The upper portion of the Royal Flush mountain bike trail Benham Falls and Sunriver has been open for two years. Mountain bikers love the jumps, the berms and the tabletop features, but the trail ended in the middle of the forest — kind of in the middle of nowhere.
Recently, a contractor running an excavator and volunteers finished building Royal Flush’s flow riding features all the way down to Forest Road 41.
“What makes it unique is that it’s a very large flow trail,” said Central Oregon Trail Alliance Program Coordinator Vanessa Fron. “A lot of jumps, tabletops and built up berms. It’s not often the terrain gives us that.”
“We typically have very sandy soils so we dig a little deeper to get the good clay soils to build up these giant jumps, tabletops and berms,” she added.
It took 13 years of planning, environmental reviews and fundraising to build the 1 1/4-mile-long Royal Flush Trail.
Actual construction of the final 1/4 mile of the trail took a few weeks, with much of the heavy work performed by an excavator operator who feels his way through the project.
For more than a decade, Kyle Jameson of Black Sage Dirt Works has been getting paid to build mountain bike trails with flow features.
“It is not on paper. A lot of the trails I build from visual cues and an understanding of speed and what your speed can do as you carry it through the forest. That depicts where I put features and that is definitely something I developed over time,” Jameson said.
The business started as a hobby.
“I had to build stuff to ride when I was a kid. We didn’t have bike parks,” Jameson said.” I grew up in probably the flattest part of California. Didn’t have much in the way of biking, so I had to go into drainage ditches. Go steal a shovel from my parents and go build a jump. I’ve been building for myself until I was able to go to work building pump tracks and stuff like that.”
Royal Flush and Chain Reaction are the last in a package of trails that connect Sunriver to mountain bike trails in the Cascade Lakes, Wanoga and Phil’s complex of trails built and maintained by COTA.