Be sure to visit this diverse trail system for mountain biking at Horse Ridge and Horse Butte in the spring before the summer dust descends.
On the east side of Bend, a mixture of rocky volcanic lava sediment and delicate sagebrush lines frame intermediate singletrack on both the Horse Butte and Horse Ridge trail systems, which share a name but not a trailhead. (Horse Butte sits on the east side of Bend, north of China Hat Road. Horse Ridge is located near the Badlands Wilderness Area south of Highway 20.) These spring riding havens have much in common and offered a midwinter reprieve for a few hearty cyclists emerging from hibernation.
Horse Butte offers various beginning and intermediate loop options consisting of ten to thirty miles of high desert panoramas. While we were investigating the trails, we also took some time to explore the expansive lava cave systems by headlamp just to change things up a bit.
From there it was on to Horse Ridge where we steered our bikes over slightly more technical lava rock terrain on our way to Crazy Horse loop. We linked up with the Parkway trail and took a fast and winding descent through the Horse Ridge Research Natural Area where the trail began to open, and the rolling desert hills welcomed us with stunning wildland vistas.