This fun day ride takes you through open, park-like ponderosa pine forest to an overlook with a splendid view of the Three Sisters and Broken Top.
Elevation: 3,250 to 3,550 feet
Distance: 7.5 miles round trip
The ride begins at the Rodeo Grounds Trailhead, on the SW corner of the Sisters Rodeo Grounds. You’ll start out on the Peterson Ridge Trail, which takes you up onto its namesake ridge.
Then, after a little more than two miles, the Peterson Ridge Trail veers to the right at a junction. You’ll go straight ahead on the Lazy Z Loop, a scenic lollipop loop that explores the eastern end of Peterson Ridge.
At the halfway point of the ride you’ll come to a scenic overlook just off the trail. It offers a great view of the Three Sisters and Broken Top and is a nice place for a lunch break.
Some of the route is on single-track and some is on dirt roads. All junctions are clearly signed with white trailblazer diamonds on the trees.
The closest place to camp overnight is Sisters Cow Camp, a no-fee horse camp only eight miles away. Sisters Cow Camp has a vault toilet, central corrals, seasonal stock water, picnic tables, and fire rings. Or, you can dry camp at the Rodeo Grounds Trailhead, which offers no amenities other than shade.
To reach the Rodeo Grounds Trailhead from Bend, drive northwest toward Sisters for 16.5 miles. Or from Sisters, drive southeast on Hwy. 20 for 4.5 miles. Turn west on Peterson Ridge Road. Continue 0.5 mile to the parking area just past the southwest corner of the Sisters Rodeo grounds.
You’ll find more information about the Lazy Z Loop in the Peterson Ridge chapter of Riding Central Oregon Horse Trails, by Kim McCarrel, (Ponderosa Press, 2018), available at www.nwhorsetrails.com.