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Trail Running: Bend and Central Oregon
by Lucas Alberg (Wilderness Press)
Though the name itself may not conjure up inviting images of mountainous beauty, the Swampy Lakes area is nonetheless worth exploring. Popular with mountain bikers as a launching point to numerous trails in the area and beyond, Swampy Lakes also provides runners with multiple loop options o?ering just enough visual stimuli to keep things interesting. The Swampy Lakes Loop o?ers several routes of varying distances on rolling terrain and moderate elevation gain.
100 Classic Hikes in Oregon
by Douglas Lorain (The Mountaineers Books)
The well-named Swampy Lakes are nestled in a scenic meadow east of Mount Bachelor, where visitors can enjoy excellent views of both that snowy landmark and nearby Tumalo Mountain. The lakes are a popular destination with cross-country skiers in the winter but are virtually deserted once the snow melts. That is a shame, because the trail has a lot to offer, including impressive waterfalls, pleasant forests, and colorful wildflowers. Unfortunately, Swampy Lakes also offer a lot of something else: mosquitoes (hardly surprising, given the name). As a result, this hike is best done as a day trip, at least until mid-August when the insect hordes have died down.
Snowshoe Routes: Oregon
by Shea Andersen (The Mountaineers Books)
Ask Bend locals where to go snowshoeing on a winter’s day, and they’re likely to tell you to head for Swampy Lakes for two reasons. First, the Swampy Lakes Sno-Park accesses many trails of widely varying difficulty. And second, it’s a good place to tell tourists to go so locals can have their secret haunts to themselves. But there’s no reason to disdain Swampy Lakes. It is popular, yes. But because it has so many different trail options, you can easily find a route to accommodate your needs for both exercise and wintry peace. Beginners will find at least three loops less than 2 miles long. More advanced snowshoers can fill their entire day covering trails more than 8 miles long.
Mountain Biking Bend
by Scott Rapp (Falcon Guides)
16 miles west of Bend on the Cascade Loop Highway. Rolling singletrack, views of Swampy Lakes through trees. The route is well designed.
Mountain Biking Oregon: Northwest & Central Oregon
by Lizann Dunegan (Falcon Guides)
This local ride is a great afternoon or weekend getaway in the Deschutes National Forest. The route follows a popular cross-country skiing route and twists and turns through a lodgepole pine and cedar forest to the Swampy Lakes Shelter. It continues by traversing a ridge to the Swede Ridge Shelter, where you’ll have grand views of Broken Top. You’ll complete the loop by a series of ups and downs and then get one last cardio rush on an intense hill climb back to the Swampy Lakes Sno-Park. Trail surface: 6.5 miles of singletrack and 1.6 miles of doubletrack.
Swampy Lakes is a great, short trail for beginners to cut their teeth on. A couple of short and steep climbs (15 foot), a variety of soil from rocky to loose and sandy to ruts and some twisty technical turns make it fun for anyone starting out to learn the ropes. It's got great access right off the highway and very kid friendly. For stronger riders, make a day and ride all the snowparks ! I've found that running a lower tire pressure works great here !
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