The Sisters Region offers stunning spectacular cycling venues over the Cascade Volcanoes and the High Desert on generally well maintained asphalt/chip seal roads and light automotive traffic. The following road bike routes below start/finish at the Sisters Village Green in the City of Sisters, with nine routes, some incorporating three of the Oregon Scenic Bikeways. Discover why the Sisters Region is road cycling heaven.
Length: 19 miles. Surface: Paved (some chip sealed) road with 4’ shoulder on Camp Polk Rd. Moderate but often fast traffic on Camp Polk Rd and light traffic on remaining roads.
Description: A relatively flat out-and-back ride to the NE of Sisters, through sparse residential developments and juniper forests with some good views of Black Crater, the Three Sisters and other mountains. Great for spring training. Take N Locust / Camp Polk Rd from Sisters, and continue straight on Wilt Rd. At the intersection with Buffalo Road continue through Squaw Creek Canyon Estates, and veer left onto Mountain View Rd to end of pavement. Return, staying left on Mountain View Rd along the edge of the canyon and through a very short patch of gravel onto Canyon Crest Dr, right onto Stardust Ln, and then left on Wilt Rd to return to Sisters.
Access: Start at Sisters Village Green – take Fir St north, right on E Hood Ave, right on Hwy 20 and then an immediate left (north) onto Locust St, which becomes Camp Polk Rd at the city limits.
Indian Ford Road paved bicycle route [To Top]
Length: 19 miles Surface: Paved (chip sealed) road with 4’ shoulder on Camp Polk Rd. Moderate but often fast traffic on Camp Polk Rd and light traffic on Indian Ford Rd.
Description: This is a relatively flat out-and-back ride with a few rollers along a beautiful back road lined with Ponderosa pines and open fields and with many lovely views of the Sisters Mountains. Take N Locust / Camp Polk Road out of Sisters turning left (west) onto Indian Ford and out to NF-11, returning the same way. A 15 mile variation with a fast return would be to come back on Hwy 20 (turn left onto NF-11 for 0.1 mile, then left onto the highway), which now has extremely smooth and wide shoulders but horrendous traffic.
Access: Start at Sisters Village Green – take Fir St. north, right on Hood Ave, right on Hwy 20 and then an immediate left (north) onto Locust St, which becomes Camp Polk road at the city limits.
Three Creek Road paved bicycle route [To Top]
Length: 30 miles (with extensions on gravel) Surface: Paved (chip sealed) road with light traffic, but with annoying cracks across the pavement at regular intervals, especially at lower elevations.
Description: An out and back route south from Sisters along Elm St / Three Creek Rd / FS-16, similar to the Bend-Tumalo Falls route in Bend. This route is one of Sisters’ toughest climbs, 15 miles to the end of the pavement. The mountain views are spectacular, but you’ll work for them. You’ll conquer about 3,000 feet of climb, with some pitches as steep as 10 to 12 percent, with the steepest parts beyond the gate at the Upper Three Creek Sno-Park. Like Skyliners Road in Bend, there are minimal shoulders, but very low traffic volumes and nice forest cover, although the road surface suffers from many pavement cracks. For those willing to take their road bikes on gravel, continue about two more miles to Three Creek Meadow and Three Creek Lake, where you can rest with spectacular views of the Three Sisters mountains.
Access: Start at Sisters Village Green – take Elm St south, which eventually becomes FS-16.
McKenzie Highway 242 paved bicycle route [To Top] MAP
Length: 32 miles (with extensions up to 78 miles) Surface: Paved (chip sealed) road with light traffic, and with paved 3’ shoulders from Sisters to Crossroads (about 2 miles)
Description: If Three Creek road and Greenridge (see below) aren't enough for you climbers out there, there's always the out and back ride west from Sisters to the McKenzie Pass on Hwy 242, although the traffic can sometimes be considerable. Arguably one of the most beautiful rides in Central Oregon, the route transitions from the Ponderosa forests around Sisters, through lodgepole and fir forests, past Windy Point, to the open, often windswept lava flows at McKenzie Pass with stunning vistas of the Three Sisters in one direction and Mount Jefferson in the other. This 32 mile scenic route consists of some 4 miles of constant climbing before Windy Point, for a total elevation gain of 2,143' at the pass. At the top, in the midst of extensive lava fields and Cascade peaks, you'll find the interesting rock-constructed Dee Wright Observatory for a chance to take a break and stretch your legs. Spring (typically until mid June) riding is some of the best there is, when the road above the snow gate (9 miles from Sisters) is relatively clear but still closed to motorized traffic – giving cyclists miles of beautiful, traffic-free riding. Check with ODOT Region 4 around June for road conditions and the scheduled opening of the gates. Watch for rocks in the spring before the road is officially open. Cyclists can continue past the Observatory for a descent to Scott Lake (which adds about 12 miles to the roundtrip and another 500’ of climbing), passing through lava fields with stupendous views of the Three Sisters mountains and then into the flora of the wetter side of the Cascades. For an even longer ride, continue to Belknap Hot Springs (where cyclists can relax and refuel), adding to the roundtrip another 46 miles and 4,000’ of climbing through beautiful forests and along a series of switchbacks that offer fantastic views over the wooded Cascades to the west and south. A long, dazzling ride from the desert to nearly the rainforest.
Access: Start at Sisters Village Green – take Hood St. north, and then left onto Highway 242.
Sisters - Lower Bridge paved bicycle route [To Top]
Length: 40 miles (with extensions up to 62 miles) Surface: Paved (chip sealed) road with light traffic
Description: A good spring and fall ride, when the weather makes mountain riding unattractive. An out-and-back through rolling countryside dotted with horse ranches and llama farms, with great mountain views, especially on the return. Take Hwy 126 east from Sisters, turn left (north) on Goodrich Rd, then right (east) on Edmondson Rd, which becomes Holmes Rd. Then turn right at the T intersection onto NW Lower Bridge Road. You can turn around at the bridge over the Deschutes River (40 miles roundtrip) or continue into Terrebonne (53 miles roundtrip) or Smith Rocks (62 miles roundtrip).
Access: Start at Sisters Village Green – take Hood St. south, right onto Hwy 20 (toward Bend) and then left onto Hwy 126 (toward Redmond).
East Sisters loop paved bicycle route, with variations [To Top]
Length: 30 miles (with extensions up to t 50 miles) Surface: Paved (chip sealed) road with 4’ paved shoulders along Highway 126 and 3’ paved shoulders along Highway 20.
Description: This is a quintessential Sisters ride. The basic 30 mile loop is a great way to ride through hayfields, sagebrush flats, and juniper studded canyons and forests on mostly flat, easy, low volume backroads, with minimal riding on busy highways (3.5 miles on Hwy 126 and 0.5 miles on Hwy 20), and with majestic views of the Cascades Mountains. The loop can be ridden clockwise or counterclockwise, but the recommended direction is clockwise. Leave Sisters on Hwy 126, right (south) on Cloverdale, left (east) on Jordan which becomes George Cyrus Rd heading north, cross Hwy 126 to Goodrich Rd, continue around corner onto Edmundson, right (south) on Holmes, cross Hwy 126 to Fryrear Rd, right (west) on Highway 20, veer left on Plainview Rd, right (north) on Gist Rd, left on Hwy 20, right on Cloverdale Rd, left (west) on Highway126 back into Sisters.
There are several variations to add mileage. (1) Camp Polk Return. Get off the highway for more backroads riding. On the return, turn right (north) off Highway 126 onto Camp Polk Rd (by Aspen Lakes Golf Course, about ½ mile from Cloverdale, towards Sisters), then left at the T staying on Camp Polk Road back into Sisters (adds 3 miles to the loop). (2) Tumulo Loop. A continuation through bucolic farmland framed in great mountain views – for the price of only about 5 additional miles of highway riding. The loop begins and ends at the intersection of Fryrear Rd and Hwy 20. Continue south (left) on Hwy 20 for 2.5 miles, turn right on Tweed Rd, right on Couch Market Rd, left on Collins Rd, left on Walton Rd/Pinehurst Rd, stay on Pinehurst Rd at the T intersection, cross Highway 20, then left (north) on Gerking Market Rd, left (west) on Innes Market Rd, right (north) on Highway 20 for 2 miles, past Fryrear Rd and then left onto Plainview R. Continue along the main route. (Adds 16 miles.) Tumalo Coffee Shop: Very popular with cyclists. When reaching Hwy 20 from Pinehurst Rd, ride right (south) 1.5 miles into Tumalo on Hwy 20 for refreshments, and then backtrack onto the course.
Access: Start at Sisters Village Green – take Hood St. south, right onto Highway 20 (toward Bend) and then left onto Highway 126 (toward Redmond).
Greenridge paved bicycle route [To Top]
Length: 38 miles. Surface: Paved (and/or chip sealed) road with 4’ paved shoulders along Highway 20.
Description: Starting from the west end of the Indian Ford ride (see above), a relatively steady but easy climb past Black Butte on NF-11, through open Ponderosa and incense cedar forests, with especially rewarding views of the Sisters on the fast return descent. At the end of Indian Ford Road, take NF-11 right, up and around Black Butte into Jefferson County to the end of the pavement, for a total of 38 miles if returning along the same route, and 35 miles if the return to Sisters is via Hwy 20 where it intersects NF Rd 11. Approximately 2000’ in elevation gain.
Access: Follow directions for the Indian Ford Loop to the intersection of Indian Ford Rd and NF Rd 11.
Camp Sherman Loop paved bicycle route, with variations [To Top]
Length: About 11 miles, plus extensions of up to 12 miles, added on to the Indian Ford Ride. Surface: Paved (chip sealed) road with 4’ paved shoulders along Highway 20.
Description: This is a continuation of the Indian Ford ride (see above). For the minor inconvenience of riding along Hwy 20 for 3+ miles each way, a chance for a relatively flat ride over backroads through mature (and manicured) Ponderosa forests and along the beautiful Metolius River. Turn left at the intersection of Indian Ford Rd and NF-11, then right (west) on Hwy 20 past Black Butte Ranch, then right (north) on NF-14 toward Camp Sherman. Go straight where NF-14 veers to the right by following Camp Sherman Rd (NF-1419), then right on SW Suttle-Sherman Rd (NF-1419) into the Camp Sherman resort area, crossing the Metolius at the Camp Sharman Store - a great place for lunch before turning around, for a total of some 500’ of climbing. Metolius Headwaters return alternate. (Adds about 1 mile to the basic loop) From the Camp Sharman Store head east across the Metolius River and take a right (south) on NF-14 at the T. After a mile and a half you will see a trail access to the giant headwater spring source of the Metolius River. Walking a round trip distance of a half mile with your bike lets you view the river source. Back out on NF-14 continue south on NF-14 until you reach Hwy 20. From there you can head straight back to Sisters on the highway or choose Indian Ford to retrace your ride.
Starting from the Camp Sherman Store there are a couple of variations that offer wonderful riding along the Metolius River for the price of additional mileage. (1) Allingham Guard Station (Adds 2.5 miles). From the Camp Shreman Store ride back out west on RFD-1419 and head north on NF 1429. Take a right on NF-1217 and ride over the Metolius River, and after passing the Allingham Guard Station, head right (south) on the SW Metolius River Road (NF-900), and while staying close the Metolius River veer to the right onto NF-1419/110, cross the river again, returning to the Camp Sherman Store. (2) Bridge 99 (Adds 12.5 miles). From the Camp Sherman Store ride east across the Meloluis River and left onto NF-14 at the T, ride along through mature Ponderosa forests and old burns toward the Wizard Falls Hatchery, continuing all the way to Lower Bridge Campground and the end of the pavement. On the return take a slight right onto the SW Metolius River Rd, keeping you close to the edge of the Metolius River, as you head back to the store.
Access: Start at Sisters Village Green – take Fir St. north, right on Hood, right on Hwy 20 and then an immediate left (north) onto Locust St, which becomes Camp Polk road at the city limits. From there head out to the western end of the Indian Ford ride, and continue with the directions above.
Sisters Century Rides [To Top]
Length: About 100 miles. Surface: Paved (and/or chip sealed) roads with 4’ paved shoulders along Highway 20.
Description: If you’re up for a real challenge combine or extend some of Sisters major, most beautiful rides for two different centuries. (1) Triple Dip. In any order, climb Three Creek road, Greenridge, and McKenzie for 100 miles of glorious scenery, some 7,000’ of climbing, and exhilarating downhills. (2) Santiam Loop. Leave Sisters west along Highway 20, up over Santiam pass, descend and turn left onto Highway 126 toward Eugene, pass Belknap Springs and turn left onto Highway 242 for the return climb over McKenzie Pass.
Central Oregon Cycling Map & Guide, an excellent water proof map of cycling routes, is available at regional bike shops and other outlets.
Sisters Trail Alliance is an all-volunteer 501(c)3 non-profit organization dedicated to envisioning, building, maintaining and promoting a non-motorized, multi-user community trails system. Your contribution is tax-deductible to the extent allowed by law. P.O. Box 1871, Sisters, Oregon 97759, 541-719-8822