of ride: two peaks in a day
Sparks Lake/Lava Lakes Route 4
This is a challenging ride for a beginner who should be in good shape and prepared to ride over some rough rocks. The scenery is beautiful as the trail winds its way through forests of lodgepole pine. Follow the trail signs for Hosmer Lake. After crossing a gravel road, you will ride through three miles of lava formations along a singletrack with rocky and sandy sections. For quite a while Mt. Bachelor appears through the tops of the trees, usually over your left shoulder. After passing the trail coming in from Todd Creek on your left, continue on to the junction of the Quinn Meadow trail, approximately three miles ahead, and bear left. The singletrack continues to rise and fall through the trees, passing by a couple of small meadows. Follow the trail to Lava Lakes, about 3.5 more miles ahead. At Lava Lakes you can return to the trailhead at Sparks Lake by retracing your route or continue along the route by taking the first right at the end of Lava Lake and riding through the Lava Lakes Campground to Hwy 46. Turn right onto Hwy. 46 and follow the paved road 13.5 miles to Sparks Lake.
Length: 23.5 miles
Difficulty: More Difficult
Trailhead elevation: 5,500 ft.
Low elevation: 4,760 ft.
High elevation: 5,500 ft.
Recommended season: Summer/Early Fall
Surface: Pavement and Dirt (10.0 miles singletrack, 13.5 miles pavement)
Trailhead: Drive 25 miles west of Bend on Hwy 46 (Cascade Lakes Hwy.) to Sparks Lake. Turn left toward Sparks Lake and follow the road to your left 0.1 mile to the trailhead on your left and park here.
Charlton Lake Loop Route 18.1
You can connect with other trails here including routes to Lemish Lake, Johnny Lake, and even to Deer Lake and Cultus Lake. To the west lies Waldo Lake. Remember: Wilderness areas and the Pacific Crest Trail are closed to bicycles.
Begin by riding west on FS 4290 for two miles to FS 962, on your left. Follow FS 962 for 1.5 miles to FS 200. Turn right and stay on FS 200 to where the road makes a sharp turn to the right. A singletrack takes off to your left through the trees for a short 0.5-mile ride to Johnny Lake. Continue on FS 200 and ride out to FS 4290. Turn left and ride about one mile to the Round Meadow trail, on your left. Logging and thinning in here make this trailhead difficult to find. Ride south on a good singletrack through the forest, bearing right at the junction of the Twins trail. Continue on past Gerdine Butte and onto the most difficult part of the ride, a series of technical climbs and descents to Charlton Lake. Follow around Charlton Lake to your left, and out to FS 4290. Turn right onto FS 4290 and ride 0.25 mile and turn left onto the Lemish Lake Trail. Ride 2.0 miles and turn right at the junction of the Clover Meadow Trail. Follow this trail for 2.5 miles and turn right at this junction to return to FS 4290. Turn left and take FS 4290 back to the trailhead.
Length: 22 miles
Difficulty: Most Difficult
Trailhead elevation: 4,500 ft.
Low elevation: 4,500 ft.
High elevation: 5,900 ft.
Recommended season: Late Spring/Summer/Early Fall
Surface: All dirt (10.5 miles doubletrack, 11.5 miles singletrack)
Trailhead: Drive 16 miles south of Bend on Hwy. 97 and take the Fall River/Hwy. 42 exit. Head 23 miles west on Hwy. 42 to the junction with Hwy. 46 (Cascade Lakes Hwy.) and head straight onto FS 4290. Drive 100 yards to the junction with FS 4291. Park here and begin the loop.
Edison/Lava Route 31
Technically challenging sections and long climbs that get rewarded with long fast downhills that are really fun. Not a good trail for beginners.
Begin at the south end of the Sno-Park and follow the LB. Tie nordic Ski trail to the Lightbulb loop nordic trail. Follow the nordic ski traiis for 1.75 mi., passing through rolling lava fields and Ponderosa Pines. Pass Edison Shelter and finally join the main part of the Edison-Lava Lake trail by fuming right 0.25 mile beyond the shelter. The trail begins a long steady climb up past Sheridan Mountain (to your south) and the equally long, steady drop down to the Lava Lakes. At Lava Lakes take a break at the small resort and either head back to the Sno-Park along the same trail or turn right and take Hwy 46 back to the Sunriver turnoff where a right turn will lead you back to your car. It's a 26-mile journey from Lava Lake to your car via this route.
Length: 20 miles
Difficulty: Most Difficult
Trailhead elevation: 4,760 ft.
Low elevation: 4,760 ft.
High elevation: 6,000 ft.
Recommended season: Spring/Summer/Early Fall
Surface: All dirt (20 miles singletrack)
Trailhead: Drive 18 miles west of Bend on Hwy 46 (Cascade Lakes Hwy) and turn left at the Sunriver turnoff. Drive 6 miles to Edison Sno-Park and park in the Sno-Park.
Twin Lakes/Wickiup Route 47.1
This is an easy ride around Wickiup Reservoir, except for the length.
Turn left onto FS 4260 and ride about 0.1 mile to the trailhead at FS 052. Turn left onto FS 052, around a gate and up to North Twin Lake. Turn right and ride beside the lake, pass through a gate at a fork in the road. At the south shore of the lake turn right, following the hiking trail. Bear left at the next fork, which becomes FS 110. Turn right onto FS 100 and ride to FS 210 (unmarked). Cut across on FS 210 out to FS 4262 where you will turn right and then head left onto FS 4260. Ride along Wickiup Reservoir approximately 7 miles. Turn right onto Hwy 44 and ride 10 miles around the reservoir, past the base of Davis Mt. and out to Hwy. 46. Turn right onto Hwy. 46 and follow this for 2 miles. Turn right onto FS 4280 and then immediately right onto FS 700 and follow this for 3 miles. Turn right onto FS 4280, which leads you back to Hwy. 42. Turn right onto Hwy. 42 and ride the 3 miles back to the Twin Lakes Resort turn and the trailhead.
Length: 30 miles
Difficulty: More difficult
Trailhead elevation: 4,340 ft.
Low elevation: 4,340 ft.
High elevation: 4,340 ft.
Recommended season: Early Spring/Summer/Late Fall
Surface: Pavement and Dirt (5.0 miles pavement, 25.0 miles dirt road)
Trailhead: Drive 16 miles south of Bend on Hwy. 97 and take the Fall River/Hwy. 42 exit. Head 19 miles west on Hwy. 42 to FS 4260. Turn left into the North Twin Lakes Campground to park.
Round Mountain/Lookout Mountain Route 47.2
A good same-day challenge of two mountain peaks. For the more motivated rider.
Head out of the Campground and turn left onto FS 4270, then make a right onto the gated road FS 255. Follow FS 255 until it goes through another gate and joins FS 250. Bear right onto FS 250 and follow this doubletrack until it joins the red cinder road FS 200. Bear left onto FS 200 and continue on to the junction with FS 4253. At this junction head straight onto FS 4256 and make the arduous 2.5-mile climb up to the top of Round mountain. The views from the top of Round mountain at the fire lookout are exceptional. To continue, return the way you came on FS 4256. At the bottom turn left and follow FS 4253 the short distance out to FS 4250 and turn right. After a short distance you will turn left onto FS 300 and then right onto FS 500. Ride up FS 500 for approximately 2.5 miles till you reach FS 4245 where you will make a left. Ride for about 0.5 mile up FS 4245 to the junction of FS 700. Here you can choose to continue up FS 4245 and make the optional 2.5-mile climb to the top of Lookout Mountain or continue along FS 700. Continue heading straight along FS 700 as it becomes FS 950 and then FS 960. Finally you will come to FS 600 where you will turn left and follow this down for 2.0 miles to FS 4250. Make a right onto FS 4250 and ride down to FS 4270 and turn left. Follow FS 4270 the 1.5 miles back to the trailhead.
Length: 23 miles
Difficulty: More Difficult
Trailhead elevation: 4,400 ft.
Low elevation: 4,400 ft.
High elevation: 6,223 ft.
Recommended season: Spring/Summer/Fall
Surface: Dirt and Pavement (21.5 miles doubletrack, 1.5 miles pavement)
Trailhead: Drive 16 miles south of Bend on Hwy 97 and take the Fall River/Hwy 42 exit. Head 20 miles west on Hwy 42 to the Crane Prairie Campground turnoff and make a right turn onto FS 4270. Drive 4.5 miles down FS 4270 to the Crane Prairie Campground/Resort and park in the day use area.
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication