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The Best of Peterson Ridge Mountain Bike Trails

Get out on the flowy cross-country mountain bike trails at Peterson Ridge in Sisters, Oregon. Discover the best route, trails, and more!

Landscape views out over Peterson Ridge forest in Oregon with cone-shaped volcano in the distance

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A few years ago, I spent a summer checking out the mountain biking and singletrack trails around Bend, Oregon. One of my favorite outings was exploring the Peterson Ridge mountain bike trails in the nearby town of Sisters.

Peterson Ridge is a stacked-loop network, which means that you can do a quick, easy low-mileage pedal or do the full outer loop, which is just under 18 miles.

I thought the trails were well-routed with a good mix of flow and minor tech. And the higher you go, the better the views!

In this post, I share everything you need to know about exploring Peterson Ridge on two wheels including the best trails to ride, route recommendations, and more!

(Sorry about the lack of photos, I guess I was in the zone and forgot to stop!)

Peterson Ridge In a Nutshell

To be honest, most of the riding around the Bend and Sisters area is pretty similar. There’s not a ton of technical riding and the terrain caters mainly to the cross-country crowd.

But that being said, I thought Peterson Ridge had some of the best views and the trails did feature a tiny bit of rock and roll sprinkled in among the many miles of buff singletrack.

It’s a great place for all types of riders of all skill levels from XC hammerheads to families with kids to chargers looking for speed and gravity-fed fun. And the higher up you go, the better the panoramic views of the Three Sisters, Broken Top, and Mt. Washington!

Singletrack mountain bike trail through the forest at Peterson Ridge in Sisters Oregon
Much of Peterson Ridge is buff, fast singletrack but the higher up you go the more technical it gets (with better views!)

Important Things to Know

Mountain biking at Peterson Ridge is awesome, but there are a few things to know before hitting the trails:

  • e-bikes are NOT allowed: Please respect this.
  • Trails are multi-use: You’ll see hikers, trail runners, and occasionally horses on the trails. Please be kind and courteous and say hi when you pass!
  • There is no water: If you plan on doing the full 18-mile loop make sure you bring plenty of water.

Best Trails & Route recommendations

The Peterson Ridge mountain bike trail network has almost 40 miles of trail, and honestly? They’re all pretty good!

The singletrack is also set up as a stacked loop system, which makes it easy to do any length of ride from a short 2-mile pedal all the way up to 20, 30, or even 40 miles.

My two favorite trails at Peterson Ridge are:

  • Peterson Ridge Trail East (upper and lower): Easy, mellow climb up the east side of the trail network
  • Peterson Ridge Trail West: The Upper stretch has the most ‘tech’ and the best views. The Middle and Lower sections are fast and flowy as a descent.

Peterson Ridge Mountain Biking Trail Map

Route recommendation

>> PRT – Up East Down West

This route follows the entire Peterson Ridge Trail by climbing up the east side and descending down the west. I definitely recommend doing the loop clockwise or else you’ll be climbing most of the techy sections.

The best views are up near the top!

  • Route difficulty: Intermediate
  • Mileage: 18 miles
  • Route type: Loop
  • E-bikes? No
  • Elevation gain/loss: 979 ft
  • Map/GPS: TrailForks

Route directions: Peterson Ridge Parking > Peterson Ridge Trail East > Peterson Ridge Trail West

Route notes: Ride the loop clockwise

Do less: You have a lot of options to make this loop shorter since the trail network is designed as a stacked loop system. Simply pedal up as far as you want, take a cross-over trail, and head back down to your car.

If views are what you’re after, park at the Upper PRT Parking and do a clockwise loop from there. The first section on PRT West – Upper does have some slightly technical rock gardens, so starting here is best for intermediate riders or you can walk these short sections.

Singletrack mountain bike trail through the forest at Peterson Ridge in Oregon with mountain and volcano skyline in distance

Best time to Ride Peterson Ridge

I rode Peterson Ridge in July and it was pretty hot, but not unbearable. I did bring 3 L of water in my hydration pack and drank most of it.

I’d say late spring through summer and early fall are the best times to ride Peterson Ridge, but always check the forecast before heading out. It can snow in late spring and early fall and it wouldn’t be fun getting caught out there in a snow or hailstorm!

The Sisters Stampede

Looking for some friendly competition? The Sisters Stampede is a mountain bike race that takes place each year at Peterson Ridge on Memorial Day weekend.

The race is open to everyone and offers two courses: a 14-mile loop and a 27-mile loop. Many riders do take it seriously while others do it just for fun.

In addition to the race, there’s also a free kids’ race, a silent auction, and a post-race party. You can learn more about the Sisters Stampede here.

Final Thoughts

I really enjoyed my day out on the trails out at Peterson Ridge. I particularly like how they built it in a stacked loop system, so riders of all levels and abilities can experience the trails.

I chose to do the full 18-mile loop, but there are lots of ways to make your ride shorter (or longer!). I do recommend riding down the upper section of Peterson Ridge Trail West, though, for the awesome views.

If you head to Peterson Ridge, let us know your thoughts and experience in the comments below!

Have you explored the mountain bike trails at Peterson Ridge near Sisters, Oregon? What did you think of the stack-looped system? What’s your favorite route to ride? Leave a comment below!

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