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  1. #1
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    Brown's Ranch to Tom's Thumb - New Gooseneck Trail

    It is very exciting to announce the new McDowell Sonoran Preserve, Gooseneck Trail that connects, via single track, the northern 15,000 acre Brown's Ranch, the southern 15,000 acre McDowell Mountains and the 21,000 acre McDowell Mountain Regional Park.

    The new trail starts at the Fraesfield Trailhead in the southeast corner of Brown's Ranch (Dynamite and 136th). For 3/4 of a mile the trail runs west paralleling Dynamite and then crosses Dynamite at the 128th St. intersection.

    The Gooseneck is an S shaped piece of land that runs north and south along the west side of 128th for the first two miles and then crosses over to the east side of 128th and runs along the McDowell Mountain Regional Park. Connector trails to the County Park and the Pemberton Trail are coming soon.

    In the south end, the trail currently stops 100' short of the Rock Knob trail and provides access to the Tom's Thumb trailhead and the Pemberton Trail via Rock Knob.

    After you ride the trail, please provide feedback here. Enjoy!

    Riding North to South

    Below is a Garmin map of the trail from North to South. A few things to note:

    • Trail signs south of Dynamite are not installed yet. It is a good idea use GPS navigation or be prepared for some exploration. GPX files are linked below.

    • The trail cut in the northern section is getting overgrown with grass and wildflowers. The trail can be hard to see. Keep in mind this is a north-south trail, don't be diverted by the older east-west trails.

    • The center section of this route is still on old single track and old Jeep roads.

    • There are some sharp edged wash crossings with deep sand - be cautious.

    • The southern most 100' of this trail is not complete. In other words - the connection to Rock Knob trail doesn't exist yet, please walk your bike through the desert to get to Rock Knob.


    Click here to download the GPX file from Fraesfield to Tom's Thumb


    South to North

    The bullet points above still apply.

    If you are planning to ride the trail from the Tom's Thumb Trailhead parking lot, this is how you find the trail. Reset your odometer to 0.0 where the pavement meets the dirt at the beginning of the Marcus Landslide trail. Follow Marcus Landslide and turn left on Rock Knob trail. When your odometer hits .69 miles, look to your left at you can see the new trail cut in a hillside about 100 yards away. You will be on a downhill grade, just before a sharp right turn, it is easy to miss. Please walk your bike through the desert to the trail. If you reach the county park boundary you've gone too far.

    Click here to download the GPX file from Tom's Thumb to Fraesfield. Note this is a slightly different route than the southbound route.


  2. #2
    I am Walt
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    Thanks, Mark...real cool of you to be keeping everyone up to speed!
    Ride more; post less...

  3. #3
    The Next 100 Miler
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    Thanks Walt.

    The City wanted to get everything done before opening the trail, but there is concern that the grasses and flowers are growing in so fast in the north section that the trail would disappear without some traffic on it.

    I rode it again yesterday and the little yellow ground cover flowers are stunning.

  4. #4
    livin' the dream......
    Reputation: tjkm's Avatar
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    Nice! Might explore this over the weekend.
    Less f*cks to give every passing day, use them well. - geraldooka

  5. #5
    Give it a crank
    Reputation: Mtn-Rider's Avatar
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    Ditto. Thanks for posting!

  6. #6
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    Reputation: dtownmtb's Avatar
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    great to see that connection completed.

    Mark,
    Any word on the connector from the top of Sunrise to Fountain Hills? I had heard early this year. That's going to be a biggie since it will allow us to go around the mountain without dealing with Hidden Hills.

  7. #7
    The Next 100 Miler
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    Quote Originally Posted by dtownmtb View Post
    great to see that connection completed.

    Mark,
    Any word on the connector from the top of Sunrise to Fountain Hills? I had heard early this year. That's going to be a biggie since it will allow us to go around the mountain without dealing with Hidden Hills.
    I have been focused on the northern trails, but I believe I heard one of the trail builders is going to start working in the McDowell's soon, not sure which trail(s).

  8. #8
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    MONSTER LOOPz - McD to P&D !

  9. #9
    Ahhh the pain....
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    I can see a huge North Valley loop brewing...PMP to Mcd to P&D to Spur Cross to Cave Creek to PSP to Deems and back on the canal. Might be a 2 day-er.

  10. #10
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    IN!!

    As long as trail #4 ain't in the equation, that is.

  11. #11
    Ahhh the pain....
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    Awww, c'mon... trail 4 is awesome...what's a little HAB after some of the stuff you've done?

  12. #12
    How much further ???
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    Sweet. I was just planning a 50-60 mile ride out there for this weekend and was planning on using 128th and 132nd to get between the two systems. thanks.
    “Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did." Mark Twain

  13. #13
    Just another half mile...
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    Next tme try Cottonwood and Bronco Creek trail in lieu of Trail #4. A lot less HAB.

    Quote Originally Posted by Raybum View Post
    Awww, c'mon... trail 4 is awesome...what's a little HAB after some of the stuff you've done?

  14. #14
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    Park at Tom's Thumb, head north and do a perimeter loop around Brown's Ranch, back to the car for water/food and then do the Fat 40 race loop from Tom's Thumb with a water stop at the Pemberton trailhead. That puts you in the 75 mile range.

  15. #15
    I am Walt
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    Quote Originally Posted by MarkP View Post
    Park at Tom's Thumb, head north and do a perimeter loop around Brown's Ranch, back to the car for water/food and then do the Fat 40 race loop from Tom's Thumb with a water stop at the Pemberton trailhead. That puts you in the 75 mile range.
    Without any HAB or blow-yourself-up steep/sustained climbing...gonna have to try that!
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  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Raybum View Post
    I can see a huge North Valley loop brewing...PMP to Mcd to P&D to Spur Cross to Cave Creek to PSP to Deems and back on the canal. Might be a 2 day-er.
    With a PIMP hotel stay for the night.

  17. #17
    livin' the dream......
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    I did some exploring today and parked at Tom's thumb with the goal of finding the new trail, and rolling north to Granite and back. I forgot to double check the thread before heading out, but I had a good idea of how to access the new stuff. I rolled out, and did not see the trail and made it down to the gate to enter the county park. I rode back up to the intersection with Marcus Landslide, and spun it around, and slow rolled it down and found it. I carried the bike a short distance and got on the new trail and began to ride. I could see several sets of tire tracks and some foot prints and pressed on, taking in some new scenery and enjoying some wildflowers.

    The trail was slowly working west, when I finally came up to the standard McD pipe fence and horse gate. I followed the trail north along the gate and rolled some fun singlegtrack with a bit of surprise uphill. The trail is well built, and they used the terrain to make this a fun section. Further on, to my surprise, I came to an intersection (trail post, no sign as MarkP stated) and was stumped as which way to go, left or right? I went left, knowing I had to cross 128th St. at some point, and figured that was the logical way. Kept on rolling, but started drifting east, through some really cool rocks, and then I could start to see houses. I saw the Jomax & 130th street sign, and again, more trail posts (meaning this will not just be a N/S option, looks like there will be loops off Gooseneck?

    Anyway, I eventually crossed 128th, and things looked familiar, but I missed the right turn about 100 feet past 128th, and rode double track to almost to the fence line, and found yet another trail post, and new trail going north. I really enjoyed this section, cool granite rocks, tons of wildflowers and great views. I eventually found the trail becoming 'grown over' as MarkP also mentioned, and found myself riding a thin ribbon through a carpet of yellow flowers. Super cool! I finally hit Rio Verde and crossed over, and was in familiar terrain, lapped Granite Mountain and headed up the way I came. When I hit 128th, needing to save time, I just pointed it up the access road and was quickly back at the car.

    Cool ride, was fun to explore and see some new stuff. I was surprised at the amount of options I 'think' we will get once these trails are competed. It looks like much more than a N/S connector!!

    Thanks MarkP for sharing this info!!
    Less f*cks to give every passing day, use them well. - geraldooka

  18. #18
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    I was out there today as we'll hoping to check it out. Ended up having an inexperienced group including my kids so desided to take a good familiar loop instead but can't wait to check it out in the near future.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by tjkm View Post
    Further on, to my surprise, I came to an intersection (trail post, no sign as MarkP stated) and was stumped as which way to go, left or right? I went left, knowing I had to cross 128th St. at some point, and figured that was the logical way. Kept on rolling, but started drifting east, through some really cool rocks, and then I could start to see houses. I saw the Jomax & 130th street sign, and again, more trail posts (meaning this will not just be a N/S option, looks like there will be loops off Gooseneck?
    You are correct, there are some east/west loops off of the main north/south trail. At the first intersection you mentioned above, a right turn will take you on a loop down toward Pemberton (no gate yet). You can also go straight (north) from that intersection and catch some of the old fun single track that loops back (north then southwest) to the 128th St crossing.

    Glad you enjoyed it!

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by dtownmtb View Post
    IN!!

    As long as trail #4 ain't in the equation, that is.
    +1.

  21. #21
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    Has anyone done this recently? I started my ride at Brown's from the Fraesfield TH today, and those trails were in great shape. I knew I had read this some time ago, but needed to come back and re-read it to see where to go, if I had I would have gone and done some exploring. What a gorgeous day to be a mountain biker in AZ...
    MTBR: Your dad's online mountain bike forum.



  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by blaklabl View Post
    Has anyone done this recently? I started my ride at Brown's from the Fraesfield TH today, and those trails were in great shape. I knew I had read this some time ago, but needed to come back and re-read it to see where to go, if I had I would have gone and done some exploring. What a gorgeous day to be a mountain biker in AZ...
    Here is a pic of Gooseneck - as far as I've explored it. Lots of ways to connect.

    Brown's Ranch to Tom's Thumb - New Gooseneck Trail-gooseneck_network.jpg

  23. #23
    The Next 100 Miler
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    Desert Foothills Mountain Bike Association will be leading a Gooseneck Trail ride next Sunday morning - May 18th. Details here:
    https://www.facebook.com/events/1436047029977382/

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