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  1. #1
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    Arizona "Must Ride" Trails

    Hi All,
    My lovely lady and I are heading your way in a couple of weeks, from the land of Oz, and was hoping for some advice on "must do trails"?

    Our plans are pretty loose, other than landing in LA on the 9th October, and having to be in Florida on the 20th/21st?

    So, if you only had a few days to ride, where and what trails would it be? I'm a fairly advanced rider and my other half is a solid intermediate/advanced (she can ride the shit out of tech & rocky stuff, but jumps and drops still evade her confidence), so looking for good rides that are more involved than can parks

    Oh, I should mention that we're also 12 weeks pregnant (hence the holiday, the "last chance" for quite a while), so if there are any epic shuttle rides, they would be much preferable so that the pedalling is reduced to a minimum

    Of course, the Iconic White Line has been on my bucket list for many years (is it really that technically hard, or just exposed?), but that's a coupe of hundred meters in what I'm sure is an amazing landscape to ride?

    Cheers,
    Gub!

    P.S. There will be a semi-cross post in the Utah thread too

  2. #2
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    That time of year, I think the AZT from Aspen Corner down to FR418 is tough to beat...colors should be great. If you're up for 45 ish miles, you can include that in a loop around the mountain or just an OnB.
    Also pretty tough to beat the views on Little Bear...can make that into a 15 ish mile loop ending with a nice downhill on Schultz creek.

  3. #3
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    Check out the sticky on the top of the thread and find what cities you are going to be in first....probably a must ride destination is Sedona. But if you are even considering the white line with a baby on the way, I'm probably not the person to help you on this thread and you need to spend your time in Flag and maybe SoMo.... and no, it isn't technically hard, but it isn't exposure...it is 98% chance of death if you go over it....a wind gust, tire malfunction, break malfunction, tires at the wrong pressure, read a bump wrong and your kid doesn't have a dad.
    Me to my riding buddy, "Want to ride this afternoon?"
    Him, "I can't. I have to chop this guys foot off at 2".

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by BoomingSooner View Post
    But if you are even considering the white line with a baby on the way, I'm probably not the person to help you. No, it isn't technically hard, but it isn't exposure...it is 98% chance of death if you go over it....a wind gust, tire malfunction, break malfunction, tires at the wrong pressure, read a bump wrong and your kid doesn't have a dad.
    Agree with the above. There is ZERO upside to riding it.

    12 days to get from LA to Florida and you want to spend your time riding? Personally, I would say a day of riding in Sedona is the best that AZ has to offer because the views up there are like nowhere else I've encountered. If that doesn't fit the route your want to take, South Mountain in Phoenix is where I would go. Without going to the Utah thread, I'd say to ride Gooseberry Mesa outside Hurricane. It's relatively close to Interstate 15 so you won't waste too much time getting there as you're heading towards Florida. Park City has some great riding but nothing that stands out vs any other place on the planet. Of course there is Moab but it's somewhat out of the way. If that doesn't bother you, The Whole Enchilada is a giant shuttle ride!!
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    Quote Originally Posted by Raybum View Post
    That time of year, I think the AZT from Aspen Corner down to FR418 is tough to beat...colors should be great. If you're up for 45 ish miles, you can include that in a loop around the mountain or just an OnB.
    Also pretty tough to beat the views on Little Bear...can make that into a 15 ish mile loop ending with a nice downhill on Schultz creek.
    In the Flagstaff area:

    Another vote for the Arizona Trail (AZT). This section has several stands of aspen trees and early/mid October is the peak season for leaves changing color. The trail can be done as an out-and-back or shuttle with nice flowy sections of cross-country travel. Plus, you're riding alongside Arizona's largest mountain! The AZT from Forest Road 418 to Aspen Corner is ~7.5 miles one way. Shuttle options are also available.

    Another option is the Waterline Road north of Flagstaff. It's an access road (gated so no traffic) to several springs that are part of the city water supply. It leads you to the Inner Basin, an ancient caldera that also has lots of Aspen. Waterline Road to Inner Basin is ~10 miles one way.


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  6. #6
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    Obviously Sedona is going to get a ton of recommendations for good reason. Sunset to Schultz Creek on Mt. Elden in Flagstaff would be a good shuttle ride. Phoenix will still be pretty warm then so I would stay North.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by rynomx785 View Post
    Obviously Sedona is going to get a ton of recommendations for good reason. Sunset to Schultz Creek on Mt. Elden in Flagstaff would be a good shuttle ride. Phoenix will still be pretty warm then so I would stay North.
    Everytime you shuttle Shultz creek God kills a Kitten.
    Make Flagstaff RAD Again.

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    Quote Originally Posted by sinatorj View Post
    Everytime you shuttle Shultz creek God kills a Kitten.
    I hate cats.

    Not sure I would just shuttle Schultz but I will definitely shuttle to the top and ride Sunset to Schultz. If a cat still dies.....oh well.

  9. #9
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    Sedona should be good that time of year. So hit it. From there you can also ride Prescott for some cool loops at slightly lower temps and flag for a bit colder than that. Do you plan to stay some place and do day trips or move around. The southern deserts are great riding, but a little warm in Mid October for mid-day rides.

    As for White Line. It is a party trick. Not "hard", but very very high penalty for failure. I got to it and looked at it and made that conclusion and did not bother.

    There is much better riding all over. You can ride to it and watch to see there are any crazies on it, but it not a worthy ride.
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  10. #10
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    I think you have some quality suggestions here. Considering your route east from LA, here's some more to consider:

    Before leaving the LA inner empire, the Palm Canyon Epic is just that. It's a shuttle ride and may be a tad warm at the bottom, but give it a look.
    Big Bear Lake has some nice riding higher up.
    Taking I-15 towards Utah, there are some good options in the Vegas area: Cowboy Trails & Bootleg Canyon.
    In southwest Utah, St. George - Zen trail. Kentucky Lucky Chicken is a fun 4 mile loop.
    Gooseberry Mesa (Rock crawling type of riding), there's also Wire Mesa next to it, a bit more flowy & spectacular views of Zion Nat'l Park. Below Gooseberry Mesa are the fast/flowy GEM trails.

    Then head to AZ. The North Rim will still be open (closes for the year on October 15th). Rainbow Rim trail, singletrack with views into the Grand Canyon & the aspens should be peaking too. The AZT outside the park boundary is top notch, you can make loops with forest roads or do out-n-backs. There is a bit of hike-a-bike, but worth the effort. The AZT north of Jacob Lake to the Utah line is also fantastic, loop it or OnB it.

    Head south to ride the suggestions in Flagstaff and/or Sedona. Check Trailforks for specific route suggestions for Flagstaff & Sedona.

    Take I-40 east to New Mexico. Check out the High Desert Trails in Gallup.

    I assume you'll drop down to Arkansas for the Bentonville stuff.

    There are some fun trails in Tallahassee, FL. Tom Brown Park (aka Lafayette Heritage Park) is swoopy fun with some wood features. Munson Hills trails are super fast singletrack through a Cyprus forest.

    Have a blast!!
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  11. #11
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    Thanks for all of the feedback, it's very much appreciated! From reading through, we'll keep Sunset-Shultz Creek Shuttle in mind, and definitely the section of AZT mentioned. Doubly so given that my lovely lady, before falling pregnant, was in training to do the full AZT with a girlfriend of hers in April 2019. Ah well, such is life eh?

    Ha, we always take the bikes when travelling, it's such a part of us and given that we've wanted to ride the US for quite a while, even though this trip is short we're gonna get a few Icons in

    Appreciate the White Line info too, especially from locals. As much as I like "party trick" lines, and will probably have a look, I'm pretty calculated in the end, even more so while on holidays. Nothing worse that flying home in a cast, or even a casket as it sounds!

    I do like the "warm weather" warnings, but being from Aus where we regularly ride in 30+ degree heat! For sure, we'll be looking to minimize any effort involved so my lady doesn't put the bub at risk from body heat & exhaustion, dehydration and everything we have to stay safe of

    And other than the need to be in Florida by the 21st, we're pretty relaxed on the itinerary, but a couple of days of riding would be pretty neat.

    A big cheers again, and if there's any other good info, please feel free to share! But I reckon we've got a great base to go off here

    And we'll post up again when we have a more definite plan/date setup, see if anyone is about to show a couple of blow-ins some nice trail

    /Edit: So, one question that's come into my mind, is to ask what MTB Hire/Rental is like is major trail centres like Sedona, Park City, Fruita, etc? It's generally pretty terrible here in Sydney, which is why we tend to take our bikes everywhere, but always a good question to ask if it will save us the hassle of carrying baggage around
    Last edited by Isildur; 09-26-2018 at 11:43 PM.

  12. #12
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    Specifically...in Sedona, Highline is likely the one "must ride" trail and usually the #1 rated trail in AZ....
    Me to my riding buddy, "Want to ride this afternoon?"
    Him, "I can't. I have to chop this guys foot off at 2".

  13. #13
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    I agree on Hiline, it's the states best progressive recognized trail imho.

    The White Line isn't a big deal, if you enjoy exposure it's totally worth it and the visuals are rad. If you dig the exposure and steep lines get a like minded local to take you on Hangover and make sure to hit up the Chewy Line out on the nose. It's my most favorite steep line in Sedona.

    For Flag-

    The AZT trail from the 418 to Snowbowl road is beautiful and the trail is pretty good but I don't think it's as good as some people feel it is. Don't get me wrong, it's one of our best rides but I'm more of a bike specific trail, fan if that helps. I like riding that section as a loop starting from Ski Lift Lodge, going out on 180 to 513 then to the 418 and back on the AZT. It's got some paved road and dirt road but all of that is stupid scenic.

    Upper Sunset is my favorite jam right now but I'm biased being part of the work that's gone into it the last few years. Little Bear is probably the best trail from a building standpoint and it's super fun. Lower Sunset got some love this season as well and it's stupid fast if you like speed. From Shultz Pass I really love the AZT until just before you get to Dogfood. That's another very well built section of trail with awesome flow but it's more pedally than straight up descending.

    Most of Flags social steep and fall line trails are blown out to sh#t. This unfortunately includes just about everything we have. I have a hard time suggesting anything else really since our trail system is in such a sad state of affairs, we are literally 20 years behind the curve at this point but doing what we can to hopefully catch up in a few more years.

    Come back when we finish rerouting the Heart trail, that one is gonna be an epic!

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by raisingarizona View Post
    I agree on Hiline, it's the states best progressive recognized trail imho.

    The White Line isn't a big deal, if you enjoy exposure it's totally worth it and the visuals are rad. If you dig the exposure and steep lines get a like minded local to take you on Hangover and make sure to hit up the Chewy Line out on the nose. It's my most favorite steep line in Sedona.

    For Flag-

    The AZT trail from the 418 to Snowbowl road is beautiful and the trail is pretty good but I don't think it's as good as some people feel it is. Don't get me wrong, it's one of our best rides but I'm more of a bike specific trail, fan if that helps. I like riding that section as a loop starting from Ski Lift Lodge, going out on 180 to 513 then to the 418 and back on the AZT. It's got some paved road and dirt road but all of that is stupid scenic.

    Upper Sunset is my favorite jam right now but I'm biased being part of the work that's gone into it the last few years. Little Bear is probably the best trail from a building standpoint and it's super fun. Lower Sunset got some love this season as well and it's stupid fast if you like speed. From Shultz Pass I really love the AZT until just before you get to Dogfood. That's another very well built section of trail with awesome flow but it's more pedally than straight up descending.

    Most of Flags social steep and fall line trails are blown out to sh#t. This unfortunately includes just about everything we have. I have a hard time suggesting anything else really since our trail system is in such a sad state of affairs, we are literally 20 years behind the curve at this point but doing what we can to hopefully catch up in a few more years.

    Come back when we finish rerouting the Heart trail, that one is gonna be an epic!

    Great info!

    Is Little Bear best ridden down? Trail Forks show it as 1300 ft of climbing.

  15. #15
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    Yes. If you ride Elden Lookout Road (or find a shuttle) you ride the top of Sunset down and then pick up Little Bear.
    Just like a raindrop, I was born to fall.

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    Thanks Booming and RA, that's all great info!

    We now have a skeleton, which is LA -> Phoenix looping up through Utah (alas we can't drop the van in Denver, only in Phoenix). Then fly over to Miami.

    We're looking less like bringing our own bikes, as if you're not riding every day, they're a hassle to carry around for a few days of riding, especially when there does seem to be hire options available. The domestic flight charges are all pretty hectic too!

    So, that means lots of sightseeing at the same time, and a bit of riding in key locales - Park City, Moab (maybe, depending on heat, difficulty, etc), Flagstaff/AZT, Sedona.

    Also means we'll have to think of another trip in a few years time!

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by rynomx785 View Post
    Is Little Bear best ridden down? Trail Forks show it as 1300 ft of climbing.
    Here's a little info re: Trailforks & trail direction. There's a built in admin tool that compiles data from ridelogs and spits out stats for a trail with regard to direction of travel. For example, let's take a look at 'Climb 3' in Flagstaff. Climbing trail, right? Well, in Trailforks the GPX data was submitted in the downhill direction & tagged as 'Uphill Primary'. I'm one of the regional admins for AZ on Trailforks so I see the admin tools tab. On that tab there is a section where trails with potential wrong direction are flagged. There are currently 229 flagged trails in the AZ database that 'may' be showing or labeled incorrectly re: direction. One metric they show is percentage of riders for each direction. So, back to Climb 3: Of the 86 ridelogs for that trail, only 5% ride down. The trail was submitted and tagged as 'Uphill Primary' which is correct because it's not a designated one-direction trail like some of the local 'Race loops' at McDowell Regional Park, etc. The issue with Climb 3 is the track submission itself. The start/end points need to be reversed, which is super easy to do...for anyone, not just an admin. I'll correct Climb 3 in a minute and I'm slowly making my way down the list, but it can be tough sometimes if I personally haven't ridden a trail.

    As far as Little Bear is concerned, it doesn't appear on the list for possible wrong direction. Since it's not on the list, I'm not seeing an easy way to see the breakdown of ridelogs & percentage of riders who ride Up vs. Down. I'd be inclined to leave it 'as-is'.

    Typically, when I'm about to ride trail(s) I'm unfamiliar with I'll pull up the trail elevation profile and simply concoct a route as best I can to try and hit the trail(s) in the general downhill direction. So far, that practice has served me very well over the years.
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    If you're going to Utah from LA, you have to go through St George/Hurricane 5-6 hours before getting to Park City. I still say you should ride out there one day. Some people call it the mini-Moab without all the people, jeeps and chaos that goes along with that. Park City is nice and I have timeshare condo there so go frequently (though usually in Winter). It has nothing special that is different from any other forest type riding. Based on what you asked for in your criteria, you'd be better off going to Brian Head which is only a couple hours North of St George. There are several shuttle rides in the Brian Head area. After Brian Head, you could head over to Moab if that's what you still want to do.

    From Moab, you could head down to Cortez, Colorado only two hours away and ride Phil's World...in my opinion the absolute best designed trail system on the planet. It's land leased by a mountain bike group so they designed and built the trails themselves. It's 100% directional, all singletrack and 95% intermediate. No other users are supposed to be out there. You could then head back West, ride Flagstaff if you want or just spend a day at the Grand Canyon. Head South a couple hours to ride Sedona before finishing your loop in Phoenix.
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  19. #19
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    Little Bear is awesome going down but it makes for a good climb as well.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by sinatorj View Post
    Everytime you shuttle Shultz creek God kills a Kitten.
    Tee hee.

    Hard to beat Flag and Sedona. All the previously mentioned rides are great, but more variety of trails concentrated in Flag and Sedona, although the Rainbow rim trail is not super awesome, north Kaibab is if you want peace and quiet. Two trail systems around Gallup then stop in Arkansas. I hear Santa Fe is nice. You could go to Chattanooga if you have time. Of course Asheville would be close, but that would be even more of an over reach.

    My 2c - hammer down to Flag/Sedona, then Durango, then Bentonville.


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  21. #21
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    Thanks again to everyone for the tonne of advice, tips and trail help! We're not bringing our own bikes it turns out. Just too much hassle with the cross country flight and such a (relatively) short trip.

    So we're still looking to do a few standout rides, but will need to hire bikes and potentially get a guide (or a friendly local who feels like showing some out of towners some cool trail).

    What would be people's recommendations for bike hire in Flagstaff and Sedona? And are there any professional guiding/shuttle companies working any of those trails mentioned like AZT Aspen Corner/FR418, or the Shutlz Creek shuttle mentioned (and I know, dead kittens and all, but I can handle that on this trip )

    Although we don't have a solid itinerary - best thing about a van trip - we do have to be in Phoenix on the 19th October, so will definitely be in AZ for 4 - 5 days before that!

    Cheers again!
    Gaby

  22. #22
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    For rentals and guides in Sedona try Over The Edge. They have both.

    For Flagstaff rental Try Flagstaff Bicycle Revolution. I am not aware of any guides in Flagstaff. However you could ask one of the Sedona guides to do a multi day including flagstaff and they assist you.

    Absolute Bikes also rents bikes in both towns.

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    Awesome, thanks for that mate! We'll hit them up and see what's going on next week

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    You won't have to twist my arm very hard to come ride Sunset with you! LOL It is a fun trail.

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    Quote Originally Posted by rynomx785 View Post
    You won't have to twist my arm very hard to come ride Sunset with you! LOL It is a fun trail.
    Ha, we may take you up on that offer. Looks like our plan at the moment is to head from Moab to North Rim on Monday, North Rim to Flagstaff on Tuesday afternoon, the spend Wednesday and Thursday around Flagstaff checking out the scenery, hiking and riding.

    Alas it means we skip Sedona (this time), but having some time to relax will be nicer than smashing through too quickly!

    So if you're around to show us the Sunset to Shultz Creek run, we'd love to take you up on the offer!

    And if there's anyone who knows how we get to the top, with hire bikes and without pedalling, that would be rad. We can offer a lift back up, or back down

  26. #26
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    The snow levels are dropping pretty low this coming week. You might want to head down to sedona instead. I'm pretty sure one of the nights the snow is going to be down to 7500k.

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    Here are links to get the latest weather forecast for Flagstaff, Sedona, and North Rim Grand Canyon

    Cold and wet with snow at Flagstaff and Kaibab Plateau; rain in Sedona.
    Sorry for the lousy weather. October is usually a dry month.

    -db-

  28. #28
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    Sedona might not be bad. Rain often blows through quickly and the trails donít become saturated. Even if you get caught in a brief rain cell the trails may not be saturated. Can always call a LBS for up to date trail conditions. Maybe Tucson?


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  29. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by dbflg View Post
    Here are links to get the latest weather forecast for Flagstaff, Sedona, and North Rim Grand Canyon

    Cold and wet with snow at Flagstaff and Kaibab Plateau; rain in Sedona.
    Sorry for the lousy weather. October is usually a dry month.

    -db-
    I think you mean beautiful weather! This moisture train is insane! We haven't seen anything like this since the fall of 04.

    It might be an epic ski season.

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    Thanks for the weather hints, I guess we'll see how it goes when we're down that way in that next few days.

    Either way it's all good, plenty of things to see and do, and being out of towners, it's all epic to us!

    I'll post up once we're in Flagstaff or Sedona and see what the score is

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    Quote Originally Posted by raisingarizona View Post
    It might be an epic ski season.
    Hopefully!!!!

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    Ah... Only taken me a few weeks to get the time to write this, but better late than never!

    A huge thanks for all of the help from the forum on the tips and trails in AZ!

    Leaving Moab, we headed for North Rim for some sightseeing. The afternoon and evening was spectacular and I thought we had seen "scale" before, but nothing like staring from the top of north rim down into the canyon, through all the layers. Totally Epic! Ended up staying in one of the cabins as we'd heard about some impending snow overnight... Very glad we did, as woke up to another mind-blowing sight of an inch of snow on the ground So awesome for us Aussies, especially my wife who was giggling like a small child

    Skirted South Rim the next day, but alas it was still a whiteout. And then straight into Sedona and Flagstaff was wet and sleety...

    Oh wow. Sedona, what can I say? Fan-bloody-tastic! The scenery, the trails, the vibe, the people (other than the mega tourists) all made the place brilliant. Camped for a few days out on the FR251 (I think?) and did some riding with Over The Edge and Hermosa Tours. I highly recommend them for those looking for a day out when you have zero trail knowledge.

    Jo @ Hermosa Tours showed me Highline, which was a lovely, albeit long (for us flatlander Aussies), climb up, but a fantastic descent. The Evil Offering I rented made short work of the descent, and it's been ages since I've had the joy of riding a trail completely blind and onsight, just turning in, sighting a line and riding it through

    While there I did walk the White Line. And I can say I'll be back to ride it on my own bike next time Funnily enough, the part getting me thinking wasn't the turn-down or expossure (rock climbing for many years sorts that out), but the one water gully and another outward bulge just after. Definitely want my own bike for that

    Thanks again for all the help, can't wait to get back over there next year some time (or, maybe the year after with our impending newborn).

    And if any of you come this side of the seas, flick me a message and I'll happily show you some local dirt.

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    Glad you had a great time. I wonít even walk white line. Unless Iím dared to do so. I have poor self esteem.

    My daughter, when traveling in Europe told me if there was a group of loud and rambunctious people in the bar, they were typically Aussies and Yanks. Donít know how much truth there is to that statement.


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    Quote Originally Posted by DrDon View Post
    My daughter, when traveling in Europe told me if there was a group of loud and rambunctious people in the bar, they were typically Aussies and Yanks. Donít know how much truth there is to that statement.
    😂😂🤣🤣

    Ha, maybe! I'm more of a quiet thinking type, but I'd say the loud and rambunctious types were probably drunk 😁

    And nothing wrong with not heading up to White Line. The exposure is pretty solid, so it's totally understandable ☺

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    haha, so, based on some of the reputation comments I've received (all positive, glad you liked the trip outline), I gather these are necessary I'm that little blue dot in the shots my lovely lady took, and some shots of the slab angle and the turn down

    Looking at you @levity

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    Arizona "Must Ride" Trails-white-line-5.jpg Arizona "Must Ride" Trails-white-line-4.jpg
    Arizona "Must Ride" Trails-white-line-3.jpg Arizona "Must Ride" Trails-white-line-6.jpg

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    Anything good near Surprise, AZ on the west side?
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  37. #37
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    Posts
    4,653
    You have White Tanks, Estrella, Thunderbird, Deem Hills, and Lake Pleasant.

    Trailforks shows these areas.
    Joe
    '18 Specialized Epic 29", Vassago Verhauen SS 29", '13 Santa Cruz Solo 27.5", XC, AM, blah blah blah.. I just ride.

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