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  1. #1
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    Northern Phoenix in January

    Hello all, traveling mid-January to the Desert Ridge area and curious on some specific singletrack questions. This past Feb was my first time to Arizona and I did a few rides at Apache Wash/Ocatillo/Sidewinder and really enjoyed it. Also I took my wife to Brown's Ranch but that isn't somewhere I'd ride solo as it's a bit too tame for my liking.

    I'll likely do 1-2 rides again at Apache Wash, but what would be another similar location nearby that has that level of riding, even a bit more difficult? As I rider on a 1-10 scale I'm proabably 7.5 on cardio fitness and 6.5 on technical ability. I see Trailforks has millions of other spots, but I think its hit/miss on really how good these places are. I thought Cave Creek was a good option, but got turned off by a local saying "It's too loose/sandy, don't go there" so I avoided the 25 min drive last year.

    What is my next best option within 30 mins of Desert Ridge for some intermediate singletrack besides the Apache Wash?

    Thanks in advance for replies!!

  2. #2
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    T100/PMP area in town. Have intermediate trails, moderate chunk and some super chunk. Cave Creek is good to. The local probably just want the area to himself. There is also west side of McDowells. Gateway, Windgate, Paradise, Lost Dog. Very chunky.
    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
    Meatbomb
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    McDowells...

  4. #4
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    Keep an eye out for weekend demos at McDowell by Pivot. Ride some different bikes.


  5. #5
    Ahhh the pain....
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    Slight variant on what others have said....
    1. Apache Wash: Great start point since you can hook up many different routes from there. Can do both Sonoran North and South and rack up nearly 30 miles plus +3kft of climbing. Or venture north from Apache Wash and go into CC park where you'll find a variety of singletrack from smooth to chunky.
    2. McDowells....The passes are all super chunky after the rains (from what people have mentioned)...lots of work, but great views.
    3. McDowell Park...on the east side of the Mcdowells are a ton of trails in the county park and just inside the scottsdale border that are fun....lots of miles to be had, and can connect to Browns Ranch for a 100+ mile day of singletrack...(albeit kinda mind numbing).
    4. BCT: from Desert Ridge, you're not too far from Emery Hendersen TH...backcountry feeling route where you can do an OnB of 24 miles total up to Table Mesa Rd and back.
    5. PMP: as Joe said...it's one of the more central parks that has miles and miles of trails...anything from chunk to tame.

    btw, don't let anyone on this forum talk you into Sedona or Gold Canyon...because guaranteed they will try.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Yupstate View Post
    I thought Cave Creek was a good option, but got turned off by a local saying "It's too loose/sandy, don't go there" so I avoided the 25 min drive last year.
    As Joe said, Cave Creek park is not too sandy... maybe this person was talking about mountain biking the actual creek lol... I just mention one thing because a lot of suggestions (good ones) have already been made... There are ways to link up the Desert Vista, Apache Wash, and Cave Creek trails to make for a 3 hours + ride... If that is something you are interested in, let us know. A lot of folks on this forum (or myself) can help you with doing that.

  7. #7
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    Take water. January needs it.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by eb1888 View Post
    Keep an eye out for weekend demos at McDowell by Pivot. Ride some different bikes.
    I already own two! But maybe need a third?

  9. #9
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    Thanks everyone for the replies, this gives me some good ideas!

  10. #10
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    Don't forget about Deem hills as it's more technical than Sonoran preserves, the geology on the west side of I-17 is far different than the east side.

    https://www.phoenix.gov/parks/trails...ills/trail-map

  11. #11
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    Go

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    Young Man
    Gold Canyon
    TS

  12. #12
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    Desert Vista Trailhead, it's just south of the Apache Wash area and you can even connect the two for a longer day if you wanted. I like doing the Dixie Loop clockwise, then connecting to the Great Horned Owl/Cactus Wren counter clockwise, and then riding Desert Tortoise back to the trailhead. It's a little more challenging than the Apache Wash trails.

    Sent from my Pixel XL using Tapatalk

  13. #13
    Ahhh the pain....
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    Quote Originally Posted by Transition Senior View Post
    Go

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    Young Man
    Gold Canyon
    TS
    while a fine area to ride, the OP did say w/in 30 minutes of DR. Depending on the time of day, DR to GC can be an absolute traffic nightmare and well over 30 minutes.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Transition Senior View Post
    Go

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    Gold Canyon
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    So the answer to every ride question is Gold Canyon? Bwahh... You are not going to pull that crap again.

    Gold canyon is a solid 60 minute one no traffic drive from Desert Ridge. Why bother.
    Joe
    '18 Specialized Epic 29", Vassago Verhauen SS 29", '13 Santa Cruz Solo 27.5", XC, AM, blah blah blah.. I just ride.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by JoePAz View Post
    So the answer to every ride question is Gold Canyon? Bwahh... You are not going to pull that crap again.

    Gold canyon is a solid 60 minute one no traffic drive from Desert Ridge. Why bother.
    Yea, that's a no-go for me. I think I'll try the lower trails south of highway at PSP first since that will be closest to what I'm familiar with already. Then I'll try PMP on a non-weekend day since Google says thats a 19 min drive.

  16. #16
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    What about the Go John trail? I'm going to be in the area the first weekend of February.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by chestont View Post
    Desert Vista Trailhead, it's just south of the Apache Wash area and you can even connect the two for a longer day if you wanted. I like doing the Dixie Loop clockwise, then connecting to the Great Horned Owl/Cactus Wren counter clockwise, and then riding Desert Tortoise back to the trailhead. It's a little more challenging than the Apache Wash trails.

    Sent from my Pixel XL using Tapatalk
    Visited this area for the first time last week. Nice easy to intermediate singletrack, for the most part, plus some short sections of old road. The climb up Union Peak was challenging. Enjoyed the 3 hours I spent there.
    Veni vidi velo!

  18. #18
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    Brown's Ranch is too tame compared to Apache wash? Ok...

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by broncbuster View Post
    Brown's Ranch is too tame compared to Apache wash? Ok...
    Meaning Apache Wash as a trailhead and everything within, not just the Wash loop itself which is in fact pretty tame. Ocotillo, Sidewinder, Ridgeback, etc. as compared to Browns Ranch is more what I was thinking.


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  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by voghan View Post
    What about the Go John trail? I'm going to be in the area the first weekend of February.
    The loop itself is fun. Itís a bit Jekyll and Hyde; the top half of the loop is chunky and technical, the bottom half is much more flowy. Theyíre very different feels.

    Itís all in good shape right now. Some friends and I rode the whole thing about 2 weeks ago, and I rode the bottom half yesterday.
    Donít modify the trail to match your skills, modify your skills to match the trails.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by Yupstate View Post
    Meaning Apache Wash as a trailhead and everything within, not just the Wash loop itself which is in fact pretty tame. Ocotillo, Sidewinder, Ridgeback, etc. as compared to Browns Ranch is more what I was thinking.


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    Okay I guess I was associating those trails more with North Sonoran than Apache Wash. Check out north and south Diablo in Brown's Ranch though, not exactly tame..

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