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  1. #1
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    Progressive list of trail difficulty in Phoenix

    I was wonder if you guys could provide a list of trails that require progressive skills in the valley. I've been to the trail guide thread but the rating system are hard to sort through and are sometimes skewed by seasoned riders and hard to gage on how difficult the trail actually is. I'm thinking a list of the more common trails listed in such a way where if you can clean most of the trail, then you'll be ready for the next one from sidewalk trail to the most technical stuff. Might help the new guys like myself get started.

    -------------------------------------------------------------------
    Summary
    -------------------------------------------------------------------

    Thanks to all those that contributed. For those that don't want to read through the post, I've copied dgangi's list on 02/17/09:

    Green:

    Reach 11
    Papago Loops
    Usery Park (Usery Loop, Moonrock, etc.)
    Cave Buttes
    Desert Classic, from ramadas to the water tank
    McDowell Mtn Park Race Loops - Sport, Long
    Trail 100, from 7th Ave to 7th St
    Pemberton loop
    Pima/Dynamite
    Estrella Race Loops
    Thunderbird Park

    Blue:

    McDowell Mtn Park Race Loop - Tech loop (only for the drop-in and climb out)
    Desert Classic coast-to-coast
    SoMo East/West loops
    Trail 100, from Dreamy Draw to Tatum
    Dixie Mine
    McDowell's - lower trails (Lost Dog, Quartz, etc)
    Javelina
    Hawes/Mine Loop/Twisted Sister
    Trail 100 coast-to-coast, for your first big XC beatdown (7th St to Dreamy Draw being more advanced than the rest)
    Javelina-Mormon Loop up/down

    Blue/Black:

    Black Canyon Trail "lollipop loop", for your next big XC beatdown (not too technical, but very remote, very long, and very tiring)
    Goat Camp out-and-back XC (use caution on lower sections)
    McDowell passes - Windgate/Sunrise/Bell, for the ultimate XC beatdown (use caution on the west side of Bell and Windgate passes)
    T100 offshoots -- Trail 8, Trail 220, Mine Trail, Rocky Ridge/Mine Drop, Trail 306/Shaw Butte (front side)

    Black:

    Pass Mountain
    Hawes - tower drop
    National
    Corona de Loma
    Trail 306/Shaw Butte (back side)
    Geronimo
    24th St/Mormon

    Double-Black:

    DD-area tech - Cheesegrater, Yuri's Folly, Hairball, etc.
    Telegraph Pass
    Holbert
    Kiwanis
    Viejo (Old Man)
    Cochise
    Alta/Bajada
    Old Lady Ames
    Goat Camp full loop


    As far as the difficulty classifications go, here's my definition:

    Green = generally "easy" trail with no long sustained climbs or very rocky sections. Mostly double-track or wide singletrack. These trails are safe for beginners.

    Blue = moderate trail with some rock gardens, moderately steep grades, sustained climbs, exposure, switchbacks, and/or long distance. These trails can also be remote with little or no bail-out points. Not recommended for beginners but OK for the moderately experienced rider.

    Blue/Black = generally blue with some short black sections OR excess distance. Advanced riders will be OK, but intermediate riders will need to use caution.

    Black = difficult trail with plenty of technical areas, exposure, tight switchbacks, sustained climbs, and steep terrain. Only recommended for advanced riders. Wearing armor is a good idea.

    Double-black = extremely difficult trail with very steep terrain, chutes, tight switchbacks, exposure, and drops. Even experienced riders can be expected to walk sections of this trail. Armor should be worn.
    Last edited by filipzin; 02-17-2009 at 09:37 AM.

  2. #2
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    At South Mountain, the progression usually goes:

    Desert Classic
    East/West loops
    Javelina
    Mormon Loop up/down
    National
    Geronimo EDIT: (i.e. "Boy Scout/Sex Offender")
    Holbert
    Mormon Trail EDIT: (i.e. "24th St.")
    Then a bunch of crazy stuff you'll be well aware of once you've tackled all this -- Alta, Kiwanis, Ranger, etc.

    p.
    Last edited by Paul B; 02-16-2009 at 08:14 AM.

  3. #3
    Pivotal figure
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    Actually, Geronimo has the Boy Scout/ Sex Offender aliases. We're kinda sick like that
    Desert Sunset Calls/Upward, Pain, Perseverance/Welcome Solitude

  4. #4
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    Does Javelina end back at the PIMA lot?

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Leethal
    Does Javelina end back at the PIMA lot?
    no, it ends at the beverly canyon lot just south of 46th street and baseline. Aka 46th st lot.

  6. #6
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    you can follow it into the east loop and back to the parking lot. its about another 4 miles, fun stuff.
    and the lurker returns to the dark corner

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by kenbentit
    Actually, Geronimo has the Boy Scout/ Sex Offender aliases. We're kinda sick like that
    Duh! Yes! Bad Paul, stupid! Stupid!

    Funny that I wrote this *right* after hiking 24th St., and not coming out in the boy scout camp.

    p.

  8. #8
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    I'm sorry for my ignorance...I am new to town but on vacations here I have ridden the balance of the list except Javelina...always had a nice guide and never paid much attention.

    I would park at Pima ride up the fireroad then climb Mormom and should see Javelina as a offshoot to the right... follow Javelina back down then it should connect to the East loop back to Pima?

  9. #9
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    Very good Paul - 24th Street is just tough! Good listing in order of difficulty!

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Leethal
    I'm sorry for my ignorance...I am new to town but on vacations here I have ridden the balance of the list except Javelina...always had a nice guide and never paid much attention.

    I would park at Pima ride up the fireroad then climb Mormom and should see Javelina as a offshoot to the right... follow Javelina back down then it should connect to the East loop back to Pima?
    Yeah, when you enter the 46th St parking lot from Javelina, just keep going straight across the lot and that is east loop. It will take you back to Pima

  11. #11
    Elitest thrill junkie
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    What about the fireroad to National?

    Maybe not as much exposure as BCT, but just as steep!
    "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

    You're turning black metallic.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Leethal
    I'm sorry for my ignorance...I am new to town but on vacations here I have ridden the balance of the list except Javelina...always had a nice guide and never paid much attention.

    I would park at Pima ride up the fireroad then climb Mormom and should see Javelina as a offshoot to the right... follow Javelina back down then it should connect to the East loop back to Pima?
    Javalina is a great downhill section if you connect to it on the top. Not too steep but there are a couple of steps that you can fly off of. Your correct that javalina shoots off to the right of mormon maybe a little more then 1/4 mile past the national/mormon head. You can't really get lost on the way back as it curves around the mountain alongside the apartment buildings and the golf course at the very bottom. Taking mormon to this look will have you smiling the whole way except for the one small climb at the very very end of the east loop towards the end of the ride.
    and the lurker returns to the dark corner

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Paul B
    At South Mountain, the progression usually goes:

    Desert Classic
    East/West loops
    Javelina
    Mormon Loop up/down
    National
    Geronimo EDIT: (i.e. "Boy Scout/Sex Offender")
    Holbert
    Mormon Trail EDIT: (i.e. "24th St.")
    Then a bunch of crazy stuff you'll be well aware of once you've tackled all this -- Alta, Kiwanis, Ranger, etc.

    p.
    Adding more to a great list would be Papago probably first then DC, MMP, Hawes, and then finish the list with Goat camp, in terms of tech riding, it's about as hard as it get's.

  14. #14
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    T100 gets no love here. . . but it's a maze out there

    I keep finding more and more challenging trails out there. A little bit of everything.

  15. #15
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    Right. If I were to build a Valley-wide progression of trails, from rank amateur to full-on badass, it'd probably look something like this:

    Papago Loops
    Usery Park (Usery Loop, Moonrock, etc.)
    Trail 100, from central to Cave Creek
    Desert Classic
    Pemberton
    SoMo East/West loops
    McDowell Race Loops
    Estrella Race Loops
    SoMo fire road to Javelina
    Hawes/Mine Loop
    Trail 100 coast-to-coast, for your first big XC beatdown
    Javelina-Mormon Loop up/down
    Black Canyon Trail coast-to-coast-to-coast, for your next big XC beatdown
    National to Waterfall and back
    One of Dale's crazy NoMo routes
    EDIT: Pass Mountain!
    National to Telegraph Pass to DC
    National to Geronimo
    National to Holbert
    National to Mormon Trail
    Alta/Ranger
    Goat Camp

    If you could systematically work that list, you'd go from zero to hero in probably a year.

    p.

  16. #16
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    I love SoMo and would say Paul's list is right on. However, the PMP/T100 area is just as good if not better. The only caveat, IMO, is there isn't much in the way of "beginner friendly" stuff out there, particularly on the east side of the 51.

    Sure T100 itself isn't difficult, but it's rocky and has a couple of washes that would be tough for new riders. And the difficulty just goes up from there.
    d

  17. #17
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    Wow great responses. Thanks a lot. It was always frustrating looking at trail ratings and only seeing either beginner or advanced but nothing in between for the valley.

  18. #18
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    Filipzin: You may find better information in a published guidebook. Check the VISITORS READ HERE FIRST for a good list.

    I'm not dissing the user-generated content of MTBR, but there's something to be said for editorial oversight.

    p.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Paul B
    Right. If I were to build a Valley-wide progression of trails, from rank amateur to full-on badass, it'd probably look something like this:

    Papago Loops
    Usery Park (Usery Loop, Moonrock, etc.)
    Trail 100, from central to Cave Creek
    Desert Classic
    Pemberton
    SoMo East/West loops
    McDowell Race Loops
    Estrella Race Loops
    SoMo fire road to Javelina
    Hawes/Mine Loop
    Trail 100 coast-to-coast, for your first big XC beatdown
    Javelina-Mormon Loop up/down
    Black Canyon Trail coast-to-coast-to-coast, for your next big XC beatdown
    National to Waterfall and back
    One of Dale's crazy NoMo routes
    EDIT: Pass Mountain!
    National to Telegraph Pass to DC
    National to Geronimo
    National to Holbert
    National to Mormon Trail
    Alta/Ranger
    Goat Camp

    If you could systematically work that list, you'd go from zero to hero in probably a year.

    p.
    hee this is cool, I had a thread like this a couple years ago when I started on MTBR, and it is fun to see my progression (cause it all about me me me ). I think the PMP\NoMo gnar is harder than Pass Mtn, but I am very familiar with PM so it may seem easier to me. I rode PM yesterday a few weeks after my 2nd time down Goat, and was thrilled to see how much easier the whole thing seemed. Kinda cool how 1 run down the Goat can help me improve on a trail I've ridden 100 times.

    going to ride Holbert this week for the first time in 5 years, psyched for the challenge woohoo!!

  20. #20
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    no love for the MSP area ? What about Sunrise, Wingate, Bell Pass , Lost Dog, Taliesin etc ... ?

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by Paul B
    Right. If I were to build a Valley-wide progression of trails, from rank amateur to full-on badass, it'd probably look something like this:

    Papago Loops
    Usery Park (Usery Loop, Moonrock, etc.)
    Trail 100, from central to Cave Creek
    Desert Classic
    Pemberton
    SoMo East/West loops
    McDowell Race Loops
    Estrella Race Loops
    SoMo fire road to Javelina
    Hawes/Mine Loop
    Trail 100 coast-to-coast, for your first big XC beatdown
    Javelina-Mormon Loop up/down
    Black Canyon Trail coast-to-coast-to-coast, for your next big XC beatdown
    National to Waterfall and back
    One of Dale's crazy NoMo routes
    EDIT: Pass Mountain!
    National to Telegraph Pass to DC
    National to Geronimo
    National to Holbert
    National to Mormon Trail
    Alta/Ranger
    Goat Camp

    If you could systematically work that list, you'd go from zero to hero in probably a year.

    p.
    Good list Paul. I'd put Viejo in there somewhere between Holbert and Goat Camp. Adding Cochise to the end of Geronimo would bump it past Holbert as well.
    I was a bit suprprised that Mormon/24th street was so highly ranked and no one disagreed. I've only done it once (down) but I don't remember it having the sustained technicality of Hobert or Geronimo/Chochise.

    Man, I gotta get to AZ!
    I will cause thee to ride upon the high places of the earth...
    Isaiah 58:14

    www.stuckinthespokes.com

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by Phillbo
    no love for the MSP area ? What about Sunrise, Wingate, Bell Pass , Lost Dog, Taliesin etc ... ?
    Unfortunately I don't know them well enough to have an informed opinion. I've done Sunrise and Lost Dog, I think, and only once.

    KRob: Re Mormon Trail, I think that each individual move on 24th is both very tough, and results in very bad damage. But then again different people are very, very good at different kinds of tech. Mormon is IMO slow and balance-y, which is definitely my weak suit.

    p.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by Phillbo
    no love for the MSP area ? What about Sunrise, Wingate, Bell Pass , Lost Dog, Taliesin etc ... ?
    That's fresh in my mind (and body) as I was up there yesterday.

  24. #24
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    Okay so re. MSP: Using my list as a (hopefully adequate) starting point, where would the MSP-lovers put their trails? We can collaborate and come up with something together.

    p.

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by Paul B
    Okay so re. MSP: Using my list as a (hopefully adequate) starting point, where would the MSP-lovers put their trails? We can collaborate and come up with something together.

    p.

    imho, around Javalina or Black Canyon.

  26. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by chollaball
    hee this is cool, I had a thread like this a couple years ago when I started on MTBR, and it is fun to see my progression (cause it all about me me me ). I think the PMP\NoMo gnar is harder than Pass Mtn, but I am very familiar with PM so it may seem easier to me. I rode PM yesterday a few weeks after my 2nd time down Goat, and was thrilled to see how much easier the whole thing seemed. Kinda cool how 1 run down the Goat can help me improve on a trail I've ridden 100 times.
    Agreed. Pass Mtn is nowhere near as hard as Cheesegrater, Hairball, etc. I'd put those on par with anything on National...probably harder (I'd rank it just below Alta). I ride everything on National, but there are still some spots on the DD side of the 51 that I walk down. And don't forget about trail 306 that drops down the back side of Shaw Butte.

    As another poster put it, the gnar on DD gets no respect...but I'll bet it's claimed more injuries to the MTBR-regular crowd than anything else in the valley (Yuri and Srexy's nasty injuries come to mine -- didn't Srexy rupture his spleen on Cheesegrater??).

    Thx...Doug

  27. #27
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    Goat Camp and Goat Camp XC out and back

    I think the Goat Camp full loop and the Goat Camp XC out-and-back should be listed as separate rides. The Goat Camp XC OAB should fall somewhere in the lower half of the list.

  28. #28
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    I'm using "one of Dale's crazy NoMo routes" to indicate the general PMP gnar zone. I see an argument for swapping PMP gnar and Pass Mountain, although I think that's very much a personal preference thing. Every single ride I've ever been on @ Pass Mountain has resulted in somebody breaking themselves and/or their bike, while I've been on several PMP gnarfests where everyone escaped unscathed.

    Pass Mountain may just be my personal white whale. No idea! :-D

    p.

  29. #29
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    How about the White Tanks? I don't think I saw them listed yet.

  30. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by chollaball
    imho, around Javalina or Black Canyon.
    Where does Reach 11 fall in?
    Thunderbird Park?
    Cave Buttes?
    Cave Creek Park?
    Cave Creek trail system?


    well?????

  31. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by yetisurly
    Where does Reach 11 fall in?
    Thunderbird Park?
    Cave Buttes?
    Cave Creek Park?
    Cave Creek trail system?


    well?????
    Help make the list a helpful resource and suggest places for them, Gordon.

    p.

  32. #32
    sprocket
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    okay then:
    Reach 11
    Papago Loops
    Usery Park (Usery Loop, Moonrock, etc.)
    Cave Buttes
    Trail 100, from central to Cave Creek
    Thunderbird Park
    Desert Classic
    Pemberton
    SoMo East/West loops
    McDowell Race Loops
    Estrella Race Loops
    SoMo fire road to Javelina
    Hawes/Mine Loop
    Trail 100 coast-to-coast, for your first big XC beatdown
    Javelina-Mormon Loop up/down
    Cave Creek Park
    Black Canyon Trail coast-to-coast-to-coast, for your next big XC beatdown
    Windgate
    Sunrise
    Bell Pass
    National to Waterfall and back
    One of Dale's crazy NoMo routes
    Cave Creek Trail System
    EDIT: Pass Mountain!
    National to Telegraph Pass to DC
    National to Geronimo
    National to Holbert
    National to Mormon Trail
    Alta/Ranger
    Goat Camp

  33. #33
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    I thinking about adding a link to this thread to the VISITORS sticky. Hell, I'm learning all kinds of new stuff myself!

    Thanks for the additions, Gordon. I don't think I even know Thunderbird Park. And just to be clear, Cave Creek Trail System = Go John and stuff, or the park further to the east?

    p.

  34. #34
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    [QUOTE=Paul B]
    Papago Loops
    Usery Park (Usery Loop, Moonrock, etc.)
    Trail 100, from central to Cave Creek
    Desert Classic
    Pemberton
    SoMo East/West loops
    McDowell Race Loops
    Estrella Race Loops
    SoMo fire road to Javelina
    Hawes/Mine Loop
    Trail 100 coast-to-coast, for your first big XC beatdown
    Javelina-Mormon Loop up/down
    Black Canyon Trail coast-to-coast-to-coast, for your next big XC beatdown
    National to Waterfall and back
    One of Dale's crazy NoMo routes
    EDIT: Pass Mountain!
    National to Telegraph Pass to DC
    National to Geronimo
    National to Holbert
    National to Mormon Trail
    Alta/Ranger
    Goat Camp[QUOTE=Paul B]

    [QUOTE=KRob]Good list Paul. I'd put Viejo in there somewhere between Holbert and Goat Camp. Adding Cochise to the end of Geronimo would bump it past Holbert as well.
    I was a bit suprprised that Mormon/24th street was so highly ranked and no one disagreed. I've only done it once (down) but I don't remember it having the sustained technicality of Hobert or Geronimo/Chochise[QUOTE=KRob]


    And while we're at it, here's my opinion of some the our best trails. . .

    Ranger is not hard and should not be included with Alta.

    Alta only has 2 tough moves, but the one left down the chute has a serious PFF.

    Mormon (24th Street) is harder than Geronimo but not as hard as Holbert.

    I would put the toughest stuff on NoMo (Yuri's Folly for example) at about the 24th Street level.

    Telegraph is tougher than Geronimo, but not as hard as Holbert or Kiwanis.

    Kiwanis is generally as hard as Holbert, but the railroad switch is a very tough move and is harder than any single move on Holbert.

    Viejo (Old Man) is harder than Holbert.

    Cochise (Old Geronimo) is harder than Viejo (tough switchbacks with serious PFF).

    OLA (Old Lady Ames) is harder than anything else on SoMo with the most technically difficult switchbacks anywhere in the Valley. I think it has tougher moves than anything on Goat Camp.

    I would still give Goat Camp top honors, not because it has the toughest single moves, but because it has so many and it is generally sustained.

    I just rode the towers trail at the top of Hawes yesterday. What a sleeper Cleaned it all on the little bike, but it's gotta rank somewhere around Viejo.

  35. #35
    sprocket
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    further East - Trail #4, Cottonwood trail, Quien Sabe, Skull Mesa, Skunk Mesa etc.

  36. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by dirtbag
    I just rode the towers trail at the top of Hawes yesterday. What a sleeper Cleaned it all on the little bike, but it's gotta rank somewhere around Viejo.
    Yes its a great part of the system! never ridden Viejo, but I don't think Tower is that hard. I'm assuming you mean the dropin from the Pass Mountain side? Its got 1 chute I have not cleaned (2 tries), the rest is steep and challenging but not bad imo, and over in less than 5 minutes. Climbing it from Las Sendas and doing the loop in the CCW direction is very steep and some tough switchbacks, but all gettable when not too sandy. The loop going CW is fun and steep, but nothing too hard.

    Did you find the staircase and granite face near the loop? A few fun moves there to complement the Hawes system.

  37. #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by yetisurly
    Where does Reach 11 fall in?
    Thunderbird Park?
    Cave Buttes?
    Cave Creek Park?
    Cave Creek trail system?


    well?????
    HC...that is, beyond Category.
    Nobody gives a s#$t you singlespeed.

  38. #38
    mr. wonderful
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    Quote Originally Posted by chollaball
    Yes its a great part of the system! never ridden Viejo, but I don't think Tower is that hard. I'm assuming you mean the dropin from the Pass Mountain side? Its got 1 chute I have not cleaned (2 tries), the rest is steep and challenging but not bad imo, and over in less than 5 minutes. Climbing it from Las Sendas and doing the loop in the CCW direction is very steep and some tough switchbacks, but all gettable when not too sandy. The loop going CW is fun and steep, but nothing too hard.

    Did you find the staircase and granite face near the loop? A few fun moves there to complement the Hawes system.
    Yeah, climb the paved road on east side past the '

  39. #39
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    Quote Originally Posted by dirtbag
    Yeah, climb the paved road on east side past the 'PHOENIX' sign and the hillbillies shootin 'n hooting and drop down the west side to the top of Hawes. There are several steep and loose sections that are middle of the road technical. I'm not saying it's super-tech, but that it's pretty-darn-tech.
    i agree. the one chute I can't get there is a big drop next to a saguaro into very steep and loose that scares me -- maybe next time! Pass Mtn was awesome yesterday - very grippy i thought. I'm assuming you did the Hawes\PM combo? I rode from 3-6 and saw no other riders.

    Sad to see several trials on PM have been sanitized, anyone else notice these?

    --on the front side very close to Wind Cave junction, there is a rugged drop into a wash that has been flattened
    --on the front side, near where you turn up the north side, one of the Canyons has gradually developed a cheater line that misses a very challenging right turn\drop into a rut. I saw the old trail was blocked off, making the cheater line the "official" trail
    --on the north side, a blind left turn into a bumpy tight rock slot, kinda the only tech challenge for a few hundred yards -- all the rocks in the slot are gone
    --coming out of the extended rocky stretch close to the saddle, there was a drop into a left turn with quick steep up - the rock drop is gone

    alas...

  40. #40
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    Quote Originally Posted by dgangi
    Agreed. Pass Mtn is nowhere near as hard as Cheesegrater, Hairball, etc. I'd put those on par with anything on National...probably harder (I'd rank it just below Alta). I ride everything on National, but there are still some spots on the DD side of the 51 that I walk down. And don't forget about trail 306 that drops down the back side of Shaw Butte.

    As another poster put it, the gnar on DD gets no respect...but I'll bet it's claimed more injuries to the MTBR-regular crowd than anything else in the valley (Yuri and Srexy's nasty injuries come to mine -- didn't Srexy rupture his spleen on Cheesegrater??).

    Thx...Doug
    +1 on T100, but I still think National has it beat IMO. Can someone explain where the Cheesegrater is located for me? I typically ride from my house (20th St & Indian School) and join up with 1A alongside the 51 just N of Lincoln. I then take 1A all the way around the first western peak, keep climbing 1A until it hits 100, then keep going up 1A/T8 loop, and stay on 1A until I get to a rock garden climb (is this the grater?) I then mix and maze through some singletrack eastbound until I get to the next foothills, then I loop east to a short tech climb, and then I head northwest until I get to that saddle just SW of the 40th st Parking lot. I then take the 220 loop (great climb this direction btw) until I eventually meet up with 100/1A to complete my loop. I love this area, but I still think I haven't found this cheesegrater everybody talks about. I have taken the right off of 1A/8 and loved the climb there, but the downhill killed me on my HT. If you are still reading my rambling, Thank You.
    Making Milk by Day, Beer by Night

  41. #41
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    yeti's list is good, I think 24th Street should come after National to Mormon or is that what he means??

  42. #42
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    Here's another XC beat down. It's Hawes ++, disregard the road from my house to the TRW trail head (-2 miles). When I grow up I hope to connect the Pass Mountain loop to this for a real challenge. This consist of TRW, Hawes loop CC to Twisted Sister to Big Rock, up Wild Horse to Ellsworth (Pass mountain) and then back continuing CC when you get back to the Mine Trail, and back to the TRW trail head. I would think that this would up the Hawes ranking a bit. Oh yeah, extra points for not stopping. GPS link below.

    http://trail.motionbased.com/trail/activity/7641676
    Last edited by surfndav; 02-16-2009 at 04:52 PM.
    Better than most, not as good as some.

  43. #43
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    Quote Originally Posted by eringel
    How about the White Tanks? I don't think I saw them listed yet.
    White Tanks competitive loop is quite easy in the clockwise direction, now counter clockwise it's much harder. But I don't think you can ride it that way regularly.
    Better than most, not as good as some.

  44. #44
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    This is fantastic -- thanks for putting some additional context to all this, Richard! I'm glad we're getting so much input on this.

    I think at this point we probably have a pretty close-to-ideal list of overall difficulty for the bulk of the known trails in the Valley. Anyone want to take a swing at reorganizing the list per the latest input?

    It's probably also worth noting that "difficulty" in the context of this particular thread seems to be related to technical difficulty, not aerobic/endurance type difficulty. That's probably pretty safe to say. I know there are some rides that get a whole lot harder when you add in the fact that you've probably been pedaling a couple hours before you even get to the "hard stuff," which wouldn't really be that hard if you could just hit it fresh.

    p.

  45. #45
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    This for sure needs to be a sticky....could of used it when I first started out a year ago.

  46. #46
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    Quote Originally Posted by Maadjurguer
    This for sure needs to be a sticky....could of used it when I first started out a year ago.
    It's linked to the VISITORS READ HERE FIRST sticky. Hopefully it's findable there. I'm trying to keep the board tidied up.

    p.

  47. #47
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    Quote Originally Posted by Paul B
    This is fantastic -- thanks for putting some additional context to all this, Richard! I'm glad we're getting so much input on this.

    I think at this point we probably have a pretty close-to-ideal list of overall difficulty for the bulk of the known trails in the Valley. Anyone want to take a swing at reorganizing the list per the latest input?

    It's probably also worth noting that "difficulty" in the context of this particular thread seems to be related to technical difficulty, not aerobic/endurance type difficulty. That's probably pretty safe to say. I know there are some rides that get a whole lot harder when you add in the fact that you've probably been pedaling a couple hours before you even get to the "hard stuff," which wouldn't really be that hard if you could just hit it fresh.

    p.
    Agreed. This is a great thread. I have to admit when I read it this morning I thought, here we go, this is gonna get ugly, but this has been pretty informative and tame and dare I say fun.

    +1 for sticky

  48. #48
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pynis McDermott
    +1 on T100, but I still think National has it beat IMO. Can someone explain where the Cheesegrater is located for me? I typically ride from my house (20th St & Indian School) and join up with 1A alongside the 51 just N of Lincoln. I then take 1A all the way around the first western peak, keep climbing 1A until it hits 100, then keep going up 1A/T8 loop, and stay on 1A until I get to a rock garden climb (is this the grater?) I then mix and maze through some singletrack eastbound until I get to the next foothills, then I loop east to a short tech climb, and then I head northwest until I get to that saddle just SW of the 40th st Parking lot. I then take the 220 loop (great climb this direction btw) until I eventually meet up with 100/1A to complete my loop. I love this area, but I still think I haven't found this cheesegrater everybody talks about. I have taken the right off of 1A/8 and loved the climb there, but the downhill killed me on my HT. If you are still reading my rambling, Thank You.
    1A is actually a big loop. The section of the loop you are riding is the northern side...which is the wrong side of the hills for the gnarly stuff. The trails you are riding on are all fun...but what I would label as "intermediate".

    The gnarly stuff on 1A is on the south side of the hills -- both Cheesegrater and Hairball.

    To get to Hairball you have to ride along the 1A (like you do), and then go UP the Irregular Link trail (one of my favorites BTW). The goes up and over a saddle to the south and ends up hitting the 302 (loop around Squaw Peak). Turn rt (down) and that is Hairball.

    To get to Cheesegrater you keep on 1A, go past Irregular Link trail, and then go UP the next junction which is VOAZ Loop. This is another fantastic little trail that goes up and over a pass and dumps you onto the middle section of Cheesegrater.

    I forgot to mention Bloody Knuckles, which is another SOB for me.

    All are really fun.

    Thx...Doug

  49. #49
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    Quote Originally Posted by dgangi
    Agreed. Pass Mtn is nowhere near as hard as Cheesegrater, Hairball, etc. I'd put those on par with anything on National...probably harder (I'd rank it just below Alta). I ride everything on National, but there are still some spots on the DD side of the 51 that I walk down. And don't forget about trail 306 that drops down the back side of Shaw Butte.

    As another poster put it, the gnar on DD gets no respect...but I'll bet it's claimed more injuries to the MTBR-regular crowd than anything else in the valley (Yuri and Srexy's nasty injuries come to mine -- didn't Srexy rupture his spleen on Cheesegrater??).

    Thx...Doug
    I think that the reason DD gets no respect is that the gnar is so much shorter than what you can get at SOMO. Holbert is so long compared to Hairball and Cheesegrater! But those are some gnarly trails.
    Getting a dropper post is like getting a bidet. I didn't know I needed one until I get one and boy, does my ass thank me.

  50. #50
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    Quote Originally Posted by chollaball
    hee this is cool, I had a thread like this a couple years ago when I started on MTBR, and it is fun to see my progression (cause it all about me me me ). I think the PMP\NoMo gnar is harder than Pass Mtn, but I am very familiar with PM so it may seem easier to me. I rode PM yesterday a few weeks after my 2nd time down Goat, and was thrilled to see how much easier the whole thing seemed. Kinda cool how 1 run down the Goat can help me improve on a trail I've ridden 100 times.

    going to ride Holbert this week for the first time in 5 years, psyched for the challenge woohoo!!
    Dude, when are you doing this? After Goat Camp, Holbert is going to feel smooth as silk.
    Getting a dropper post is like getting a bidet. I didn't know I needed one until I get one and boy, does my ass thank me.

  51. #51
    parenting for gnarness
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    Quote Originally Posted by Paul B
    It's linked to the VISITORS READ HERE FIRST sticky. Hopefully it's findable there. I'm trying to keep the board tidied up.

    p.
    dang! you shoulda randomized the list, think of how much message board excitement that would have created

  52. #52
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    Quote Originally Posted by Paul B
    I'm using "one of Dale's crazy NoMo routes" to indicate the general PMP gnar zone. I see an argument for swapping PMP gnar and Pass Mountain, although I think that's very much a personal preference thing. Every single ride I've ever been on @ Pass Mountain has resulted in somebody breaking themselves and/or their bike, while I've been on several PMP gnarfests where everyone escaped unscathed.

    Pass Mountain may just be my personal white whale. No idea! :-D

    p.
    Paul -- c'mon. Pass Mtn is NOWHERE close to the gnarly stuff up in the DD area. I took you up to Bloody Knuckles last month, which is probably the easiest of the T100 gnar, and you were like "WTF am I doing up here?".

    Pass Mtn isn't an easy trail per-se, but it's not in the same league as DD gnar. I don't even use pads on Pass Mtn, yet there's stuff in the DD area I still won't (and can't) ride. Pass Mtn has some stuff that sneaks up and grabs you if you aren't paying attention, but none of it is very hard.

    And T100 is only "easy" from 7th Ave to 7th St. Between 7th St and Cave Creek, there are those 2 nasty hills that up the ante significantly (unless you take the cheater horse trail that skirts the hill)...putting it well above anything on Desert Classic or MMP for degree of difficulty. These two hills are ones I would caution any newbie about.

    And Pemberton is off-the-charts easy...as it should be listed way below T100 and Desert Classic. Even as a 16 mile loop, it's a beginner trail. Hell, my wife can ride that trail on her road bike.

    Same goes with the MMP loops. Simple (except for the Tech Loop, which has a cheater around the drop-in). Those should be at the top of the list...well above T100 or Desert Classic.

    And this makes me think we should categories these a little more to help the new-to-AZ riders...something like the ski rating system -- green, blue, black, double-black. As the list is laid out right now, it's impossible to tell just how fast things progress in the degree of difficulty.

    Thx...Doug

  53. #53
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    i only have one issue with the current rating list. i think pemberton is way easier tech wise than DC if you ride any of DCs more rocky sections. the only thing pemberton has for tech is the 260 plus wood water bars IMO. i actually counted them pesky things one ride to make the trail more interesting. pemberton is great for cardio tho if you hit the throttle. The rest of the list looks slick
    RAM speed: UP, UP, and away....!

  54. #54
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    Quote Originally Posted by BIGHORN LEW
    i only have one issue with the current rating list. i think pemberton is way easier tech wise than DC if you ride any of DCs more rocky sections. the only thing pemberton has for tech is the 260 plus wood water bars IMO. i actually counted them pesky things one ride to make the trail more interesting. pemberton is great for cardio tho if you hit the throttle. The rest of the list looks slick
    Completely agree. The progression should be Pemberton to DC.
    Nobody gives a s#$t you singlespeed.

  55. #55
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    Quote Originally Posted by Paul B
    This is fantastic -- thanks for putting some additional context to all this, Richard! I'm glad we're getting so much input on this.

    I think at this point we probably have a pretty close-to-ideal list of overall difficulty for the bulk of the known trails in the Valley. Anyone want to take a swing at reorganizing the list per the latest input?

    It's probably also worth noting that "difficulty" in the context of this particular thread seems to be related to technical difficulty, not aerobic/endurance type difficulty. That's probably pretty safe to say. I know there are some rides that get a whole lot harder when you add in the fact that you've probably been pedaling a couple hours before you even get to the "hard stuff," which wouldn't really be that hard if you could just hit it fresh.

    p.
    OK, here's my stab at the list based on the recent comments.

    And per my last note, I think we should also attempt to put some kind of level/rank on each. As it stands, just ordering these gives no particular indication as to the degree of difficulty of each trail except to say that National is harder than Mormon (and both might be too hard for a rider in question). So I've attempted use the ski rating system -- green, blue, black, double-black? And then within each group I've attempted to rank them. I know this will add some more debate, but I think it's worth the effort. And I am attempting to make this rating system from the point of view of difficulty, not from an expert rider's point of view...

    So, here's my stab at updating the list w/recent comments:


    Green (easy):

    Reach 11
    Papago Loops
    Usery Park (Usery Loop, Moonrock, etc.)
    Cave Buttes
    Desert Classic, from ramadas to the water tank
    McDowell Mtn Park Race Loops - sport, long
    Trail 100, from 7th Ave to 7th St
    Pemberton loop
    Estrella Race Loops
    Thunderbird Park

    Blue (challenging, with moderate tech and/or long):

    McDowell Mtn Park Race Loop - tech (only for the drop-in)
    Desert Classic coast-to-coast
    SoMo East/West loops
    Trail 100, from 7th St to Tatum
    Javelina
    Hawes/Mine Loop/Twisted Sister
    Trail 100 coast-to-coast, for your first big XC beatdown
    Javelina-Mormon Loop up/down
    Black Canyon Trail "lollipop loop", for your next big XC beatdown
    McDowell passes - Windgate/Sunrise/Bell, for the ultimate XC beatdown

    Black (rideable but still challenging for the experienced rider):

    Pass Mountain
    Hawes - tower drop
    National
    Geronimo
    24th St/Mormon

    Double-Black (be prepared to walk some areas):

    DD-area tech - Cheesegrater, Yuri's Folly, Hairball, etc.
    Telegraph Pass
    Holbert
    Kiwanis
    Viejo (Old Man)
    Cochise
    Alta/Bajada
    Goat Camp



    Thx....Doug

  56. #56
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    Quote Originally Posted by dirtbag
    And while we're at it, here's my opinion of some the our best trails. . .

    Alta only has 2 tough moves, but the one left down the chute has a serious PFF.
    Ahh yes... that would be where I tumbled head over heels 3x off to the right and broke my ass bone on the landing.

    Quote Originally Posted by dirtbag
    I would put the toughest stuff on NoMo (Yuri's Folly for example) at about the 24th Street level.
    Watched GeeDub break his collar bone on one night ride.

    Quote Originally Posted by dirtbag
    Telegraph is tougher than Geronimo, but not as hard as Holbert or Kiwanis.
    Telegraph cut the leg right off one of the lizard tattoos on my shoulder a few years back.

    Quote Originally Posted by dirtbag
    Viejo (Old Man) is harder than Holbert.
    Old Man's is also the quickest way back to the DG hottub & pool once up on National. Someday that hurry is going to bite back.

    Quote Originally Posted by dirtbag
    OLA (Old Lady Ames) is harder than anything else on SoMo with the most technically difficult switchbacks anywhere in the Valley. I think it has tougher moves than anything on Goat Camp.
    Great hiking trail for when one is recovering from broken shoulder bones.

    Quote Originally Posted by dirtbag
    I would still give Goat Camp top honors, not because it has the toughest single moves, but because it has so many and it is generally sustained.
    Fractured my scapula on the Goat.

    Quote Originally Posted by dirtbag

    I just rode the towers trail at the top of Hawes yesterday. What a sleeper
    Short and oh so sweet!

    Ahhhh.... you bring back so many memories! But of course, I must not forget the time I took a digger on a solo ride on "easy" Desert Classic in 95 and knocked myself out cold.

  57. #57
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    Quote Originally Posted by dgangi
    OK, here's my stab at the list based on the recent comments.

    And per my last note, I think we should also attempt to put some kind of level/rank on each. As it stands, just ordering these gives no particular indication as to the degree of difficulty of each trail except to say that National is harder than Mormon (and both might be too hard for a rider in question). So I've attempted use the ski rating system -- green, blue, black, double-black? And then within each group I've attempted to rank them. I know this will add some more debate, but I think it's worth the effort. And I am attempting to make this rating system from the point of view of difficulty, not from an expert rider's point of view...

    So, here's my stab at updating the list w/recent comments:


    Green (easy):

    Reach 11
    Papago Loops
    Usery Park (Usery Loop, Moonrock, etc.)
    Cave Buttes
    Desert Classic, from ramadas to the water tank
    McDowell Mtn Park Race Loops - sport, long
    Trail 100, from 7th Ave to 7th St
    Pemberton loop
    Estrella Race Loops
    Thunderbird Park

    Blue (challenging, with moderate tech and/or long):

    McDowell Mtn Park Race Loop - tech (only for the drop-in)
    Desert Classic coast-to-coast
    SoMo East/West loops
    Trail 100, from 7th St to Tatum
    Javelina
    Hawes/Mine Loop/Twisted Sister
    Trail 100 coast-to-coast, for your first big XC beatdown
    Javelina-Mormon Loop up/down
    Black Canyon Trail "lollipop loop", for your next big XC beatdown
    McDowell passes - Windgate/Sunrise/Bell, for the ultimate XC beatdown

    Black (rideable but still challenging for the experienced rider):

    Pass Mountain
    Hawes - tower drop
    National
    Geronimo
    24th St/Mormon

    Double-Black (be prepared to walk some areas):

    DD-area tech - Cheesegrater, Yuri's Folly, Hairball, etc.
    Telegraph Pass
    Holbert
    Kiwanis
    Viejo (Old Man)
    Cochise
    Alta/Bajada
    Goat Camp



    Thx....Doug
    very well put

  58. #58
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    marry me?

  59. #59
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    You guys left out the canals.
    "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

    You're turning black metallic.

  60. #60
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    Quote Originally Posted by Paul B
    Filipzin: You may find better information in a published guidebook. Check the VISITORS READ HERE FIRST for a good list.

    I'm not dissing the user-generated content of MTBR, but there's something to be said for editorial oversight.

    p.
    I hear there's this really good book by a local author that has all this information, but the name escapes me...written by some dude that has a few bikes in his garage...I think you can find it at REI or any Barnes and Noble and it rhymes with Fountain Pike Starry Mona by Maul Weakley. (Can I say that?)

    In general I agree with the aforementioned list, except, regardless of what dGangi says cause he's always wrong anyway, Pass Mountain should be higher up the list in the harder direction. That could be because every time I go there I seem to break a bone, and the last time I did Goat Camp I hardly broke a sweat. Okay maybe a little bead down the forehead. Okay cold sweat.

    T100 has some good gnar, but as someone said, it's short and not sustained. Also, I've only ever hit Hairball and Cheesegrater on my little bike. I wonder if the big bike would make them less intimidating. I need to see Yuri's Folly. (dGangi...did we hit that a few weeks back???)

    I will say this about Goat Camp. While I have had generally good experiences there (only bruised egos) that trail will not forgive me the day I decide to leave my A-game at home. If you want to ride everything, and you're not feeling like King Leonidas on that day, stay home.

    When the world slips you a Jeffrey, stroke the furry wall.

  61. #61
    wretch
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    Dgangi or anyone else. . . there is a pretty hairy descent, definitely unclimbable (I sincerely hope none of you can make it up) section . . . you can spot it if your on 1A and looking north towards Fat Man's pass. . . it's to your right, I don't think I see it labeled on Dale's map??? I've drawn it in blue on the image, though it might be a bit further to the left. . . Cactus your right about sustained but that's sort of what makes them nice, you've got to be willing to get to 'em

    also. . .where is Yuri's folly?

    Is there any gnar west of the 51 / DD lot?
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  62. #62
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jayem
    You guys left out the canals.
    Do I need to publicly humiliate you with a link your OTB in Flagstaff, or would you rather revisit your faceplant on Jackhammer?

  63. #63
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    Quote Originally Posted by dirtbag
    Do I need to publicly humiliate you with a link your OTB in Flagstaff, or would you rather revisit your faceplant on Jackhammer?
    I want to revisit it. Gone is the super stiff 7.7k fork spring. I also have a rollamajig now, so I got that going for me too.
    Last edited by Jayem; 02-16-2009 at 08:46 PM.
    "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

    You're turning black metallic.

  64. #64
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    Quote Originally Posted by dgangi
    OK, here's my stab at the list based on the recent comments.

    And per my last note, I think we should also attempt to put some kind of level/rank on each. As it stands, just ordering these gives no particular indication as to the degree of difficulty of each trail except to say that National is harder than Mormon (and both might be too hard for a rider in question). So I've attempted use the ski rating system -- green, blue, black, double-black? And then within each group I've attempted to rank them. I know this will add some more debate, but I think it's worth the effort. And I am attempting to make this rating system from the point of view of difficulty, not from an expert rider's point of view...

    So, here's my stab at updating the list w/recent comments:


    Green (easy):

    Reach 11
    Papago Loops
    Usery Park (Usery Loop, Moonrock, etc.)
    Cave Buttes
    Desert Classic, from ramadas to the water tank
    McDowell Mtn Park Race Loops - sport, long
    Trail 100, from 7th Ave to 7th St
    Pemberton loop
    Estrella Race Loops
    Thunderbird Park

    Blue (challenging, with moderate tech and/or long):

    McDowell Mtn Park Race Loop - tech (only for the drop-in)
    Desert Classic coast-to-coast
    SoMo East/West loops
    Trail 100, from 7th St to Tatum
    Javelina
    Hawes/Mine Loop/Twisted Sister
    Trail 100 coast-to-coast, for your first big XC beatdown
    Javelina-Mormon Loop up/down
    Black Canyon Trail "lollipop loop", for your next big XC beatdown
    McDowell passes - Windgate/Sunrise/Bell, for the ultimate XC beatdown

    Black (rideable but still challenging for the experienced rider):

    Pass Mountain
    Hawes - tower drop
    National
    Geronimo
    24th St/Mormon

    Double-Black (be prepared to walk some areas):

    DD-area tech - Cheesegrater, Yuri's Folly, Hairball, etc.
    Telegraph Pass
    Holbert
    Kiwanis
    Viejo (Old Man)
    Cochise
    Alta/Bajada
    Goat Camp



    Thx....Doug
    Wow dude. I'm going to have to mostly agree with you here. Save the date.

    I would want to debate the line between black and double black though. And Alta is not that high.

    So what determines the ranking? The hardest part or how sustained it is? I've seen double black diamonds at ski resorts that are 99% green except for that one 200-foot cliff drop. Same rules apply here?
    When the world slips you a Jeffrey, stroke the furry wall.

  65. #65
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    Quote Originally Posted by CactusJoe
    Wow dude. I'm going to have to mostly agree with you here. Save the date.

    I would want to debate the line between black and double black though. And Alta is not that high.

    So what determines the ranking? The hardest part or how sustained it is? I've seen double black diamonds at ski resorts that are 99% green except for that one 200-foot cliff drop. Same rules apply here?
    yeah you could argue about 24th St., and where is Corona Loma? but like a ski resort, once you get to a certain point you should have sense enough that you shouldn't be there or that you can at least work your way through it.

  66. #66
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    Quote Originally Posted by dirtbag

    Mormon (24th Street) is harder than Geronimo but not as hard as Holbert.
    Agreed. That's about where I'd put it too.


    Quote Originally Posted by dirtbag
    Viejo (Old Man) is harder than Holbert.

    Cochise (Old Geronimo) is harder than Viejo (tough switchbacks with serious PFF).
    Agreed and agreed.

    Quote Originally Posted by dirtbag
    OLA (Old Lady Ames) is harder than anything else on SoMo with the most technically difficult switchbacks anywhere in the Valley. I think it has tougher moves than anything on Goat Camp.
    Must try OLA. Is OLA the one featured in tiSS'er's video "The Next Level" ?
    Last edited by KRob; 02-16-2009 at 11:18 PM.
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  67. #67
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    Quote Originally Posted by dgangi
    OK, here's my stab at the list based on the recent comments.

    And per my last note, I think we should also attempt to put some kind of level/rank on each. As it stands, just ordering these gives no particular indication as to the degree of difficulty of each trail except to say that National is harder than Mormon (and both might be too hard for a rider in question). So I've attempted use the ski rating system -- green, blue, black, double-black? And then within each group I've attempted to rank them. I know this will add some more debate, but I think it's worth the effort. And I am attempting to make this rating system from the point of view of difficulty, not from an expert rider's point of view...

    So, here's my stab at updating the list w/recent comments:


    Green (easy):

    Reach 11
    Papago Loops
    Usery Park (Usery Loop, Moonrock, etc.)
    Cave Buttes
    Desert Classic, from ramadas to the water tank
    McDowell Mtn Park Race Loops - sport, long
    Trail 100, from 7th Ave to 7th St
    Pemberton loop
    Estrella Race Loops
    Thunderbird Park

    Blue (challenging, with moderate tech and/or long):

    McDowell Mtn Park Race Loop - tech (only for the drop-in)
    Desert Classic coast-to-coast
    SoMo East/West loops
    Trail 100, from 7th St to Tatum
    Javelina
    Hawes/Mine Loop/Twisted Sister
    Trail 100 coast-to-coast, for your first big XC beatdown
    Javelina-Mormon Loop up/down
    Black Canyon Trail "lollipop loop", for your next big XC beatdown
    McDowell passes - Windgate/Sunrise/Bell, for the ultimate XC beatdown

    Black (rideable but still challenging for the experienced rider):

    Pass Mountain
    Hawes - tower drop
    National
    Geronimo
    24th St/Mormon

    Double-Black (be prepared to walk some areas):

    DD-area tech - Cheesegrater, Yuri's Folly, Hairball, etc.
    Telegraph Pass
    Holbert
    Kiwanis
    Viejo (Old Man)
    Cochise
    Alta/Bajada
    Goat Camp



    Thx....Doug
    With one serious omission. . . Grandmama OLA should get equal billing to Goat Camp. And since I don't buy into the freedom fries sh!t, I could go for a category 3, 2, 1, and HC as skinny suggested. Otherwise, good job!

  68. #68
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    Quote Originally Posted by Truckee Trash
    also. . .where is Yuri's folly?
    It's part of the Hairball loop, probably about 1/3rd if the way down. A tight left hand drop into a rocky chute with a rollable drop. Here's a picture.

  69. #69
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    Quote Originally Posted by dgangi
    Black (rideable but still challenging for the experienced rider):

    Pass Mountain
    Hawes - tower drop
    National
    Geronimo
    24th St/Mormon

    Double-Black (be prepared to walk some areas):

    DD-area tech - Cheesegrater, Yuri's Folly, Hairball, etc.
    Telegraph Pass
    Holbert
    Kiwanis
    Viejo (Old Man)
    Cochise
    Alta/Bajada
    Goat Camp
    To me, Cochise and Viejo are tougher than Alta/Bajada. The climb to Alta/Bajada is tougher, but the exposed switchbacks on Cochise and unrelenting terrain on Viejo put them over the top.

    Corona Loma belongs somewhere in the Black, either between National and Geronimo or between Geronimo and 24th St.

    Richard is right about Old Lady Ames too.

    National probably needs more definition. Most riders don't venture past BV and there's some pretty challenging stuff west of BV.

  70. #70
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    Quote Originally Posted by KRob
    Must try OLA. Is OLA the one featured in tiSS'er's video "The Next Level" ?
    That's her.

  71. #71
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    Quote Originally Posted by dirtbag
    And while we're at it, here's my opinion of some the our best trails. . .

    Ranger is not hard and should not be included with Alta.

    Alta only has 2 tough moves, but the one left down the chute has a serious PFF.

    Mormon (24th Street) is harder than Geronimo but not as hard as Holbert.

    I would put the toughest stuff on NoMo (Yuri's Folly for example) at about the 24th Street level.

    Telegraph is tougher than Geronimo, but not as hard as Holbert or Kiwanis.

    Kiwanis is generally as hard as Holbert, but the railroad switch is a very tough move and is harder than any single move on Holbert.

    Viejo (Old Man) is harder than Holbert.

    Cochise (Old Geronimo) is harder than Viejo (tough switchbacks with serious PFF).

    OLA (Old Lady Ames) is harder than anything else on SoMo with the most technically difficult switchbacks anywhere in the Valley. I think it has tougher moves than anything on Goat Camp.

    I would still give Goat Camp top honors, not because it has the toughest single moves, but because it has so many and it is generally sustained.

    I just rode the towers trail at the top of Hawes yesterday. What a sleeper Cleaned it all on the little bike, but it's gotta rank somewhere around Viejo.
    Richard - I gotta do some rides with you. It sounds like you know where all the good stuff is at.

  72. #72
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    Quote Originally Posted by chollaball
    yeah you could argue about 24th St., and where is Corona Loma? but like a ski resort, once you get to a certain point you should have sense enough that you shouldn't be there or that you can at least work your way through it.
    Oh yea...C-L. That probably goes right near Geronimo. I'll add that to the list.

    Thx...Doug

  73. #73
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    I always enjoy the intense disagreement that discussion about certain trails generate, specifically Mormon Trail and Pass Mountain. It's a nice reminder that ranking this stuff is still very subjective.

    Nice work on the list, Doug. Have you had a chance to go back and re-jigger some of your list to reflect later posts (i.e. adding CdL, western National, etc.)?

    p.

  74. #74
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    The List

    Ok, here's an updated list based even more comments (added Corona de Loma, Old Lady Ames, and Pima/Dynamite):

    Green (easy):

    Reach 11
    Papago Loops
    Usery Park (Usery Loop, Moonrock, etc.)
    Cave Buttes
    Desert Classic, from ramadas to the water tank
    McDowell Mtn Park Race Loops - sport, long
    Trail 100, from 7th Ave to 7th St
    Pemberton loop
    Pima/Dynamite
    Estrella Race Loops
    Thunderbird Park

    Blue (challenging, with moderate tech and/or long distances):

    McDowell Mtn Park Race Loop - tech (only for the drop-in)
    Desert Classic coast-to-coast
    SoMo East/West loops
    Trail 100, from 7th St to Tatum
    Javelina
    Hawes/Mine Loop/Twisted Sister
    Trail 100 coast-to-coast, for your first big XC beatdown
    Javelina-Mormon Loop up/down
    Black Canyon Trail "lollipop loop", for your next big XC beatdown
    McDowell passes - Windgate/Sunrise/Bell, for the ultimate XC beatdown

    Black (rideable but still challenging for the experienced rider):

    Pass Mountain
    Hawes - tower drop
    National
    Corona de Loma
    Geronimo
    24th St/Mormon

    Double-Black (be prepared to walk some areas):

    DD-area tech - Cheesegrater, Yuri's Folly, Hairball, etc.
    Telegraph Pass
    Holbert
    Kiwanis
    Viejo (Old Man)
    Cochise
    Alta/Bajada
    Old Lady Ames
    Goat Camp



    Some comments have been made to break up National. Personally I think National is challenging anywhere along the route. Nowhere would it be a blue...and nowhere would it be a double-black. So leaving it a solid "Black diamond" seems to make sense with me.

    And don't get too hung up on the ranking within each classification. We could debate ad-infinitum about if Alta/Bajada is easier or harder than Old Man...but they are still both f*cking hard for even an experienced rider (and both should be double-blacks).

    As far as the difficulty classifications go, here's my definition:

    Green = generally "easy" trail with no long sustained climbs or very rocky sections. Mostly double-track or wide singletrack. These trails are safe for beginners.

    Blue = moderate trail with some rock gardens, moderately steep grades, sustained climbs, exposure, switchbacks, and/or long distance. These trails can also be remote with little or no bail-out points. Not recommended for beginners but OK for the moderately experienced rider.

    Black = difficult trail with plenty of technical areas, exposure, tight switchbacks, sustained climbs, and steep terrain. Only recommended for advanced riders. Wearing armor is a good idea.

    Double-black = extremely difficult trail with very steep terrain, chutes, tight switchbacks, exposure, and drops. Even experienced riders can be expected to walk sections of this trail. Armor should be worn.



    Anything else to add??


    Thx...Doug

  75. #75
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    Quote Originally Posted by AZ Mikey
    It's part of the Hairball loop, probably about 1/3rd if the way down. A tight left hand drop into a rocky chute with a rollable drop. Here's a picture.
    That has to be one of the best pictures ever -- classic "holy sh!t" moment in time. You can totally see from that guy's position and the terrain that he is about to land on that he is going to be in serious pain afterwards.

    Thx...Doug

  76. #76
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    Quote Originally Posted by dgangi
    Anything else to add??

    Thx...Doug
    Approved.
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  77. #77
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    Quote Originally Posted by NMPhi767
    Dude, when are you doing this? After Goat Camp, Holbert is going to feel smooth as silk.
    shooting for Friday. I'm excited for the challenge - my only time on Holbert was 5 yrs ago on my Blur and i walked a lot of it, my skeelz are much better now and I have a better utensil.

  78. #78
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    Awesome......

    I stand back and look at this list--what a testament to the scope and quality of rides we have here in the valley! I've worked my way up through some of the single blacks, but only one double black on the resume. At least I can fill in the gaps with some of these helmet vids.

    Great job on the list!

  79. #79
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    The List - Refined

    OK...one more stab at this. I added a few more trails PLUS a "blue/black" category, as there really is a big difference between Desert Classic coast-to-coast and Bell pass.


    Green:

    Reach 11
    Papago Loops
    Usery Park (Usery Loop, Moonrock, etc.)
    Cave Buttes
    Desert Classic, from ramadas to the water tank
    McDowell Mtn Park Race Loops - Sport, Long
    Trail 100, from 7th Ave to 7th St
    Pemberton loop
    Pima/Dynamite
    Estrella Race Loops
    Thunderbird Park

    Blue:

    McDowell Mtn Park Race Loop - Tech loop (only for the drop-in and climb out)
    Desert Classic coast-to-coast
    SoMo East/West loops
    Trail 100, from Dreamy Draw to Tatum
    Dixie Mine
    McDowell's - lower trails (Lost Dog, Quartz, etc)
    Javelina
    Hawes/Mine Loop/Twisted Sister
    Trail 100 coast-to-coast, for your first big XC beatdown (7th St to Dreamy Draw being more advanced than the rest)
    Javelina-Mormon Loop up/down

    Blue/Black:

    Black Canyon Trail "lollipop loop", for your next big XC beatdown (not too technical, but very remote, very long, and very tiring)
    Goat Camp out-and-back XC (use caution on lower sections)
    McDowell passes - Windgate/Sunrise/Bell, for the ultimate XC beatdown (use caution on the west side of Bell and Windgate passes)
    T100 offshoots -- Trail 8, Trail 220, Mine Trail, Rocky Ridge/Mine Drop, Trail 306/Shaw Butte (front side)

    Black:

    Pass Mountain
    Hawes - tower drop
    National
    Corona de Loma
    Trail 306/Shaw Butte (back side)
    Geronimo
    24th St/Mormon

    Double-Black:

    DD-area tech - Cheesegrater, Yuri's Folly, Hairball, etc.
    Telegraph Pass
    Holbert
    Kiwanis
    Viejo (Old Man)
    Cochise
    Alta/Bajada
    Old Lady Ames
    Goat Camp full loop


    As far as the difficulty classifications go, here's my definition:

    Green = generally "easy" trail with no long sustained climbs or very rocky sections. Mostly double-track or wide singletrack. These trails are safe for beginners.

    Blue = moderate trail with some rock gardens, moderately steep grades, sustained climbs, exposure, switchbacks, and/or long distance. These trails can also be remote with little or no bail-out points. Not recommended for beginners but OK for the moderately experienced rider.

    Blue/Black = generally blue with some short black sections OR excess distance. Advanced riders will be OK, but intermediate riders will need to use caution.

    Black = difficult trail with plenty of technical areas, exposure, tight switchbacks, sustained climbs, and steep terrain. Only recommended for advanced riders. Wearing armor is a good idea.

    Double-black = extremely difficult trail with very steep terrain, chutes, tight switchbacks, exposure, and drops. Even experienced riders can be expected to walk sections of this trail. Armor should be worn.
    Last edited by dgangi; 02-17-2009 at 05:43 AM.

  80. #80
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    Quote Originally Posted by dgangi
    OK...one more stab at this. I added a few more trails PLUS a "blue/black" category, as there really is a big difference between Desert Classic coast-to-coast and Bell pass.


    Green:

    Reach 11
    Papago Loops
    Usery Park (Usery Loop, Moonrock, etc.)
    Cave Buttes
    Desert Classic, from ramadas to the water tank
    McDowell Mtn Park Race Loops - Sport, Long
    Trail 100, from 7th Ave to 7th St
    Pemberton loop
    Pima/Dynamite
    Estrella Race Loops
    Thunderbird Park

    Blue:

    McDowell Mtn Park Race Loop - Tech loop (only for the drop-in and climb out)
    Desert Classic coast-to-coast
    SoMo East/West loops
    Trail 100, from Dreamy Draw to Tatum
    Dixie Mine
    McDowell's - lower trails (Lost Dog, Quartz, etc)
    Javelina
    Hawes/Mine Loop/Twisted Sister
    Trail 100 coast-to-coast, for your first big XC beatdown (7th St to Dreamy Draw being more advanced than the rest)
    Javelina-Mormon Loop up/down

    Blue/Black:

    Black Canyon Trail "lollipop loop", for your next big XC beatdown (not too technical, but very remote, very long, and very tiring)
    Goat Camp out-and-back XC (use caution on lower sections)
    McDowell passes - Windgate/Sunrise/Bell, for the ultimate XC beatdown (use caution on the west side of Bell and Windgate passes)
    T100 offshoots -- Trail 8, Trail 220, Mine Trail, Rocky Ridge/Mine Drop, Trail 306/Shaw Butte (front side)

    Black:

    Pass Mountain
    Hawes - tower drop
    National
    Corona de Loma
    Trail 306/Shaw Butte (back side)
    Geronimo
    24th St/Mormon

    Double-Black:

    DD-area tech - Cheesegrater, Yuri's Folly, Hairball, etc.
    Telegraph Pass
    Holbert
    Kiwanis
    Viejo (Old Man)
    Cochise
    Alta/Bajada
    Old Lady Ames
    Goat Camp full loop


    As far as the difficulty classifications go, here's my definition:

    Green = generally "easy" trail with no long sustained climbs or very rocky sections. Mostly double-track or wide singletrack. These trails are safe for beginners.

    Blue = moderate trail with some rock gardens, moderately steep grades, sustained climbs, exposure, switchbacks, and/or long distance. These trails can also be remote with little or no bail-out points. Not recommended for beginners but OK for the moderately experienced rider.

    Blue/Black = generally blue with some short black sections OR excess distance. Advanced riders will be OK, but intermediate riders will need to use caution.

    Black = difficult trail with plenty of technical areas, exposure, tight switchbacks, sustained climbs, and steep terrain. Only recommended for advanced riders. Wearing armor is a good idea.

    Double-black = extremely difficult trail with very steep terrain, chutes, tight switchbacks, exposure, and drops. Even experienced riders can be expected to walk sections of this trail. Armor should be worn.
    Do you sleep? I like how you split up the McDowells with the addition of the Blue/Black. GG
    EDIT: Almost forgot to mention 306/Shaw - worthy of being on this list. Love hiking that section
    Last edited by GodMadeDirt; 02-17-2009 at 06:27 AM.

  81. #81
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    This rocks. You guys are awesome.

    Now let's get the Tucson folks involved...in a new thread, which I'll start here in a sec.

    p.

  82. #82
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    Quote Originally Posted by Truckee Trash

    Is there any gnar west of the 51 / DD lot?
    Yes, there is plenty of "gnar" west of DD. I'm totally clueless about trail names and numbers, but if you head south after the tunnel, you'll eventually snake your way through a fun section, and come out next to a gated community just north of Northern. Head west on that first street, and there is another trail head.

    If you send me a link to Dale's map, I'll show you where I am talking about.

    Also, not sure if it's ridable (definitely not ridable by me), but the back side of Shaw Butte is definitely "gnar."
    Nobody gives a s#$t you singlespeed.

  83. #83
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    FINS is not on the list... I would guess Blue...

  84. #84
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    FINS is not a legal riding area. Whether that keeps you from riding there or not is on you, but we can't actively promote riding in an illegal area. Hopefully that'll change someday!

    p.

  85. #85
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    Doug's list is spot-on far as I can tell (though I certainly haven't ridden everything on the list). Generally -- at least in my experience -- trails are rated based on the hardest or hardest series of obstacles.

    What's interesting, as someone earlier suggested, is how to rate trails based on fitness vs. technical ability.

    As far as FINS, cool system, but barely blue. Pretty sure I've ridden all of it and, while fun, it's not terribly challenging for an experienced rider.

  86. #86
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    Its harder than Desert Classic.

  87. #87
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    Quote Originally Posted by Paul B
    FINS is not a legal riding area. Whether that keeps you from riding there or not is on you, but we can't actively promote riding in an illegal area. Hopefully that'll change someday!

    p.
    It's not? I admit, I've never ridden out there (or actually even had the desire), and I don't know the entire story. But is this because it's on private land, and is invite-only (I have been invited to ride out there)?
    Nobody gives a s#$t you singlespeed.

  88. #88
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    Quote Originally Posted by Paul B
    Unfortunately I don't know them well enough to have an informed opinion. I've done Sunrise and Lost Dog, I think, and only once.
    Paul, I give you the rest of the day off to go and hit up Windgate and Bell.

  89. #89
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    Quote Originally Posted by skinny-tire
    It's not? I admit, I've never ridden out there (or actually even had the desire), and I don't know the entire story. But is this because it's on private land, and is invite-only (I have been invited to ride out there)?
    FINS is on privately held land.

    If the invitation to ride comes from the land owner, then they've granted you permission to ride on their land. Otherwise, no. Not even an invite from PhiChiBri makes it legal.

    Again, how you choose to respect/ignore the legality of the situation is on you. Sort of like how many riders decline to purchase a State Land rec permit and continue to ride 50 Year, P&D, 24HOTOP, etc.

    p.

  90. #90
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    Quote Originally Posted by dgangi
    OK...one more stab at this. I added a few more trails PLUS a "blue/black" category, as there really is a big difference between Desert Classic coast-to-coast and Bell pass.
    Doug, I think you should add another qualification to Goat Camp or to your double black stuff in general.

    "If you go, expect to break sh**, like derailleurs, frames, forks, or yourself.
    Getting a dropper post is like getting a bidet. I didn't know I needed one until I get one and boy, does my ass thank me.

  91. #91
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    Quote Originally Posted by chollaball
    shooting for Friday. I'm excited for the challenge - my only time on Holbert was 5 yrs ago on my Blur and i walked a lot of it, my skeelz are much better now and I have a better utensil.
    I am going to head up National at 3 on Friday from the Ramadas and head down holbert as well. All this DH stuff is awesome on the new Titus. I think EDR is going to join. It would be good to have someone to chase!
    Getting a dropper post is like getting a bidet. I didn't know I needed one until I get one and boy, does my ass thank me.

  92. #92
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    Quote Originally Posted by NMPhi767
    I am going to head up National at 3 on Friday from the Ramadas and head down holbert as well. All this DH stuff is awesome on the new Titus. I think EDR is going to join. It would be good to have someone to chase!
    check your PMs

  93. #93
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    Quote Originally Posted by NMPhi767
    I am going to head up National at 3 on Friday from the Ramadas and head down holbert as well. All this DH stuff is awesome on the new Titus. I think EDR is going to join. It would be good to have someone to chase!

    I'm hoping to make this, it will be my fist time.

  94. #94
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    Quote Originally Posted by dgangi
    1A is actually a big loop. The section of the loop you are riding is the northern side...which is the wrong side of the hills for the gnarly stuff. The trails you are riding on are all fun...but what I would label as "intermediate".

    The gnarly stuff on 1A is on the south side of the hills -- both Cheesegrater and Hairball.

    To get to Hairball you have to ride along the 1A (like you do), and then go UP the Irregular Link trail (one of my favorites BTW). The goes up and over a saddle to the south and ends up hitting the 302 (loop around Squaw Peak). Turn rt (down) and that is Hairball.

    To get to Cheesegrater you keep on 1A, go past Irregular Link trail, and then go UP the next junction which is VOAZ Loop. This is another fantastic little trail that goes up and over a pass and dumps you onto the middle section of Cheesegrater.

    I forgot to mention Bloody Knuckles, which is another SOB for me.

    All are really fun.

    Thx...Doug
    I knew I wasn't clear enough in my descpription - my fault. Actually, it is the south section of 1A that I ride in a CC direction - remember, I am coming from 20th st & Ind School. I have been up VOAZ once before, which I loved climbing, but the DH on the south side was too rough for my HT. What I was confusing the grater with was the section of really loose rocks if you stay on 1A and go past the VOAZ turnoff, past the 8 junction, and continue E/SE on 1A until you are forced to turn South you will find a tough loose section that leads you up to a dedication bench (the second of this loop). The only trail I have not been up is the 302 section, but I want to try it. Now when you say "south of the hills" - are you talking about south of the Peak, or just the adjacent mtns that are connected to Squaw?
    Making Milk by Day, Beer by Night

  95. #95
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    Quote Originally Posted by skinny-tire
    Yes, there is plenty of "gnar" west of DD. I'm totally clueless about trail names and numbers, but if you head south after the tunnel, you'll eventually snake your way through a fun section, and come out next to a gated community just north of Northern. Head west on that first street, and there is another trail head.
    are you talking about 'lava lane' on dale's map?
    map

  96. #96
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    Quote Originally Posted by 'size
    are you talking about 'lava lane' on dale's map?
    map
    Yes, that would be it.
    Nobody gives a s#$t you singlespeed.

  97. #97
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    someone mind telling me the direction of alta to ride the technical part down (start and stop points). is ranger part of it, or another name for it, or an offchute?

    thanks!

  98. #98
    Just another half mile...
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    Quote Originally Posted by filipzin
    As far as the difficulty classifications go, here's my definition:

    Green = generally "easy" trail with no long sustained climbs or very rocky sections. Mostly double-track or wide singletrack. These trails are safe for beginners.

    Blue = moderate trail with some rock gardens, moderately steep grades, sustained climbs, exposure, switchbacks, and/or long distance. These trails can also be remote with little or no bail-out points. Not recommended for beginners but OK for the moderately experienced rider.

    Blue/Black = generally blue with some short black sections OR excess distance. Advanced riders will be OK, but intermediate riders will need to use caution.

    Black = difficult trail with plenty of technical areas, exposure, tight switchbacks, sustained climbs, and steep terrain. Only recommended for advanced riders. Wearing armor is a good idea.

    Double-black = extremely difficult trail with very steep terrain, chutes, tight switchbacks, exposure, and drops. Even experienced riders can be expected to walk sections of this trail. Armor should be worn.
    Doug, I generally agree with most of your ratings based on your rating definitions, but I think we should us the IMBA Trail Rating Guidlines to be consistant with the rest of the world. The IMBA system focuses on rating the techncial challenge of the trail, not the exertion, ie miles and epicness. We should rate accordingly and add notes regarding the length if it is a long ride.
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    BCT exposure?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jayem
    What about the fireroad to National?

    Maybe not as much exposure as BCT, but just as steep!

    ? Huge exposure? Compared to what? Yeah, some of the trail is built on the side of a hill. It's no worse than any other trail built on the side of a hill, 'cept for those cacti, but that's a hazard anywhere in low-level AZ. Anywhere that has mountains and trails in the mountains has similer exposure, the only thing that wouldn't would be low altitude stuff in flat areas.
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  100. #100
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    Quote Originally Posted by chipolopolo
    ? Huge exposure? Compared to what? Yeah, some of the trail is built on the side of a hill. It's no worse than any other trail built on the side of a hill, 'cept for those cacti, but that's a hazard anywhere in low-level AZ. Anywhere that has mountains and trails in the mountains has similer exposure, the only thing that wouldn't would be low altitude stuff in flat areas.
    Damn, you're right.
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