Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Top 10 Places to Visit in AZ

While doing the Antelope Peak Challenge this weekend, I was thinking about The Top Under-Estimated Rides in Arizona. I had most of them in my head from the 15+ hours on the trail, came home to write them down, and then added some pictures. Pretty effortless, but it gives you an idea of what you can ride here in Arizona (this post is partly motivated by Tom P also who was asking about the best singletrack in and around Tucson).

These are the places that (unfortunately or fortunately) are not people's radar. You would be hard pressed to find someone that has done 2-3 rides on this list. These are intermediate to advanced trails, rocky singletrack. Also, there will be some moments of hike-a-bike, but unless otherwise stated, these moments are very minimal.

Photo Credit: If I am in the picture, Scott or Ty took the picture, otherwise they are all my pictures.

1. Ripsey Segment on the AZT near Kelvin
A little on the remote side, but you can do it from the Florence-Kelvin Highway as a loop or simply park on Freeman Rd near Antelope Peak/Willow Springs Area. This is best ridgeline trail in all of Arizona.












2. Brown Mountain and Golden Gate, Tucson Mountain Park


One of my favorite rides in the Tucson area. Many people just do one or the other, when you can combine both Brown and Golden, you get a sweet, chunky ride. Linking up can be done in several ways, either via Prospertor or Gates Pass Trail.







3. Red Ridge Epic, Mt Lemmon

Red Ridge drops off the back side of Mt Lemmon, dropping some 6k feet in less then 4 miles. Epic indeed. Not for the faint at heart, but it is very rewarding. Make sure to get the current beta for this ride it has been known to be lined with downed trees and tons of scratchy bushes.









4. Yaeger (#28) or Trail 105, Mingus Mountain, Prescott

Few have ever ventured up 105. It is normally done as a shuttle ride down to Cottonwood. It is a great ride up (until the very end) and you'll have a lot more time to take some shots. Parking at Jerome and taking some double track to 105 is a quick way to see this trail. Trail #28 is fast, fun and short.








5. Bill Williams Mtn, Williams, AZ

Aspen singletrack on one side, tight fun switchbacks on the other side. Best done as a sem-epic loop from town.







6. Box Canyon Rd to Pistol Hill, AZT Jamboree Route, Sonoita

With almost 95% singletrack, this 38 mile shuttle ride is a blast. Done as a fundraiser ever year for the AZT, it will make you grin the entire way.













7. Picket Post on AZT, Superior

The "BCT (Black Canyon Trail) of Superior", the Picket Post trail is a little more technical but just well-built. As soon as people from Phoenix realize this is their backyard, I guarantee it will see a lot more traffic. If you finish early and want some grub, stop by Los Hermanos in Superior for the amazing green/red chile burritos. Best done as two out-n-backs from the Picket Post parking lot.



8. Riding out on East Mesa on the Kaibab, AZT

Speechless. After you see the view and the singeltrack. All too often, mountain bikers only do the Rainbow Rim Trail on the west side. Big mistake. The AZ Trail offers equally stunning views with better singletrack. For a real epic, start at Sublime Pt Rd in the National Park and go to Jacob Lake (shuttle required). Or consider doing the Kaibab Monstercross.









9. Cherry Tank and Upper 50, 50 Year Trail, Tucson

Climb, climb, climb. Few people venture up to Cherry Tank at the 50 Year Trail. If you add trails like Around the Mountain, Buddha, Deer Camp, or Baby Jesus, you'll want to never leave. Plenty of b-line options for those with bigger bikes. This is the big bike mecca of Tucson.










10. Upper Javelina and Wild Mustang, Tortolitas near Tucson

Less than a handfull of people have ridden this trail since it was constructed a year ago. If you love tight switchbacks, steep techy climbs, this is a must do ride. You can do it as an out-n-back in about 3 hours, or make it into an epic loop (a GPX file would be required for any loops) into the heart of the Tortolitas.













7 comments:

PirateGirl said...

Awesome! I'm going to make this my AZ riding bucket list. :)

Dug-da-Goat said...

Bucket List? Bring the Dump Truck, these look like some awesome rides. Thanks for sharing the stoke Chad!

MaadJurguer said...

Very sweet indeed....love the burrito comment along with the Picketpost writeup...every ride deserves a burrito.

Dave Harris said...

Nice list Chad!

RandyBoy said...

Love the reference to Picket Pin again. Where does one go to eat in Superior when spicy food becomes too hot or unhealthy for the upper and lower GI tract due to advanced age? I can't do hot and spicy anymore these days after rides, gives me Acid Reflux. Need a bit more bland diet? Suggestions?

Chad said...

Ah man, tough call. I have always eaten at Los Hermanos. You might have to look around if you are gonna try to ride and eat afterward.

kyle said...

Chad - these trails look awesome. Thanks for the post.

Regarding #8 - There are 3 different passages and 2 loop trails on the AZT for the Kaibabs and I wasn't sure which one made your #8. Would you mind telling me which passage it is, or if it's one of the loop trails please?

Here are the links to the passages and loop trails:

passage 40:
http://www.aztrail.org/passages/pass_40.html

passage 41:
http://www.aztrail.org/passages/pass_41.html

passage 42:
http://www.aztrail.org/passages/pass_42.html

loop for passage 40:
http://www.aztrail.org/looptrails/EastRimNorthCanyonLoop.jpg

loop for passage 41:
http://www.aztrail.org/looptrails/AZTrail101FR205Loop.jpg

Thank you!

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