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  1. #1
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    Looking for Arizona's longest downhills.

    Hi, I'm doing a little research trying to find the West's longest downhill MTB routes and was wondering if anyone could give me some info on Arizona. I'm looking for routes that have 5,000+ vertical feet, have good downhill flow with a minimum of big climbs on the way down, are primarily quality singletrack or interesting (challenging) jeep trail, and are not in Wilderness areas. I was wondering if there is anything that fits that discription on Mt Lemmon or Mt Graham or anywhere else for that matter. So far I have found routes in Colorado, Utah, California, and Oregon. No, I'm not writing a book or anything, just making a list. I'm not really a "downhiller" either, more like an "all mountain" rider. For your responses, I'll let you in on some of the other routes I know of. Thanks.

  2. #2
    Elitest thrill junkie
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    We have a lot more 3000'+ than 5000'+. I wouldn't say that we lack big downhills, but limiting yourself to 5000+ cuts out a lot of seriously fun (and pretty long) downhills.
    "It's only when you stand over it, you know, when you physically stand over the bike, that then you say 'hey, I don't have much stand over height', you know"-T. Ellsworth

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  3. #3
    Tucson, AZ
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    Mt Lemmon--Red Ridge, Samaniego, and Oracle Ridge all fit some of that description. I have ridden all in the past year. All might not make the cut for your book, but can be done for those that like some adventure. I would not call them 'downhill' though, perhaps sammie might be considered the closest.

    Sammie write-up here
    Stats:
    12.68 miles
    7 hours total, GPS said 5 hours of "moving time" although that might be with all the route finding we did
    2381 feet of climbing, 8,005 feet of descending

    Honestly though, the singletrack down here is pretty rough, so you might want to leave Mt Lemmon off the list.
    Last edited by azepicriderandrunner; 05-09-2009 at 08:21 PM.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by bpressnall
    Hi, I'm doing a little research trying to find the West's longest downhill MTB routes and was wondering if anyone could give me some info on Arizona. I'm looking for routes that have 5,000+ vertical feet, have good downhill flow with a minimum of big climbs on the way down, are primarily quality singletrack or interesting (challenging) jeep trail, and are not in Wilderness areas. I was wondering if there is anything that fits that discription on Mt Lemmon or Mt Graham or anywhere else for that matter. So far I have found routes in Colorado, Utah, California, and Oregon. No, I'm not writing a book or anything, just making a list. I'm not really a "downhiller" either, more like an "all mountain" rider. For your responses, I'll let you in on some of the other routes I know of. Thanks.
    All:

    In Sedona we really only have a couple downhill sections of maybe 100', besides that we are mostly known for our super world class uphill trails. No point in sending anyone here for more than a couple hundred feet of downhill over a 3 or 4 hour period.
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  5. #5
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    I agree, but I just got interested in where the longest downhills were after riding a few. Right now I have 9 deffinite with 5,000-7,500' and 4 others ranging from 5-10,000' that need further research.

  6. #6
    Tucson, AZ
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    Quote Originally Posted by bpressnall
    I agree, but I just got interested in where the longest downhills were after riding a few. Right now I have 9 deffinite with 5,000-7,500' and 4 others ranging from 5-10,000' that need further research.
    I would say that Lemmon could be described as an endurance-technical area. If you love to climb or enjoy making your own trail through the brush, then Mt Lemmon is for you.

    Case in point:

    33 miles with 12k of climbing, almost all on singletrack

    From Chad's Mountain Bike Blog


    Riding down is a good time too although it has some burly climbs

    Samaniego is a good time, but you need to know the trails and wear some carharts or leg warmers since the trail is pretty darn overgrown.





    Either way, I think AZ might not make your list since we do not have anything you described (unless you want to fly down only forest roads). Hope that helps man.

  7. #7
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    Sounds good, as long as there is lots of cactus and rattlesnakes to fall on. Actually this is the kind of thing I'm looking for. (I think) Thanks!

  8. #8
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    The big routes off the top of Pinal are in the 4500' range. Six Shooter MIGHT have a total accumulated elevation loss of 5000'+ if you take into account the climb back out of the canyon in the first third.

    p.

  9. #9
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    And if you ride down from Mingus to the airport in Cottonwood it's about 4500'
    "It's only when you stand over it, you know, when you physically stand over the bike, that then you say 'hey, I don't have much stand over height', you know"-T. Ellsworth

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  10. #10
    Downhill Spokesmodel
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    Ash Creek, Shake Spring - Mt Graham

    I know Ash Creek is in the 5000+ range and Shake Spring may be close as well.
    Check EpicRiders GPS posts.
    http://www.singletrack.us/gallery/th...s.php?album=53
    Now I DRIVE the short bus!!


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  11. #11
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    Thanks for the replies. Checking up on your suggestions, I came up with this: Red Ridge on Mt Lemon is about 6,000' vertical, but sounds like lots of climbing on the way down (not that there's anything wrong with that). Looks like Pinal Pk near Globe has several good trails with up to 4,000' of vert. Mingus Mountain near Jerome, has a trail with just over 4.000 vert. And the Pinaleno Mountains near Safford has a couple of big descents. Goudy Ridge trail could be 5,000 ' if you tack on a dirt road up above the trail. Shake Springs has about 3,500 vert. And the biggest descent in Arizona might be Ash Creek. The main trail has about 5,200 vertical, but if you tack on a trail above it that starts at point 10,471 and then ride dirt roads further out into the dessert, you might get close to 7.500 vertical. It sounds like there might have been a slide or something destroying part of the trail in the last couple of years so I'm not sure of the status. The longest dropping (bike legal) all singletrack route in the US is the Bar Trail on Pikes Peak at 7,500'. I suggest doing it on weekdays cause it's a popular hike trail, Possibly the most varied and fun downhill in the US is Burro Pass to Porcupine Rim , AKA "The Whole Enchilada" at Moab (7,150'). Cannel Plunge at Kernville CA has 7,200 from Sherman Peak but quite a bit of climbing till the final 5,700' of the "Plunge" section. At Downieville CA from the top of Sierra Buttes down through the Sunrise, Butcher Ranch, 2nd and 1st devide trails has 5,500'. I know of other more obsure routes, but they would be hard to find info on. Happy trails!

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