4 (or more) days in the White Mountains- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    4 (or more) days in the White Mountains

    I have a long vacation coming up. The plan when I took the time off was to head up to Durango and Telluride, but I've long since abandoned that plan in favor of staying local. I've decided I'm going to spend at least the first 4 days of my vacation in the White Mountains (staying in a hotel in Pinetop rather than camping, treat yoself); depending on how I like the riding I might spend more time there, I don't have any firm plans for the rest of the vacation. I'll be solo and focused on 4 things: MTB, food, fishing, and SUP. So far I've done a fair bit of research into the riding options and came up with a few days of riding:

    • Tour of the White Mountains route, thinking of cutting a bit of distance off the beginning out and back portion
    • Buena Vista Secret Trails in Show Low -- thanks Schillingsworth for the tip -- could use some suggestions on routes and must-do trails, if not I'll just copy Schillingsworth's route
    • A day near Greer -- I'll probably do two loops, one on Indian Springs and another on West Fork / East Fork -- thanks again for some beta on those trails Schillingsworth (I sense a theme...)


    Don't really have any other routes picked out, Blue Ridge loop is close to the hotel but a bit short and I don't see many good signs on Trailforks for the other trails in the area. To give a sense of where I'm coming from and what I'm looking for, I live in Prescott, I typically do 20-30mi rides with 2000-3500ft of climbing here 6 days a week. I'd probably like to do some somewhat bigger rides on my vacation, but I don't want to overreach especially in a remote area. I like backcountry riding, don't necessarily mind loose, overgrown, or hard to follow trails as long as it's not the whole ride, don't mind hiking my bike. Any advice on routes and trails, food, or the scene in the area?

  2. #2
    EDR
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    Not sure what SUP is, maybe I missed the context in your post. Anyways there are literally a hundred miles or more of trails in the white Mountains area near pinetop and show low. Check out TRACKS if you haven't already.

    My mom lives in pinetop and when I go up there I try not to miss a counterclockwise loop on Los Burros. It's a bit of a drive from pinetop to the trailhead proper but you can link it if you want to do the miles. I'm sure it's part of the race they do up there every year.

    Fair warning, if it's raining up there some of those trails have serious death mud.

    As far as food goes in pinetop I don't really have anything to recommend. my mom lives just up the street from Charlie Clark's steakhouse but honestly, I don't think it's all that great although it's super popular. They have a large backyard where they play live music and the kids can play. Pre covid-19 anyway. Probably a couple of acres. So it's fun in that regard. the rest is standard fare, like red devil Pizza across the street. Good enough for me.

    Country club loop is right in pinetop. I've done that many times. Little elevation gain and I've even taken my eleven-year-old out there and we had a good time just exploring and riding around. But again that trail is a problem if it's raining too much.

    The pioneer trail I think it's called starts out of show low and is more challenging and more fun overall, not more fun than Los Burros though. keep your bear radar on though, chances of seeing one are probably one in a hundred, but they're out there, and I've seen them. I use my Timber Bell when I ride up there. Not sure if it's really advantageous or just a calling card for wildlife but it makes me feel better so whatever.

  3. #3
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    It's a great area to ride. I haven't done the secret trails yet but joined their cause after Schillings post. Gonna try them next time I'm up there.

    It is probably part of the tour of the white mtns but would highly suggest getting Los Burros in the mix. A nice ride is starting at Country Club then up Chipmunk Connector to LB...Around LB and then bombing back down Chipmunk.

    You may want to join TRACKS and get on their email list. They've usually got a few planned rides a week and some trail work days.

    Have fun...it's a great area.

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  4. #4
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    Oooh... EDR's post made me realize I forgot the food part....Grumpy Jake's for BBQ. Tasty....

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  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by DustyChap View Post
    Oooh... EDR's post made me realize I forgot the food part....Grumpy Jake's for BBQ. Tasty....

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    Hmm. Not familiar with that. But to be fair when I go up there I'm not looking hard for good food. Just pizza and a place to buy beer. I actually like Red Devil Pizza quite a bit. they offer other Italian cuisine but I'm a pizza guy so can't comment on that other stuff.

    Where is grumpy Jake's?

  6. #6
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    Grumpy Jakes is on the 260 about a mile or so north of where Porter Mtn meets 260. Not super fancy but tasty bbq.

    The only pizza we tried in the area was R&R....unfortunately it was pretty bad. I'd be interested in other pizza suggestions up in that area. We're hoping to be up there for another week in October.

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  7. #7
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    Ooop...missed that you suggested Red Devil....we'll give it a try next time. :-)

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  8. #8
    I am Walt
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    First of all, Iím just getting into SUP (just bought a Blackfin XL), so let me know what you find re SUP spots up there. Also, feel free to PM me some SUP beta for Preskitt...

    We went up there for a weekend last month, and typically go up for the Tour of the White Mountains (I doubt it will be held this year). In addition to the Show Low Secret Trails, which I havenít ridden, but am really looking forward to, I would recommend the following:
    - Instead of the TOWM course, drive out to the Los Burros trailhead/parking area that is right off the Vernon-McNary Rd (see Trailforks and youíll see where it is), then do Los Burrow CCW from there. When you are almost all the way back around, youíll hit the Vernon-McNary Rd (up a bit from where you parked). Instead of continuing on Los Burros there, go right on the Vernon-McNary Rd (dirt road) and take it up ~4 miles or so to the Land of the Pioneers loop/trail (use Trailforks to navigate to it). Do LOP CW (full loop), then when you get back to where you started, take the Vernon-McNary Rd back to where you left Los Burros, go right on LB, and back to your car to finish that loop. Thatís a 28-30 mile ride, and is plenty of work. Alternatively, when you get to LOP, you could follow the TOWM course and take the Four Springs Connector back to Los Burros, but then you get the joy of the awful and long hike-a-bike up and around Lake Mountain. If you do that, you also miss the rest of the LOP loop, which is the best part of that loop, IMO.
    - Closer to Show Low, park at the trailhead/parking area off of Porter Mountain Rd (again, see Trailforks), and do a CW loop of Flume Connector, Timber Mesa and Panorama (stay on the outside). Great loop, and super fun riding.

    Enjoy!!


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  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by DustyChap View Post
    Ooop...missed that you suggested Red Devil....we'll give it a try next time. :-)

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    99% sure Red devil is just a chain restaurant, but I like thin pizza, New York style. Not Oregano's type style thin pizza though, which is like eating pizza on tortilla... although tasty.

  10. #10
    I am Walt
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    Quote Originally Posted by eatdrinkride View Post
    Not sure what SUP is, maybe I missed the context in your post.
    Stand-Up Paddleboarding. I just got into it...very fun way to do something outside in the heat, on the water. And a great workout!


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  11. #11
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    .... Thanks Walt. Panorama and Porter Mountain are the areas I was trying to explain near show low. Pioneer trail might be in the mix up there as well. I can't remember as there are so many connectors to all the different trails. One thing that sucks is the horsey post holes that punctuate the connectors. Makes it tough to ride depending on what time of the year you're up there.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by waltaz View Post
    Stand-Up Paddleboarding. I just got into it...very fun way to do something outside in the heat, on the water. And a great workout!


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    I think I prefer lay down paddle boarding., LDP. You could probably do that at woods canyon lake, lol

    Edit:. I was thinking of woodland lake. Although you couldn't pay me enough money actually get in that lake. Seems kind of stanky. It's more like a big pond.
    Last edited by eatdrinkride; 4 Days Ago at 05:54 PM.

  13. #13
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    Was there last week. Rode Panorama Trail for the first time, but I rode it CCW which was a mistake unless you really like technical climbs. Iíd suggest CW with a fantastic view near the end of the loop. Trail forks worked great.


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    Awesome, so much amazing advice here! Haha, yes, SUP = stand up paddleboard, aka harder and slower kayak. I just got into SUP myself so I'm by no means an expert and kind of suck In good ole Preskitt there are no mysteries to the SUP scene. The lakes you see on the map (Goldwater, Lynx, Watson, Willow) are all fantastic spots to SUP.

    Sounds good on Los Burros, I had planned on grabbing that portion of the Tour of the White Mountains route but wasn't sure if I wanted to start at Los Burros and include the Land of the Pioneers stuff too. I think the deciding factor is whether I want to ride Chipmunk Springs or no, I can probably do a couple mile short recon ride to figure that out. Panorama has also been added to my list.

    No disappointment on the food, I did not have high expectations. My best meal will be trout I caught, if I can make that happen.

  15. #15
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    Agreed on some of connector trails being torn up by equestrian activity. Last time up there I did Ice Cave over to Blue Ridge loop. Ice Cave was pretty torn up and quite frankly not a whole lot of fun. There is a set of stables right near the beginning that is pretty active with rental and tour rides.

    SUP....not something I'm into but would thing that Fools Hollow Lake and Rainbow Lake would probably be pretty good for that. I saw folks out on Fools Hollow last time out. You could probably try Woodland Lake but be forewarned that it is pretty small. I don't think I would try Showlow Lake as it looks more like a true working resevoir. Scotts reservoir seemed kind of mucky (Although I ran into a bear on the far east side of it while exploring on my bike.)

    Walts loop incorporating Los Burros and Pioneers sounds pretty awesome.

    Chipmunk: Fun and easy connector. Usually in very good shape. It's a pretty consistent but gentle uphill going from Country Club up to Los Burros. Nothing bad...in fact that's why I mentioned the route I did. You get a good 7-ish miles of mostly downhill coming back to Country Club. Yeah...I'm lazy that way...love to end the ride with something trending downhill if I can. :-)
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  16. #16
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    As far as the Buena Vista trails go, just ride 'em all. If you can follow my routing from the ride I posted, go for it, as a bunch of that stuff was ridden in the preferred direction. Not a deal breaker though, it's all ups & downs anyway. Trails felt like they'd ride great in either direction.

    The only thing I'd change about the Los Burros ride from Walt's description is to ride the 4 Springs Connector going out to LoP. Then do a double figure 8 overlapping a bit to head back to Los Burros on the road connector. Then finish off the Los Burros loop with a short bit of double dipping. More miles = more better, right?

    I think you'll really like that Indian Spring trail, get creative over there, seemed like there were a bunch more trails to explore and not everything is on Trailforks...yet.

    Re: Food. I'm always down for a good Mexican combo plate, etc. The guys that showed me around Buena Vista pointed me to Aliberto's, one of the Berto cousins. It's on 260 near Webb Dr. about 1/2 way between Show Low & Pinetop across from Show Low Lake. As mentioned, Red Devil pizza is good too if you want that style.
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  17. #17
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    I stopped in yesterday on the way home from CO. Did the Flume-Timber-Panorama loop CW (east/inner side of Timber, outer of Panorama.) Fun loop, around 2.5 hrs at relaxed pace. A few hikers, bikers and horses out. Then went over to Los Burros for a CCW lap. Fun ride, around 2 hrs. Burrito at Aliberto's after was carnitas chunks, not my preference of shredded. Still good. The drive down through Globe had some nice terrain. You could stop for a ride in Pine/Strawberry on the way up or back.

    Don't write off Durango/Telluride area. That's where I was. Camping was super busy by Friday but ok the days before that. It's such an amazing area I wouldn't turn it down in favor of N.Az. Great riding and amazing scenery, and plenty of opportunity to get away from people.

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