Ride Advice Requested: Utah / Arizona / New Mexico / Colorado- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Ride Advice Requested: Utah / Arizona / New Mexico / Colorado

    Hey folks,

    I'm headed out next week on a 3-4 week solo jaunt...mostly in Utah / Arizona / New Mexico / Colorado.

    My primary focus will be to ride new places and explore trail systems...also want to meet trail builders and trail advocacy organizations that I can learn from to help strengthen the work we're doing at MBOSC.

    I'll be in a fairly capable 4WD vehicle and looking to do some backcountry driving...also looking to get in a lot of hiking (day hikes and shorter overnight trips) and I'll have an inflatable kayak and river floating inner tube at the ready.

    I've travelled this general area quite a bit but it's amazing how much stuff I still haven't seen / done...and even with 3-4 weeks, I'll only be scratching the surface.

    I'm looking for pointers / recommendations primarily for riding, but any / all ideas of stuff to do are welcome.

    Places currently on the list to ride:
    - Gooseberry Mesa / Little Creek
    - Sedona / Flagstaff
    - Albuquerque
    - Sante Fe / Taos
    - Durango
    - Cortez / Phil's World
    - Moab
    - Fruita / Grand Junction

    Of all the above, the only place I've ridden is Moab.

    Other places to ride?
    Specific trail recommendations in these places?
    Shops / shuttles / outfitters?
    Trail builders / advocates?

    Any and all suggestions welcome...thanks!

  2. #2
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    Most high elevation riding will still have snow.

  3. #3
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    I'm sure you already know to use Over the Edge for Sedona info.
    It's likely going to be pretty hot there now so be ready to go early.

    Flagstaff is really cool too but like RBoardman mentioned, the higher elevation stuff will likely still have Snow...
    "There's two kinds of people in this world - Walkers and Talkers." Which one are you?

  4. #4
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    Durango is a great ride destination and there are trails all over the place that you can ride to from town

    I'm sure somebody here can help w/ this or he will chime in himself but there is a guy who I'm pretty sure is named Hunter who is from marin but mostly lives in durango who is a great guy and great guide and involved in trail building / advocacy in durango but i forget his mtbr handle - he would be a great contact if anybody knows who i'm talking about?

  5. #5
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    San Rafael swell has some amazing riding. It's been forever since I've been there so I'd see if you can get beta on the area from a shop in Green River if you are interested. Best to ride with someone as the terrain is unforgiving, technical and remote.

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  6. #6
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    Gooseberry is a great place to ride and it's pretty cool to camp on the mesa. And I'm sure OTE in Hurricane is involved with local advocacy.

    All of those spots listed are fun, beautiful riding areas. Have an epic adventure!
    Last edited by Callender; 2 Weeks Ago at 10:19 PM.
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  7. #7
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    I don't have any suggestions, but am commenting to point out how jealous I am. Sounds like an awesome trip. I hope you have great rides and learn a lot!

  8. #8
    orthonormal
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    It's a great time of year to ride in Phoenix and Tucson. I'd spend a day at South Mountain Park and another on Mt. Lemmon (Green Mountain trail and Milagrosa Ridge trail)
    The glass is twice as large as it needs to be

  9. #9
    NedwannaB
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    Subscribed for out of state content.
    Wait whuuut, who did he tell you that!?!?....

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by andy f View Post
    It's a great time of year to ride in Phoenix and Tucson. I'd spend a day at South Mountain Park and another on Mt. Lemmon (Green Mountain trail and Milagrosa Ridge trail)
    Not to sound negative, but isn't June-Sept. the worst time of year to ride there? - I was in Phx last Jun and I couldn't even make it through a light 6:30 AM cruise on some flat trails b/c it was just so damn hot! - I would think December would be ideal?

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by andy f View Post
    It's a great time of year to ride in Phoenix and Tucson. I'd spend a day at South Mountain Park and another on Mt. Lemmon (Green Mountain trail and Milagrosa Ridge trail)
    High of 97 this weekend, last weekend was in triple digits. Too hot.

  12. #12
    orthonormal
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    Quote Originally Posted by skyno View Post
    Not to sound negative, but isn't June-Sept. the worst time of year to ride there? - I was in Phx last Jun and I couldn't even make it through a light 6:30 AM cruise on some flat trails b/c it was just so damn hot! - I would think December would be ideal?
    I was thinking right now but yeah, this is just the start of hot. It gets a lot worse in the coming weeks.

    You really do acclimate to the place. I used to go through a 3L Camelbak of water and 2x28oz. of some energy drink on a 2.5-3 hour ride in 105-ish temps pretty regularly. I struggle with 85 degrees now.
    The glass is twice as large as it needs to be

  13. #13
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    Fruita - check out trails near Road 18 and Rabbit Valley. Some really good BLM camping sites in Rabbit Valley, too, IIRC.

  14. #14
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    there is a fireroad that runs from Cloudcroft NM to this tiny town called La Luz. it is a rutty fire road that is all downhill. blazingly fast and wild. it has been a long time since i did it, but it was very long..i wish i remember how much time it took or how long the trail is..but it is all fuzzy now. i do remember having to stop occasionally just so we could laugh and take a break before it was over. we would do a big group of friends and just sprint. man that was fun. break-neck speeds. it would take a two hours or so..maybe three?
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  15. #15
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    St george, hurricane, in Utah. sedona, prescott, flagstaff in AZ.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by skyno View Post
    Not to sound negative, but isn't June-Sept. the worst time of year to ride there? - I was in Phx last Jun and I couldn't even make it through a light 6:30 AM cruise on some flat trails b/c it was just so damn hot! - I would think December would be ideal?
    Are we Ameri-CANS or Ameri-CANTS!?!?!? I ride all year through triple digits regularly in summer. There is definitely an acclimatization period but some behaviors you need to change to be successful:

    #1 - Go to bed early so you can literally be on the trail when the first ioda of light hits it.

    #2 - Start packing in the salt / electrolytes. I personally am a big fan of a Vitamin B super complex with Vitamin C AND electrolytes. As mentioned before by someone else, I also usually pound a sports drink before I hit the trail and have one immediately after I get back. You have to keep your electrolyte levels up! Once it gets real hot and I am riding back to back days, I'll take an electrolyte tablet every hour with water.

    #3 - Bring more water than you "normally" do and drink it! I avoid water bottles on cages during the summer as no one wants to stop to drink or it just may not be "easy/safe" due to terrain difficulty. Having a 3L Camelback ready to go at all times helps encourage you to drink through convenience.

    #4 - Speaking of Camelbacks. Add ice to it then water. Most of the newer models are insulated and sipping cool water during your ride will lower your core temp at a minimum help regulate it.

    #5 - I am also a huge fan of riding in long sleeve cool tech / dry fit shirts. They are light, breathable, and act as sunscreen. Don't be afraid to put it on slightly wet/damp. I like to soak it in sink, ring it out, and put it on right before ride to start off nice and cool.

    #6 - Keep checking the weather. Even in "hot areas" cloud cover, wind, and other factors can bring the temps down 10-20 degrees from one day to the next. Choose your ride days logically. If it is hot where you are, where is the closest high elevation area to escape to? Always think about weather and temps before you decide when and where to go.

    #7 - The biggest advice... BE SMART! If you can't get an early start, maybe take a rest day or shorten your ride significantly. Triple digit heat and high levels of exercise can be dangerous. Throw in dust / pollen, a little bit of sunburn, already fatigued muscles and you could have a real recipe for disaster. If your mid-ride and your body is throwing you gang signs, cut it short or turn around!

    At minimum, start out on easier rides on hot days till you get a feel for how much *you* can handle. Everyone is different. Some peeps are camels and some are walruses. Your experience may vary. You may need some or none of the above tips. The key is figure it out in advance and do it safely.
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  17. #17
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    Depending on what you want to ride, much of Durango is still snowbound. Unless you have a fat bike you wonít be riding there any time soon.




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  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by roughster View Post

    #7 - The biggest advice... BE SMART!
    If you are planning a vacation trip with a focus on mountain biking, donít go to one of the hottest places in the US. Simple solution without all the preparation and suffering.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by RBoardman View Post
    If you are planning a vacation trip with a focus on mountain biking, donít go to one of the hottest places in the US. Simple solution without all the preparation and suffering.
    Thatís not how life works sometimes. You just learn to roll with it!
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  20. #20
    Meatbomb
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    In Arizona I'd stay north in June. The Phoenix area can get brutal.

  21. #21
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    Sedona temps were pretty nice this past week, highs 80-85F.

    Took a few OTE shuttles while I was there.
    Live to Ride, Ride to Live

  22. #22
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    Many of the main trails in Flagstaff on Mt Elden (the big cluster of trails with lots of black/double black) are closed currently for logging. Just FYI.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by darth tracer View Post
    St george, hurricane, in Utah. sedona, prescott, flagstaff in AZ.
    This!
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  24. #24
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    The Santa Fe area should be good to go, and definitely worth checking out. In SF proper Winsor trail is a classic, Dale Ball offers miles of good xc riding, and La Tierra has a great jump/pump park. Haven't ridden it yet, but Rio en medio is supposed to be pretty epic as well, but should be ridden with someone who knows the area well. 20 minutes outside of town you need to check out Glorieta. Hole Mole is a fantastic flow trail, while Chile Dog and Jagged Axe will definitely test your downhill natural rock feature/chunk skills. Then there's Pajarito bike park in Los Alamos if you have access to a DH bike..

  25. #25
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    OP - Look here for Flagstaff beta: https://forums.mtbr.com/arizona/2019...n-1095993.html

    It''s kind of a mess right now with a huge swath of the forest closed. I'd suggest going to Prescott instead. Sedona will likely be warm, there is little shade and miles are tough so keep that in mind.

  26. #26
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    Rio en medio is great. Not sure how to best handle out logistics--I lucked out and got a lift to the midpoint.

    Thunder Mountain just west of Bryce is spectacularly scenic and also fun riding.

  27. #27
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    If you are gone until June, and take Highway 80 home, be sure to hit up Hole In The Ground, and report back to us.

  28. #28
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    Seriously though, we hit up Boulder City on the way to St George, And I really liked that place. There is a huuuge cross country style loop that is interesting riding if you are from Norcal, "Freddy Kruger Climb"(?), its good technical riding, counterclockwise. Plus all the Super Gnar at Bootleg Canyon proper. Almost 2 different riding days there, 2nd day you could do shuttle runs, and blow out of town by noon, after lunch. St George was awesome. Not the most epic trails, but again, really GREAT trails, really great, with step ups, twisty, challenging "no dab" climbs, on ZEN, Especially if 1st time, like me. Also loved South Hills area, "Suicide" section into back valley. Very challenging switchbacks. Zen and South Hills areas were 2 rides in a day, then we moved on.

  29. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by hoolie View Post
    If you are gone until June, and take Highway 80 home, be sure to hit up Hole In The Ground, and report back to us.

    - Aaaaaaaaaaaannnnnnnnnnnnnnnddd so begin the shenanigans!!!
    Thanks for the smile hoolie!
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  30. #30
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    Durango high country is still deep in snow, all town trails are now open and riding well (or so I see and hear as I've got a knee high cast on my leg). Visit Trails2000.org for info, maps, and contact if you want to meet with Mary and/or crew. They're good people and have built our trail network, both here and in the surrounding high country, some of the best riding in the country. Phil's is a must ride, but make it on a weekday. If you're arriving or leaving Durango via a route to the south, Alien Run is a fun spot with a UFO "crash site" to visit, and Gallup New Mexico has a great trail network on the north side of town with a lot of cool sculptures along the way. Good mid-way location between Durango and Flagstaff.

  31. #31
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    Also, there are some cool trails (forget the names, but I think they're just south of Crow Canyon) around Cortez that have Anasazi cliff dwellings just off the trails--and pottery shards scattered about.
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  32. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by Callender View Post
    Also, there are some cool trails (forget the names, but I think they're just south of Crow Canyon) around Cortez that have Anasazi cliff dwellings just off the trails--and pottery shards scattered about.
    That's Sand Canyon. Riding is ok, not great, but it is unique as you'll be riding amidst 700-1000 year old Ancestral Puebloan ruins all around. If it's a cold day in the 4 corners, it will usually be 10 degrees warmer there. Also a bit out of the way from where you'd be staying and/or driving to/from.

  33. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by hoolie View Post
    Seriously though, we hit up Boulder City on the way to St George, And I really liked that place. There is a huuuge cross country style loop that is interesting riding if you are from Norcal, "Freddy Kruger Climb"(?), its good technical riding, counterclockwise. Plus all the Super Gnar at Bootleg Canyon proper. Almost 2 different riding days there, 2nd day you could do shuttle runs, and blow out of town by noon, after lunch. St George was awesome. Not the most epic trails, but again, really GREAT trails, really great, with step ups, twisty, challenging "no dab" climbs, on ZEN, Especially if 1st time, like me. Also loved South Hills area, "Suicide" section into back valley. Very challenging switchbacks. Zen and South Hills areas were 2 rides in a day, then we moved on.
    As a stop over Bootleg is cool. If you wipe out youíll be ground to Hamburg.


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  34. #34
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    Phil's World is definitely fun. I tend to just do endless laps on Ribs these days. I don't really care for XC-type riding much anymore, but one of my favorite places to do it when I do is the Zuni Mountain Trails east of Gallup. The High Desert Trail System mentioned above is very cool. The Zunis have a sweet buzzy vibe though. Most of the trails are really skinny as if built by elves. It's on up in altitude so the trees are stunted gnarly things. Some gaps, but pretty much everything is on Trailforks. Some of the trails are well marked, others not so much.

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