One of Central Oregon’s best-known secrets is that despite being a world-class ski area, we’re also a great place to ride bikes year round.

A fantastic and fairly new spot for winter mountain biking is the Maston trail system north of Tumalo, just 15 miles from the Old Mill District.

Maston is almost all singletrack, offers great views of the Deschutes River Canyon, and is rideable for just about any skill level. (It’s also pretty fun to explore on a gravel bike, though there are a few spots you’ll want to dismount.) There’s a handful of minor technical sections – most intermediate riders should be able to ride everything Maston has to offer – and two trailhead entrances help spread out traffic.

Here’s our tips for how to get the most out of riding Maston this winter:

– Make sure you have an up-to-date physical trail map. REI sells Bend-area trail maps, as does just about every other bike shop in town. It’s tough to go wrong with the classic waterproof Adventure Map. Also, download the Bend Trails app for trail conditions and route suggestions.

– Get their early! Trailheads are filling up fast this winter as everyone’s looking for ways to get outside. (Which is great!) To try and avoid crowds, try starting from the northern Juniper trailhead as opposed to the main Maston trailhead – named Maston – off of Newcomb Road. Maston’s main entrance point has a larger parking lot, is closer to Bend and typically fills up faster than its northern counterpart. Maston’s sandy trails are also great early in the morning when they’re partially frozen.

– Recon the area by riding the outer rim, which is a little over 12 miles, and then add inner loops for more miles. We’d also suggest going counterclockwise, in part to get the views of the Deschutes River earlier. And it just seems to flow better. You’ll gain about 520 feet doing the outer trail. Add a few more miles on with Maston’s inner loop, which totals just under 8 miles. This shorter route is a great winter introductory ride for beginners or youth riders and it’s usually less busy than the outer loop.

– Be a good neighbor. Maston’s popular with horses riders and hikers, be sure to yield to both. And please don’t bomb down Newcomb Road.

– Finally, get creative! With multiple loops, it’s easy to put together new routes every time you ride Maston. And if you’re looking for some elevation, add in a climb and downhill adventure at neighboring Cline Butte.