The trailhead was crowded.
That’s been a frequent theme this summer, as more and more of us are seeking for the freedom and fresh air of outdoor activity at some point of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The advantage of mountain biking is that it constantly looks extraordinarily easy to get away from the hordes as soon as you go away the trailhead.
Everybody had the identical idea as our group: start from Dutchman and experience candy Central Oregon singletrack almost all the way back to Bend for some 25 miles.
But we knew we would sooner or later depart the crowds behind as we climbed thru a far off woodland of towering old-growth trees, the morning sun seeping in via cracks in the canopy.
Flagline, one of the most famous high-elevation trails close to Bend, is exceptional tackled as a shuttle — experience it downhill and then take any combination of trails back to city or back to the place your auto is parked.
We left our cars at the Cascade Lakes Welcome Station Trailhead west of Bend and rode up to Dutchman in a friend’s truck, all sporting masks and good distanced in the spacious cab.
Every time I journey Flagline I am so looking forward to the downhill that I neglect the trail begins from Dutchman with a grueling climb — from 6,350 ft in elevation to almost 7,000 feet.
On a chilly morning in the Central Oregon Cascades, the steep climb through the high-alpine wooded area warmed us quickly, and quickly we reached the top of the climb.
Flagline’s quickly downhill is why the path is so renowned. Riders can preserve a controlled waft around corners and over occasional rock and root boundaries on the trail.
Middle Flagline is closed until Aug. 15 each year for elk-calving grounds, which are used by using elk for birthing and elevating young.
Late August generally makes for a somewhat sandy tune alongside Flagline, but the descent is nevertheless exciting nonetheless. Come fall, after some rain and freezing temperatures and earlier than snow accumulation, Flagline will be at its high-quality for mountain bikers.
From the pinnacle of the climb, we cruised along the twisting trail, catching air right here and there over roots and other natural features. Eventually we arrived at the Swampy Lakes Sno-park area, the place we may want to take the South Fork Trail toward Tumalo Falls or the Swede Ridge Trail toward Upper Whoops Trail.
We became onto Swede Ridge, and persevered the speedy and flowing descent along a ridge that aspects dramatic views of Broken Top and South Sister.
From the Swede Ridge shelter, after snacks and view-gazing, we linked to the Sector sixteen Trail.
This trail winds through thick forest, and can seem to type of drag on forever for a bicycle owner with tired legs. But we managed the few miles alongside Sector 16 without problems adequate before connecting to Upper Whoops.
Upper Whoops consists of speedy singletrack and flowing turns. Riders need to be wary of some rutted sections brought on by using plenty of braking, and also watch out for uphill riders, as Upper Whoops is a two-way trail, not like Lower Whoops.
The trail was tremendously dust-free for late summer, and we loved the closing few miles of the ride alongside the Storm King, Grand Slam and Ticket to Ride trails before arriving lower back at the Cascade Lakes Welcome Station.
Ticket to Ride is a fairly new loop that facets an fascinating area via a small canyon.
We completed the 23-mile trip in 3 hours, 45 minutes, encountering fairly few different organizations along the way.
The experience protected about 1,000 feet of mountaineering — and 3,000 feet of descending.