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  1. #1
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    Sonoran Trail System in North Phoenix

    The Sonoran trail still has some areas that are under construction. We went "exploring" yesterday to check out what is completed so far. The area on the west side of this garmin map is what I'm referring to....we rode in from the "cave buttes dam" area, so I'm not sure where the trailhead is to access these tails.

    Similar to the deem hills trails on the other side of I-17.

    Garmin Map












  2. #2
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    Looks like you found the new trail in the Sonoran Preserve. The City of Phoenix has a map of what is open HERE. The trail is accessed off of North Valley Parkway. More inforamtion on the new Sonaran Preserve can be found HERE. More trails will be built as the park expands!

    Quote Originally Posted by WhiskersOfDeath
    The Sonoran trail still has some areas that are under construction. We went "exploring" yesterday to check out what is completed so far. The area on the west side of this garmin map is what I'm referring to....we rode in from the "cave buttes dam" area, so I'm not sure where the trailhead is to access these tails.

  3. #3
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    Cool, I will have to check the trails out on the way back from Sedona tomorrow.
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  4. #4
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    Heard a little about the area from a Ranger and I've been meaning to check this out since I can get hours riding it with my Steward shirt on... I'm sure they'd appreciate the reports since it's a new area.

  5. #5
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    I ride this section of trail a couple of times a week. Love it. They did a great job.

  6. #6
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    The Trailhead is at the end of W. Desert Vista Trail...


    33.74181,-112.099804

  7. #7
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    So how was the ride? From the photos, it looks like quite a bit of climbing, but no real chunk.
    Any fun? I'll probably go ride it sometime this week or weekend.

  8. #8
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    I try to ride this a few times a week, it has its fun spots, nothing like the larger mtns, but it will do the trick if you do a few laps.

  9. #9
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    I used to ride in this area frequently, accessing from 16th St and Carefree Hwy. About a year ago, it was mostly jeep track and cow trails on the west side of the area, and I needed a state trust land permit for access. I am very glad to see the development, and can't wait to try it out. Thanks a bunch for the info, everyone.

  10. #10
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    Whiskers: From your garmin map, it shows you started out on the northeast side of the preserve, near Cave Creek and Carefree, but the Sonoran Preserve website shows the trailhead at the southwest end of the preserve, with the entrance near the I-17.
    Which is the best place to park and ride from?

  11. #11
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    I really couldn't tell you.....like I said, we just found it by accident while riding in the Cave Buttes area (what cosmic ray called the "union hills loop" in his book). I think somebody else mentioned the trailhead elsewhere in this thread...but I will just continue to ride in from the east (from my house).

  12. #12
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    If you are driving to check out the trail, then as PhxChem said, the best place to park is on West Desert Vista Trail. There is basically a little park back there behind the community center building. Lots of parking ( 33° 44.464'N 112° 5.837'W). Not sure if there is any ammenities....restrooms, water?

    You can also access the trail from a hiking path a little to the North of the park along W Melvern Trail. Just past N 21th Ave, but before you get to West Hunter Court. The trail is on the East Side, but its right off the main road, so not a great place to park. (33° 44.843'N 112° 6.209'W)

    Finally, not shown on the map, but there is also a connector going North from the trail. I think that community is called Sonoran Foothills. If you look at the pictures in this post, there is one that shows the white trail sign "Sonoran Loop Trail". That is the point where the connector goes North for 1 - 2 miles and connects to West Sonoran Parkway. That road is not a through street (yet). So you can park on the south side of the road there as well. I don't typically take this portion of the leg, so I don't know where it comes out exactly, but somewhere in the area of 33° 46.177'N 112° 6.138'W.

    Along this same North connector is also where you can break off and head off into the Cave Buttes dam area. The turn off to go east and explore that area is located at 33° 45.775'N 112° 5.688'W. Lots of Jeep trails, etc.

  13. #13
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    Thanks, man! I might check it out today if I can get everything done in time.

  14. #14
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    Had to check this out this morning, it's not completed yet but it has some real heart pumping steep climbs. I'm at Deems frequently but I would say this is tougher, steeper and longer climbs. The first trail off the parking lot is fairly steep and I would guess about 1/4 mile long and a good workout. It's nice to have options close to home and I'm sure it will be nice when it's completed. Nice steep trails and great views but not very technical, if your a gnar junkie its probably not for you unless they build in something in the future because it is still under construction in parts. There are some great downhills, I saw a handful of bikes today and many hikers. The parking area has a large equestrian area but I saw no evidence of horses.

    Here are some easy directions to the new parking lot at the start of the southend trail head..

    I17 North to Jomax Rd Exit, right (east) on Jomax to Nortera and make a right (south) it curves eastward and turns into Copperhead. Make a left (north) on Melvan Trail, continue past the Community Center to the first right turn Desert Vista Trail and continue through the gate to the Sonoran Trail Preserve parking area.

  15. #15
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    Thanks for the trail insight Fletch. I was wondering how this trail compares to the Deem Hills trail. I've never rode Deem Hills, but see the write ups on MTBR.

    ...That section of trail out of the parking lot in Fireside will get your lungs going!

  16. #16
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    IMO I ride Deems a few times a week on average and I really enjoy it, partially because it's less than two miles from home. Although Deems isn't considered to be real technical either I think most people usually agree that the climbs and long fun downhills make it hard to beat on this side of town. I think Sonaran Trail has longer and steeper climbs like you mentioned the first one is a real lung burner. In fairness, it's a bit hard to compare the two being as Sonoran hasn't been seasoned as much yet and is still under construction. I have also been told that they are going to cut some new paths at Deems too. Bottom line, try both of them and you won't be disappointed with either, lots of climbing and long fast downhills at both. Just my opinion......

  17. #17
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    Good Info. Thx.
    I am hoping someone finds an interconnect (Under I-17) that can get me from the Sonoran Trail system to the Deem Hills loop. That would be a nice ride.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by WhiskersOfDeath
    I really couldn't tell you.....like I said, we just found it by accident while riding in the Cave Buttes area (what cosmic ray called the "union hills loop" in his book). I think somebody else mentioned the trailhead elsewhere in this thread...but I will just continue to ride in from the east (from my house).
    I looked at your route and the main east-west portion was the same path that Funboarder1971 and I took on Wednesday, Jan 26. But there were a lot of new fences with the nurseries for the plants they pulled out while making the new road through. We have ridden CBRA a lot, and found the connector to the Sonoran Preserve that night. Makes for a great ride from where we started at Tatum and Cave Creek. We also had to duck under their yellow rope where our old trail (dirt road) crossed the new roads.

  19. #19
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    Anyone know where that new "Sonoran Pkwy" road they are cutting through the Cave Buttes desert area comes out on the East Side? I see where it starts on the West and have been meaning to ride it and see where it comes out on the East, but haven't had a chance. I heard it was quite a way south. Maybe Dynamite?

  20. #20
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    Video

    Here is a short video of the Sonoran Loop Trail.


  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bike_Muchacho
    Anyone know where that new "Sonoran Pkwy" road they are cutting through the Cave Buttes desert area comes out on the East Side? I see where it starts on the West and have been meaning to ride it and see where it comes out on the East, but haven't had a chance. I heard it was quite a way south. Maybe Dynamite?

    Looks like Peak View Road from the map. That's the existing blacktop road that runs out to the wash area

    Good Info Here

  22. #22
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    Great vid! definitely makes me want to check it out! How many miles did it end up?

  23. #23
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    Bondo and I are neighbors....his video is the same loop, same ride info as the garmin data in my first post at the top of the page...

  24. #24
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    That is a great vid, I ride this trail also, but I start either at the Preserve parking lot off Desert Vista trail, or I will just ride to it from my place at Las Colinas apts. and start at the Sonoran Parkway trail head, great trail to ride when you don't have a lot of time either.

  25. #25
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    Still some exploring to do out there. It would be great if the Sonoran Trail connects to some of the trails out by Cave Buttes Dam. We rode from Black Mountain Parkway near Cave Creek Road on the new Sonoran Parkway (just dirt right now). I think it was around 11 miles until we got to they Sonoran Loop Trail sign. Total distance for us was 31 miles.

  26. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by WhiskersOfDeath
    Looks like Peak View Road from the map. That's the existing blacktop road that runs out to the wash area

    Good Info Here
    I found this map as well. Looks like three roads are going to cut through the Cave Buttes area. Hopefully they will work some good mountain bike trail connectors in the mix while they are at it.

    http://www.sonoranpreservenews.com/w...011/01/Map.png

  27. #27
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    Rode it today, and I must say there are definitely some brutal climbs. We rode to 3 of the peaks and it was a killer ride, but a lot of fun!

  28. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by cklog
    Rode it today, and I must say there are definitely some brutal climbs. We rode to 3 of the peaks and it was a killer ride, but a lot of fun!
    Wonder if I ran into you today. It's Pete on the Turner.

  29. #29
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    Yes you did I was on the Specialized and my buddy was on the GF. Thanks for the info about the area.

  30. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by cklog
    Rode it today, and I must say there are definitely some brutal climbs. We rode to 3 of the peaks and it was a killer ride, but a lot of fun!
    Where is the access to the three peaks you are referring to? Are they rideable, or hike-a-bike?

  31. #31
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    I'll be out there tomorrow AM on the SS!!!!

  32. #32
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    I rode it last week, and had a blast! I started at the parking lot behind the community center. That first climb is a lung opener, that's for sure! Talked to a couple Park Stewards who were just getting back from working on the lower trails. From up top, it looks like they're doing a great job. Those trails look awesome, can't wait until they open up!
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  33. #33
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    Updated map of Sonoran Trail Area

    I saw they update the map of this trail system. It includes the new trails they are cutting to the southwest of the existnig trails. Nice!

  34. #34
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    Where did you see an updated map? The one on the website shows the dotted lines for the upcoming trails, but thats the same map as it has been. Let me know if theres another one, I might head out there today.
    "There's nothing like touching earth you've never touched"

  35. #35
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    with the link now...

    Quote Originally Posted by Bike_Muchacho
    I saw they update the map of this trail system. It includes the new trails they are cutting to the southwest of the existnig trails. Nice!
    I think the trails are still closed, but here's the plan.

    http://phoenix.gov/webcms/groups/int...sonoranmap.pdf

  36. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bike_Muchacho
    Where is the access to the three peaks you are referring to? Are they rideable, or hike-a-bike?
    We started at the TH behind the fireside community center. Rideable, well that depends on how good you are. I hab a bit of it, I will do better next time.

  37. #37
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    I just got back from there, and I checked out the new stuff they were working on (I know, I shouldn't have been on the new trails yet), Pretty great stuff! Well, except for whoever rode their horse out there immediately after the rain. I talked to a guy working on the trail out there and thanked him for the trail and apologized for riding it so early, he didn't seem to be upset.

    3/1/11


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  38. #38
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    Bondo Nice video! How tall is you son? that's a 26" right?

  39. #39
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    How close to completion?

    Quote Originally Posted by bazooka_beard
    I just got back from there, and I checked out the new stuff they were working on (I know, I shouldn't have been on the new trails yet), Pretty great stuff! Well, except for whoever rode their horse out there immediately after the rain. I talked to a guy working on the trail out there and thanked him for the trail and apologized for riding it so early, he didn't seem to be upset.
    Excellent. So what is your opinion on how close they are to finishing up some of those new trail sections you rode? Did they feel faily close to completion?

  40. #40
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bike_Muchacho
    Excellent. So what is your opinion on how close they are to finishing up some of those new trail sections you rode? Did they feel faily close to completion?
    They said probably mid-March, so pretty soon I would imagine. The trail I rode was pretty much done, I didnt see how far they were going past where I talked to him, though.
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  41. #41
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    Hey all, Saw a couple of folks this afternoon at Las Colinas apts. heading out to ride, probably the Sonoran loop, just wondering if the two are members here on the forum, I live there too, and have always rode by myself, love to ride with some others, anyway, if you frequent here let me know, love to find folks to ride with.

  42. #42
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    Access to Central Ave from new portion of trail?

    http://phoenix.gov/webcms/groups/int...sonoranmap.pdf

    ...not advocating riding on the unopened trails...BUT

    I'm looking for access to this new portion of the trail from Central Ave. If anybody knows of one, post a waypoint, or walk me through how to get there.

  43. #43
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    Access to Central Ave from new portion of trail?

    ...not sure if the southern part of this new trail is even cut...but if it is...
    Last edited by Bike_Muchacho; 03-04-2011 at 06:36 PM. Reason: Duplicate

  44. #44
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bike_Muchacho
    http://phoenix.gov/webcms/groups/int...sonoranmap.pdf

    ...not advocating riding on the unopened trails...BUT

    I'm looking for access to the southermost section of this new portion of the trail from Central Ave. If anybody knows of one, post a waypoint, or walk me through how to get there.
    It looks like 7th ave north of Happy Valley would get you access. There is a dirt road that goes north from there into the area.

  45. #45
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    Quote Originally Posted by amateurcyclist
    It looks like 7th ave north of Happy Valley would get you access. There is a dirt road that goes north from there into the area.
    So Happy Valley to Central, cut over to 7th Ave, then North to the trail? The end of 7th isn't anybody's property...just a dirt road? Thx. I'll check out that entry point.

  46. #46
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    I hit Sonoran yesterday morning and man was the weather perfect, I was surprised how many hikers and riders were out there. It's been about a month since my last visit and it appears that its getting pretty popular, I spoke to a handful of really nice folks at various places I stoped to catch my breath. That first uphill off the parking lot is over a quarter a mile long based on my gps and is a b***h of a climb, it makes the Deems climb seem easy IMO.

    I was over half way through the loop and just entering the flat area where all the cholla cactus are, I came up on two fit looking late 30ish ladies. I slowed down because I saw them before they saw me, as we got within about 15 feet of one another they stepped to the side of the trail to allow me to pass easily. As I approached I greeted them and thanked them, just as I passed one of them said to the other "we have to do something about this". They said hello back and It wasn't as if I had startled them or crowed them so I'm not sure what they could been referring to?

    I even encountered some equestrians on the trail that thanked me for giving way and commented on how courteous I was and that I must of had experience with horses. I try very hard to be courteous to other bikers, hikers and equestrians so I guess I was taken back by the comment that they have to do something about this??
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  47. #47
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    rode it this morning and you are right. That initial climb right out of the gate is steep, straight and loong. Nothing like going max HR right away, eh. I wish they had made it more interesting and curvy going up but....anyway, the whole new trail system looks awesome and will be another BIG gem in the north valley!
    I noticed Swiss American bikes will be doing weekly night training rides up there soon.

    Did anyone find a way to cross I-17 from the west side and a route over to the Sonoran TH? Anyway to cross through skunk creek underpass or just take one of the new overpasses would work I guess.

  48. #48
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    i was out there last friday! drove out from Cali to camp out at mcdowell for the weekend and hit this place up first, super fun. can't wait to head out there again and explore.

  49. #49
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    Great Ride!

    I rode the system this past Wednesday, March 9th; 4 months to the day after my emergency back surgery. And to say the least, I felt blessed. The trail, weather and wildlife (Quail - I am a bird dog guy) were wonderful. And my back held up well!

  50. #50
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    back on 2 again, congrats! Sent you a pm.

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