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Upper Black Butte Loop Professional Review and Guide
"This great intermediate trail circles the million-year-old Black Butte, a well-known landmark in the Sisters area. The route travels through a majestic ponderosa pine and Douglas fir forest on a mainly doubletrack road. Fantastic views of the Three Sisters and other Cascade peaks can be seen to the west. If you want to go exploring, this trail hooks up with other mountain bike trails around Sisters that have their own secrets worth discovering. Trail surface: Doubletrack and singletrack."
--Lizann Dunegan, Mountain Biking Oregon: Northwest & Central Oregon (Falcon Guides).
Overall a fun ride. But a couple of gotchas you should be aware of.... the short singletrack section near the midway mark is very easy to miss, leading you sharply up the hill until you switchback 180 degrees and eventually the road peters out. Also the singletrack section is 6-8 inches of very loose dirt (dust, actually), making it very difficult to ride, and it's on the edge of a sharp dropoff on the left side, so be careful. Another gotcha is the trail maintenance. There were no less than a dozen logs across the road all along the ride. Some were easily stepped over, while others had to be "portaged" around, sometimes through thick brush. That brings me to the last of the gotchas. The last two miles were totally unrideable due to overgrown bushes, fallen trees, and loose soil on uphill switchbacks. Our legs were hacked up pretty good by the time we came out of the bushes. And the last quarter mile goes through an active logging area. That was pretty unsettling. Finally, there are maybe a dozen trail markers along the way, but they are only 4x4 posts about 3-4 feet tall, unmarked in any way, and posted seemingly at random spots along the trail.
The ride was actually fun, but I won't do it again until the trail receives some much-needed maintenance. The two-mile hack & slash walk at the end is not worth it.
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