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  1. #1
    Raymond Donald Franklin
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    Prescott trail recommendation for an out-of-shape newbie

    I'll be visiting my buddy in Prescott Valley next week. He agreed to come along for some MTB rides with me.

    As far as I know, he has no prior MTB or dirt bike experience. He'll be riding one of my bikes. He's out of shape just like me, perhaps more so.

    He'll be tagging along mostly out of favor, so I want him to have a good time and don't want to torture him with long, steep climbs. I'm planning to do a shuttle run on a short section of BCT (Bloody Basin Rd and Bumble Bee) as a starter - based on my research, it appears to be mostly downhill and do-able for a newbie with some guidance.

    I'd also like to find a couple of trails closer to his place that don't have tough climbing. I understand some climbing is inevitable, just want to avoid long grind.

    Any recommendation? Will consider driving to Sedona, Flagstaff, etc if there are more suitable trails.
    Last edited by Katz; 06-03-2013 at 01:29 PM.

  2. #2
    mtbr member
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    Prescott - behind goldwater lake park go towards the campgrounds - many options for loops there - easy stuff - pick up the free and AWESOME trail map at the park

  3. #3
    Raymond Donald Franklin
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    I'll check and see if I can find some videos of the area. Thanks!

  4. #4
    Shred...it's the new drug
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    you can shuttle 305. some ups but mostly down. I do that with my 5 year old and he loves it

  5. #5
    Raymond Donald Franklin
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    Oh, I didn't know that. Thanks for the info.

    Just finished watching some vids of Goldwater (396). Looks pretty n00b friendly, especially with shuttle for us out of shape old farts.

    Back to youtube searching. Trail 305....

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by latedropbob View Post
    you can shuttle 305. some ups but mostly down. I do that with my 5 year old and he loves it
    More details please. Who does the driving, length of trail, cost for the shuttle etc...
    I think I'm not as good as I thought.

  7. #7
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    Prescott trail recommendation for an out-of-shape newbie

    305= fun for everyone!
    BCT = he might never want to mtn bike again... Not a good idea for the first time.
    Fort Valley in Flagstaff is an awesome little system if take a beginner on.

  8. #8
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    Campbell mesa in Flag (or is it now, Staff?). Very flat, short loops.

  9. #9
    Raymond Donald Franklin
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    Quote Originally Posted by CridgeMTBT View Post
    ...
    BCT = he might never want to mtn bike again... Not a good idea for the first time...
    Hmm, OK. The videos I watched didn't look too bad, but I'll take your advice. Honestly, the only reason I was planning on doing BCT was it was the only trail I knew that could be shuttled. None of the web pages about 396 & 305 mentioned shuttling, so I didn't know it was possible.

    I'll look for Fort Valley and Campbell mesa vids. Appreciate your input. We'll do 396 and 305 since they are close to his place, and go from there.

    Thank you guys!

  10. #10
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    Anything in Granite Basin is pretty user friendly as long as you stay away from Mint Wash.

  11. #11
    Raymond Donald Franklin
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    So many choices, you guys are making me jealous! The closest trail is 45 minutes from where I live

  12. #12
    Ahhh the pain....
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    Yeah, I'd say stay away from BCT for 2 reasons...too HOT and not the place for a newbie...narrow, exposure, and not all downhill.
    Your limits are both physical and mental. Suffering will help you find and overcome both.
    http://onegear-ray.blogspot.com/

  13. #13
    Elitest thrill junkie
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    305 and 396 are very similar, both gradual elevation changes with a few short steeper climbs. 305 has just a couple steeper climbs, but overall the surface and general characteristics are low-intermediate. It will make a beginner feel like they are having fun without feeling they are way in over their head. 305 has the road right next to it the entire way, making it easy to bail out. It also crosses many campgrounds. 396 is newer and slightly less eroded as far as surface. Both are in the pines for the most part and have decent shade (beginning of 305 doesn't, but soon after it does).

    Other ideas would be Trail 347 in Granite Basin, as long as there's no mud (you'll know if it's a dry time or not), Trail 349 and 350 are quite a lot of fun, nice gradual downhills/uphills for the most part too, again fun for a lower level rider because they'll get to go fast and have some fun with the turns without being in danger. 332 from Iron Springs road is also a good bit of fun. A few of the climbs on the way back are steep though, but you can always walk them. Trail surface is pretty smooth.

    Prescott Arizona Area Trail Maps

    Click on the squares on the map.
    "It's only when you stand over it, you know, when you physically stand over the bike, that then you say 'hey, I don't have much stand over height', you know"-T. Ellsworth

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  14. #14
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    Prescott trail recommendation for an out-of-shape newbie

    396 is slightly higher at the east end (Senator Hwy) vs the west end (89). But you will have several climbs either way.

    305 more or less parallels Walker Rd. it is slightly higher at the southern end vs the northern end. Also several climbs either way, but some nice flow in both directions. Last time I did 305, we rode the trail southbound, then the road back. Fast downhills on the road.

    For shuttling, you will probably be looking at using your 2 vehicles for each of those. Or do out-n-backs starting in the more uphill direction. They are both lotsa fun and seem like good intros.

  15. #15
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    My son and I did 396 two weeks ago and it's a nice ride and better coming back. Great trail and a fairly easy cruise through the trees
    San Diego needs singletrack

  16. #16
    PHMOL
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    Might try the 9415 across from White Spar campground, fun trail and not much steepness and you can connect to other trails like the 48 higher up.
    TBK

  17. #17
    Control Freak
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    Just did granite Basin 2 weeks ago and it was fantastic...decent work but it pays off in the end with a 2 mile downhill back to the truck...my 2 cents..

    what day were you going?

  18. #18
    Raymond Donald Franklin
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    Thanks all for suggestions! You guys have been most helpful.

    So to summarize...

    - 305 & 396, similar, both good choices and shuttle possible (ride S-N for 305, E-W for 396). 396 has option of trying 9415 and others.

    - Granite Basin trail 347/349/350. Avoid Mint Wash.

    - Iron Springs 332. Climb out is steep.

    - Stay away from BCT

    Quote Originally Posted by Jayem View Post
    It will make a beginner feel like they are having fun without feeling they are way in over their head.
    YES! That is exactly what I'm looking for. I tried to +rep you, but MTBR sez I have to spread reps around Sorry. And thank you for the link to the map.

    Quote Originally Posted by RPS1030 View Post
    For shuttling, you will probably be looking at using your 2 vehicles for each of those.
    Don't have a bike rack, but both of my bikes fit in my little '91 BMW, and my buddy has a S-10 Blazer so we got that covered.


    Quote Originally Posted by hatedg View Post
    what day were you going?
    Not sure yet. Sometime between June 10th and 13th, and that's all I can tell for certain at this point. I can post here before we head out, but it'll be a very short notice.

    If you happen to see a couple of middle aged guys riding on the bikes below on aforementioned trails, that'd be us.

    Prescott trail recommendation for an out-of-shape newbie-9559.jpg
    Prescott trail recommendation for an out-of-shape newbie-9261.jpg


    Again, thank you all!

  19. #19
    Raymond Donald Franklin
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    We'll be riding the trail 305 tomorrow morning. We'll get there around 9:00~9:30-ish. We'll be doing one-way in south-north direction.
    Come up and say hi if you see us.

  20. #20
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    so trail 305 can be done in a loop? I'm heading up tomorrow morning for my first time riding in Prescott!

    Thanks -
    Rich

  21. #21
    Elitest thrill junkie
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    Quote Originally Posted by Linoleum View Post
    so trail 305 can be done in a loop? I'm heading up tomorrow morning for my first time riding in Prescott!

    Thanks -
    Rich
    It can, but it's not the most biker-friendly loop in terms of trail surface/grade during the first part. The good thing is that it gets better continually, but it's still a pretty good push.

    You head up Ranch Trail 62, (which gets death mud if it's wet out), and that trail takes off nearly straight up after a little bit. Maybe good to keep in mind that some of us HAVE gotten all of the climbs unbroken, but there are 3 majorly steep parts and it was more of a one-time thing that some of us were able to do these without pushing our bike. It does get a little more interesting near the top when you enter a drainage that is kind of like half-pipe, it's fun in the other direction.

    At the first intersection after the half-pipe you go right, (left gets you back to Walker Road fast, good for a gravity-bike, but be careful if this is your bail-out route, it's steep). The trail surface is kind of doubletrack. Maybe about once a year I'd meet a motorcycle on these trails, pretty rare, but you might hear a few. Most everything here can be ridden.

    At the next trail intersection, you go left. This is trail 299, it will keep you going on the ridge. If you go straight it takes you out to Senator Highway. The other nice thing is that you are much higher elevation and it's a bit cooler up there, although on a hot day you are still pouring sweat. There are a few climbs on this part that are a bit too steep and you may have to push.

    299 brings you out to Spruce Mountain Road, from here turn left and go up the road about half a mile or so, after a flat section Trail 297, Smith Ravine, is on your left. This is a fun trail that has a couple climbs on the way down, but after the 2nd climb it's pretty much downhill all the way and there are sometimes a few fun features on it to keep people entertained. It's kind of like a slightly steeper trail 305 downhill, there are a couple of berms, etc. It puts you out right across from trail 305.

    So you cross the road, get on trail 305, and continue back.

    Now, you can make even bigger loops by instead of continuing on trail 297, head up to the top of Spruce Mountain and ride the Spruce Mountain Trail 307 loop, or you can head up 305, up 297, up Spruce Mountain Road, down 307 (long way), back up, then down Spruce Mountain Road, back down 297 and 305 as an out-n-back, or even loop around Walker Road (gets above 7000') to trail 277 and hook back into the trail system there. Of course these options start racking up the vertical like mad, so 4000-5000' becomes easy to get.

    Prescott Trail Map TS1E2
    "It's only when you stand over it, you know, when you physically stand over the bike, that then you say 'hey, I don't have much stand over height', you know"-T. Ellsworth

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  22. #22
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    Thanks Jayem - I drove up this morning and had a few revelations: 1) much tighter in the pines ... compared to my normal ride at the McDowell comp loops. 2) I could really feel the elevation... pretty winded right off the bat on 305. 3) My tires were not near aggressive enough for the sharp granite shards littering the trail.

    I had TWO flats in the first 45 mins and ended up limping back on the road.

    To summarize, loved the trail, cool(er) weather, but need to plan better tires and lungs for next round.

    Thanks again.

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