Best resources for Phoenix area riding- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
    gdv
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    Best resources for Phoenix area riding

    Hi there,

    I'm going to have 3 days of riding available after a work trip to Phoenix. I've never been, so wondering what are the best sources for info on trails and locations in the Phoenix area? Can I just rely on Trailforks? LBS advice? Just scour this this forum for up to date info??

    Thx.

  2. #2
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    Lots of information here. Trailforks shows all the trails, but has little data on what the riding is like and good loops. When are those 3 days? Temperature plays a role in where and when you ride. Also what part of Phx are you in? Phx is at least 1 hour driving from end to end without traffic. More in rush hour. There are riding places all around the area and in the adjacent areas just out of town. Plus we need to know what kind of riding you are looking for. Long distance, short distance, remote experiences, techy riding or climbs or both etc.
    Joe
    '18 Specialized Epic 29", Vassago Verhauen SS 29", '13 Santa Cruz Solo 27.5", XC, AM, blah blah blah.. I just ride.

  3. #3
    gdv
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    March 23-26. We are staying in the Coronado neighborhood area. Looking to ride most of the day everyday, scenic, some climbing and descending. Preferably flow vs techy (plenty of that where I coming from).

    Thx.

  4. #4
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    I don't know where Coronado is. Downtown Phx?

    Anyway, arguably not a lot of "flow" here. If you have decent technical skills you should definitely ride South Mountain at least once, since it's the classic Phoenix mountain. Hawes is fun and more flowy/much less tech, but it's out in east Mesa.
    Just like a raindrop, I was born to fall.

  5. #5
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    Grab a cold frosty one and look at the sticky located at the top of this forum and then cruise through all the threads. Plenty of riding to be had
    "We'll ride it until they pave it."

    -Urban Yeti
    Dirttreaders.com

  6. #6
    gdv
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    Yes, downtown. Ok, good to know. Is Hawes what Trailforks shows as Usery Mountains?

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by gdv View Post
    Is Hawes what Trailforks shows as Usery Mountains?
    Affirmative.

  8. #8
    Meatbomb
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    McDowell Mountain Park is flowy as is Browns Ranch area. Just a bit of a drive but worth it.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by gdv View Post
    Hi there,

    I'm going to have 3 days of riding available after a work trip to Phoenix. I've never been, so wondering what are the best sources for info on trails and locations in the Phoenix area? Can I just rely on Trailforks? LBS advice? Just scour this this forum for up to date info??

    Thx.
    Hi there...I just came back from my 1st trip to PHX and we rode (5) areas over (4) days. I'm not sure where you normally ride or what other "destination" type places you've been but I'll give you *my* opinions...and probably step on a few toes of locals at the same time. I will say this, heed the warning about traffic because everything is pretty spread out and it took us way longer to get to the trails that I'm normally used to since PHX is so big. On the flip side of that, the food and entertainment options at night were endless. We went to an MLB spring training game and also went to where the Coyotes play hockey.

    We used Trailforks most of the time but used MTB Project a couple days as well because the areas we were riding weren't on Trailforks.

    FINS/Fantasy Island (SW of downtown in Goodyear)...rode this after driving 6 hours and in 91 degree heat but it was still a good time. Mostly twisty, windy singletrack out there with some rocky climbs tossed in for good measure. There was 8some* flow out there and even a serpentine wooden ramp for some DH fun. We looped that a few times. Decent signage.

    South Mountain...as somebody mentioned, I had read that this is the "must do" in PHX. We did the Mormon Loop climb and then came down East National and it's definitely on the techy side which you may not like but it was a blast. Keep up your speed and you're dropping & bonking all over the place like a rolling pinball. Definitely worth the effort. Tons of hikers out here and they start early but we had no issues.

    Hawes...east of downtown but easy to get to and very intermediate in nature. Nothing overly difficult or overly exciting. I could see this place being that type of area a local goes after work to get some miles in. There is signage but alot of the signs are missing so we relied on Trailforks here but unless you get off the beaten path, probably impossible to get lost here since the road is wishing sight most of the time.

    McDowell Competitive Loops....way up there in the NE area of the PHX metro area in Fountain Hills. I understand there's alot more to McDowell but we just did the competitive loops as it was our second ride of the day and wee drawn in by the name "Sport Loop" which was fun but not especially sporty. Another was the "Technical Loop" which wasn't especially technical and the last loop was the "Long Loop" which was our favorite. It was essentially 100% singletrack and had it all...up, down, twisty, windy, rocky, haul a$$ fast and fun, fun, fun. There are actually signs stating the area is for race practice so don't go here if you get offended by folks blowing by you.

    Cave Creek Cactus Cup Loop...up in the town of Cave Creek and we used the MTB Project maps for this one, a 25.5 mile loop that starts at the downtown bike shop. Most of my friends were beat by day 4 but this was my favorite overall as it has some good climbs, plenty of areas to go fast and the scenery was out of this world beautiful. I could actually live here if the temps stayed at 80 or below year round. The town of Cave Creek was also very neat as well and someplace I hope to return with my wife.

  10. #10
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    If you're in the Coronado district you'll be very close to the Phoenix Mountain Preserve which has TONS of options for riding. Lots of rock XC type stuff as well as plenty of nasty tech sections. Trail 100 (Christansen trail ?) is the main artery from end to end and there are many other trails that split off from it. Dreamy Draw is pretty much dead center and the largest trailhead. Expect lots of loose shale and sharp imbedded rocks but also plenty of fast trails with just enough tech to keep you on your toes. Hairball & Cheesegrater are the 2 main "ugly" descents (not sure if they show up as such on trail forks ).
    Desert Sunset Calls/Upward, Pain, Perseverance/Welcome Solitude

  11. #11
    gdv
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    Cave Creek looks pretty awesome, may have to check that out. Would you say there is much in the way of good intermediate loops at South Mountain? The techy sounds great, but my wife may object.

  12. #12
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    Desert Classic at South Mtn is great for more mellow ride. You can do it from the east entrance (Pima Canyon) as a 22 mile out and back. Good solid ride, but expect traffic during peak hours. There are also the east loops near Pima Canyon. Those have some techy bits, but nothing crazy or stuff you can walk if needed.

    Trail100 is also good. Park at Dreamy Draw off 51fwy and Northern. Then go east or west. West is good to follow all the "100" signs and there are tunnels under the major roads. Couple nice off shoots west of cave creek road. Trailforks shows them as "hairpin alley" and "Rocky Ridge north". Both can be ridden either way. East of Dreamy Draw lot is somewhat of maze of trails. Here T100 is sort of a "freeway" and all the good stuff is on the side trails. It can be hard to get on the right trail since there are few signs, but there are out there. 1A is good so 304 and 8 and 8a. Same with 220. VOAZ is off of 1A is nice tough climb and I always do it as an out an back. The descent down south side of Mtn is really pretty nasty. Good if you want that sort of thing though.


    The cave creek race loop is really nice. Start with paved road climb and goes into some scenic and remote feeling areas. Different from the "in town rides". Good place to start that is Flat Tire Bike shop. Then grab a bite a Local Jonny's right there.

    There is also the mcdowells in North Scottsdale. West side (City of scottsdale) is rocky and chunky. East side (Maricopa County park) is mostly smooth. There also Browns Ranch where all the trails are smooth and grades a gentle. However lots of turns and decomposed granite to make the traction limited. Fun stuff there too.
    Joe
    '18 Specialized Epic 29", Vassago Verhauen SS 29", '13 Santa Cruz Solo 27.5", XC, AM, blah blah blah.. I just ride.

  13. #13
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    Look into Black Canyon Trail (BCT). It's an hour drive from down town but it it has a little of everything and well worth the drive. If it's all day you want, this trail can deliver.

    Also look into Gold Canyon. it to is an hour + drive from down town.

    As Dirtrider said, look at the trail Sticky for endless riding options. And watch the heat.

  14. #14
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    in my opinion k2 is correct... the phoenix area is huge and you would get driving/traffic fatigue if you tried to drive all over and hit every corner of the valley... pick a location and focus on the trails of that area..

    Well i'm biased because I live in North Phoenix.. but I have rode just about everywhere.. I say stay to the north.. and here are your options.

    1) Scottsdale sonoran preserve Brown's ranch TH -- tons of easy flow trails.. I mean tons ! beautiful scenery
    2) Scottsdale sonoran preserve Windate TH -- fairly tough light technical
    3) Cave Creek loop as stated earlier -- great loop great scenery.
    4) Phoenix Sonoran preserve apache wash TH -- non technical but some hefty climbs
    5) Deem Hills -- light technical climbs very rocky, not as scenic
    6) Black Canyon trail Emery Henderson trailhead -- this is a bit of a drive and an out and back ride unless you shuttle. A bit more work to do but its rated very high. Very scenic and great trails.

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