The Peterson Ridge Trail, which now has a new trailhead (see related story) has become one of the signature recreational amenities of Sisters. Its creation was a true grassroots effort.

Beginning in 1987, Eurosports owner Brad Boyd and a few friends created the first “lollipop” section of a trail out into the Deschutes National Forest, south of town. Two years later in 1989 it was ready for use. The trail went out into the forest, made a loop at the end, and returned along the same route.

John Rahm, an early trail proponent, worked with former Sisters District Ranger Bill Anthony, also an avid cyclist, to form a partnership between the U.S. Forest Service and the Sisters Trails Alliance (STA) as part of a community vision process in 2005. Since that time, the STA has become a force in the community, not only advocating for expanded and improved bike, hike, and equestrian trails, but taking on rallying public support, putting their money and physical labor where their mouth is.

According to STA’s Gary Guttormsen, the original trail was called the Sisters Mountain Bike Trail. He has an old oak trail sign that has that name on it.

Rahm conceived of a new trail system that created the current ladder system with many connectors between the west and east legs of the system.

Equestrians were at first opposed to Rahm’s plan because they feared they would lose the area for riding to the new trail system. The compromise they worked out created a PRT horse trail system.

The compromise was a win-win, said Guttormsen, and “was the reason that STA emerged as an organization that builds and maintains many miles of horse trails besides the ones for hikers and cyclists.”

When STA had the opportunity to have an NEPA analysis (environmental impact study) done on new trail projects in 2011, STA asked the Forest Service to analyze a new location further along Elm Street (Three Creeks Lake Road), where a proper trailhead could be built. The FS approved the spot where the new trailhead sits.

It took seven years to obtain a Recreational Trails grant to get the facility built. STA is responsible for building the facilities kiosk and signage to the connector trail that takes people out to west and east legs of the PRT.

Besides providing a variety of over 15 loop options through beautiful ponderosa pine forests and open sagebrush country, and areas of challenging rock, breathtaking mountain views are seen from the Whychus Overlook and Peak View.

The trail is well-marked and, with the available trail map, riders and hikers are able to design their own riding and hiking experience.

The Sisters Stampede mountain bike race, held every spring (except this year due to COVID-19), draws riders from near and far.