The Maston Trail System makes for great early spring mountain biking in Central Oregon.
In 1907, land developer W.A. Laidlaw skipped town after promising settlers land and water in the area that is now Tumalo. When he couldn’t deliver on the second part, many of the farmers went broke. The community hung Laidlaw in effigy and changed the official name of the town from Laidlaw to Tumalo.
Still, Laidlaw wasn’t a total failure. A century later some of the Tumalo Irrigation Project’s failed irrigation ditches are the backbone of a trail system that offers some of the most reliable spring mountain biking in Central Oregon.
Today, the Maston Trail System, located north of downtown Tumalo near Cline Buttes, attracts both mountain bikers and horseback riders who share the same space, but not the trails. Maston has more than 4,000 acres of land and dozens of miles of trails maintained by the Central Oregon Trail Alliance (COTA), following along the cliffs of a deep, burrowed canyon overlooking the Deschutes River as it races north toward Cline Falls.
Capitalizing on an uncharacteristically warm January day, we rode through an easy to intermediate trail system, coming across ancient juniper trees and beautiful scenic vistas. We gazed across the southern Cascade mountain range, its jagged peaks still loaded with winter snow. The riding conditions were more consistent with late spring than the dead of winter.
After nineteen miles of trail, we were searching for a bit more riding time, elevation and well-earned downward singletrack. We pedaled our two-wheeled steeds across the highway up to Cline Buttes and seized the opportunity for some seriously ripping downhill descents. Not a bad way to wake from a winter slumber.
After Party: The Bite
After two hours of steady pedaling, it was time to stroll over to Tumalo’s must-stop food truck lot, The Bite. With a vast array of different culinary delights to choose from, we grabbed for ourselves an original Kobayashi hot dog from Ronin, where East meets West in an explosive harmonization of flavors. I paired it with a Thin Red Lime beer from Laurelwood Brewing Company and reflected on our first ride of the year.
Editor’s Note: This story was originally published March, 2019.