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  1. #1
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    Maricopa Trail Question.

    My wife, who is a novice rider, and I started riding the Maricopa Trail at the Tonto Ranger Station, on Bartlett Lake Road, and headed north toward Bronco Trailhead...we didn't make it.

    After climbing and traversing one moderately difficult hill, we were positioned on a saddle and about to descend into a wash and then do a bunch of switchbacks before making a long traverse to the right around a pretty good size bluff, or plateau. It looked way harder than the hill we just climbed.

    We were a wee bit intimidated and bailed.

    So, how hard is that hill? What is the trail like beyond that hill? And finally, were we even close to Bronco TH?

    I've looked at a few maps, but I'm having a hard time determining the difficulty of the climb.

    Thanks.

  2. #2
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    Reputation: JoePAz's Avatar
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    That is part of the new section of Maricopa trail and pretty tough from what I have heard. Lots of elevation gain. Between Bartlett Ranger station and Spur Cross Maricopa is hard. Very hard. Bronco TH is right in the middle of that mess. I believe it can be traversed and strong riders can ride a lot of it. By contrast between Spur cross and Lake Pleasant Maricopa is fully rideable. Might be a few isolated steep climbs that cause issues, but nothing really "hard". Maricopa from Bartlett south though Browns to just before the passes in the McDowells is what I call "easy".
    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
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    South from the ranger station will be much easier.

    This is the section you were on:

    https://www.trailforks.com/trails/ma...il-segment-22/

    This is the section to the south:

    https://www.trailforks.com/trails/ma...tlett-lake-rd/

  4. #4
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    I'm definitely going to have to become better versed with the trailforks app. Thanks so much.

    We have already done the section to the south of the ranger station and I knew the section to the north was going to be harder; we just didn't know how much harder.

    Our ultimate goal is to ride form Brown's Ranch Trailhead to Humbolt Peak and back.

    Now we are thinking riding Seven Springs Road is a reasonable option.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by JoePAz View Post
    That is part of the new section of Maricopa trail and pretty tough from what I have heard. Lots of elevation gain. Between Bartlett Ranger station and Spur Cross Maricopa is hard. Very hard. Bronco TH is right in the middle of that mess. I believe it can be traversed and strong riders can ride a lot of it. By contrast between Spur cross and Lake Pleasant Maricopa is fully rideable. Might be a few isolated steep climbs that cause issues, but nothing really "hard". Maricopa from Bartlett south though Browns to just before the passes in the McDowells is what I call "easy".
    Yes, the section north of the ranger station, at least as far as we went, did seem to be new and not very well traveled.

    I even commented that there was quite a bit of grass and weeds growing in the trail.

    Also yes, I agree the section south from the ranger station and somewhat beyond Brown's Ranch is easy.

    In fact, that is one of the reasons my wife and I ventured north. We rather naively thought it might be more of the same...it wasn't.

    Thanks for your help.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by myt1 View Post
    I'm definitely going to have to become better versed with the trailforks app. Thanks so much.

    We have already done the section to the south of the ranger station and I knew the section to the north was going to be harder; we just didn't know how much harder.

    Our ultimate goal is to ride form Brown's Ranch Trailhead to Humbolt Peak and back.

    Now we are thinking riding Seven Springs Road is a reasonable option.
    I have done Browns TH to the top of Humboldt. We took the road from the ranger station. This was just before the northern section of Maricopa was finished. 45mile round trip.
    Joe
    '18 Specialized Epic 29", Vassago Verhauen SS 29", '13 Santa Cruz Solo 27.5", XC, AM, blah blah blah.. I just ride.

  7. #7
    Ahhh the pain....
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    That section of Maricopa from Bronco TH, south to the Bartlett Ranger Station goes up over of the Saddle of Kentuck Mtn... Those switchbacks you saw were going up to the saddle, then would head west (and mostly DH). I've ridden it probably 4x but always N to S. Those switchbacks got pretty beat up from the summer rains but are mostly rideable going down. I can't imagine riding up them...super steep!
    Here is another cool option out there...after you get to Bartlett Lake Rd, you can make a pretty fun CCW loop using a moto trail. Here's the ride.
    https://www.strava.com/activities/1482255770

  8. #8
    DFL>DNF>DNS
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    I was dumb enough to ride the MT going north from Brown's about a year ago. The MT wasn't quite finished, but I got the idea. Scroll about 1/2 way down this posting for some pics of the terrain around Kentuck Mtn. I think I'll take Ray's advice and ride it southbound next time I'm up there.

    BR: Exploring & Touring
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