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Thread: Epic AZ rides

  1. #1
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    Epic AZ rides

    Hi everyone! My buddy and I are planning on riding in AZ in late february. We've never ridden any AZ trails and are wondering if there are any recommendations. We're both advanced riders so technical stuff is always good. We are not freeriders though so endless gnarly stuff might be a little too much. I've heard of some good riding around Phoenix and Safford but would really like some local input. We're basically looking for lots of singletrack and beautiful/technical southwestern/desert riding. Oh, we only have one day to spend riding. I know, it's too short but our schedules are pretty tight. Thanks!

  2. #2
    igoslo
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    With only one day I'd say National unless that's going to be too much gnar, Hawes would also make for a fantastic sample of the desert SW.

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    Quote Originally Posted by bailout
    Hi everyone! My buddy and I are planning on riding in AZ in late february. We've never ridden any AZ trails and are wondering if there are any recommendations. We're both advanced riders so technical stuff is always good. We are not freeriders though so endless gnarly stuff might be a little too much. I've heard of some good riding around Phoenix and Safford but would really like some local input. We're basically looking for lots of singletrack and beautiful/technical southwestern/desert riding. Oh, we only have one day to spend riding. I know, it's too short but our schedules are pretty tight. Thanks!
    What days in February are you going to be here? I am going to play guide for a few out staters on the 26th and 27th.
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    It's gonna be Prez's day weekend.

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    Quote Originally Posted by SoloRider
    With only one day I'd say National unless that's going to be too much gnar, Hawes would also make for a fantastic sample of the desert SW.
    Ooh, tell me more. We can handle some gnar. Where exactly is National? How may miles/ft. elev. gain? What's Hawes like?

    Some pics of what we ride locally, always trickier and STIL. Not bragging at all, I've seen pictures of that crazy waterfall in SoMo. That's way more technical.
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    "Yabut"
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    My Vote.....

    Yep, either Hawes or National, if you're only riding for a day. National is in Phoenix, at South Mountain. That waterfall you speak of is on National. But the whole trail is not like that. Hawes is also in Phoenix.

    You mentioned Safford. That is a loooong ways from Phoenix. It would take you probably more than 5 hours (from Phoenix) to even get to the trails on Mt. Graham.
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  7. #7
    igoslo
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    Quote Originally Posted by bailout
    It's gonna be Prez's day weekend.
    Well a good number of the people on this board are going to be out of town for the big race, but you mmay still be able to find a guide for a day here on the boards.

    Here's Dale's (Epicrider) map of South Mountain, there's an elevation profile of National at the bottom.

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    Thanks for the info!

  9. #9
    I am Walt
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    1. National coast-to-coast
    2. Goat Camp long XC climb, wicked gnar descent
    Ride more; post less...

  10. #10
    I am Bob
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    If you post up before you leave with when you want to ride I bet a few Phoenix riders will join for a National ride. I'll probably be there some time that weekend.

  11. #11
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    National trail is the premeir Phoenix trail. It is very technical, but not as technical as Goat Camp. The Waterfall section is perhaps the hardest section, but as was said, most of the trail is not like that. The ride from the base of National up to the Buena Vista parking lot is perhaps the most common route, but it is generally 1 1/2 hours or less. You can ride longer on National or on some of the other easier trails at SoMo to get in a longer ride.

    Hawes is pretty, but not technical. Almost no tech sections to speak of, but it is nice. If you can do only one ride, I would do National.
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    Are you guys only considering Penix?

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    Not really. I was actually looking at the 07 IMBA calendar and saw that the February photo was taken somewhere in Safford. It's really pretty. We basically want to ride something that scenic and still have lots of technical sections. Is there a scenic loop in South mountain that includes National? No one's mentioned if National is scenic or not. I've also read about a trail near Patagonia. It's also on IMBA's epic rides list (4000ft. of vert climbing).

  14. #14
    "Yabut"
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    Quote Originally Posted by bailout
    Not really. I was actually looking at the 07 IMBA calendar and saw that the February photo was taken somewhere in Safford. It's really pretty. We basically want to ride something that scenic and still have lots of technical sections. Is there a scenic loop in South mountain that includes National? No one's mentioned if National is scenic or not. I've also read about a trail near Patagonia. It's also on IMBA's epic rides list (4000ft. of vert climbing).

    Yeah, National is quite scenic. And the views of Phoenix from up high are great! It's not secluded though. It's a farely busy trail. The trail near Patagonia is beautiful. But not technical, at all. If you happen to go there, eat at the Velvet Elvis. It's right downtown.
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  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by bailout
    Not really. I was actually looking at the 07 IMBA calendar and saw that the February photo was taken somewhere in Safford. It's really pretty. We basically want to ride something that scenic and still have lots of technical sections. Is there a scenic loop in South mountain that includes National? No one's mentioned if National is scenic or not. I've also read about a trail near Patagonia. It's also on IMBA's epic rides list (4000ft. of vert climbing).
    The AZ trail near Patagonia is on rolling grasslands and is scenic, but if I were to visit AZ for only one day in Feb. I'd ride all over South Mountain including Nat'l. Nat'l is scenic if you consider a vista of downtown Phoenix to be scenic. J/K, the terrain itself is unique and worth it.

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    So I guess National it is. Isn't that a point-to-point ride though? Any suggestions to make it a loop? Maybe a scenic ride out with no vistas of the city/houses (if possible).

    What's riding in Sedona like by the way? Is it worth riding there instead of SoMo if we're looking for more epic trails. I would imagine it's more secluded and thus adds to the "epic factor".

  17. #17
    Nat
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    Quote Originally Posted by bailout
    So I guess National it is. Isn't that a point-to-point ride though? Any suggestions to make it a loop? Maybe a scenic ride out with no vistas of the city/houses (if possible).

    What's riding in Sedona like by the way? Is it worth riding there instead of SoMo if we're looking for more epic trails. I would imagine it's more secluded and thus adds to the "epic factor".
    For quality riding, I'd pick National over Sedona any day (even more so in February). Sedona is nice but it's always left me wanting a bit. There are so many tourists crawling around Sedona that I've never felt secluded, and all the trails I've ridden there were on the short side. I'm sure there must be long and secluded trails in Sedona, I just didn't find them.

    You could take a leisurely 10 mile roll out Desert Classic at the base of the mountain range, hike up Telegraph, then descend National to make it a loop.

    You could ride up Mormon, hook into National half way up, climb Nat'l to Buena Vista, then turn around and descend National for a partial loop/out-and-back.

    You could also explore around by Javelina and the loops down by the golf course, then out Desert Classic.

    As for feeling secluded, it's a major rec area surrounded by a huge metropolis so get used to being neighborly. The Patagonia area is secluded, but like I said, if I had only one day I'd pick South Mountain, no question.

    Trust me, it won't disappoint!

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    I have to disagree. I'm not a huge HUGE Sedona fan, but the trails are solid and the landscape is great. This will anger the desert folks, but most people up here in the mountains are kinda bummed anytime we are forced to go to Phoenix for anything. Traffic, smog, traffic, smog, interstates, traffic.

    OK, need to go put on my flame-retardant suit...

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Velokid1
    I have to disagree. I'm not a huge HUGE Sedona fan, but the trails are solid and the landscape is great. This will anger the desert folks, but most people up here in the mountains are kinda bummed anytime we are forced to go to Phoenix for anything. Traffic, smog, traffic, smog, interstates, traffic.

    OK, need to go put on my flame-retardant suit...
    That's a good point. I've ridden in AZ on several occaions (Phoenix and Sedona) and the traffic in Phoenix getting to and from the trails can be a pain depending on where you're staying. In Sedona you ride right from the hotel, the trails are great (though generally not as technical as SoMo), and the scenery is spectacular. Like Nat implied it could be cold there in February but likely would be fine.

    Having said that.... you'll love SoMo and National. lots of options there. Stay near the mountain and don't sweat the traffic. You will not be disappointed in South Mountain..... unless it's stupid crowded on the trails with the holiday weekend.
    Last edited by KRob; 02-15-2007 at 05:40 PM.

  20. #20
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    Coming from Socal to ride S. Mtn this weekend (2/17-19)

    Hey there,
    I'll be in the Pheonix area this weekend and plan on doing some riding on Sat and Sun. I hear that National and Goat Camp are great fun and was wondering if anybody here would be willing to show me the fun stuff. I'm hoping for some fun rocky trail and don't mind a climb (especially if it's a fun technical one). I'll be pulling into town late Friday night so I won't have a chance to check in with a shop for info before riding on Sat. Let me know!
    -Keith

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    Thanks for the Tour!

    Hi Guys (DurtGurl and the gang),
    Thanks for the awesome ride (and beers and food) on Sat! I'm glad I hooked up with you guys! The Phoenix riding was great--love those rocks. I'll try to bring some of the SoCal crew out with me next time. If you guys are even in my area, be sure to let me know. Stay tuned for pics...

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