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  1. #1
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    PHX to NoDak Road Trip -Where 2 ride?

    i'm moving from PHX back to Bismarck, ND end of May/early June....

    planning a 7-10 day trip with camping gear and my bikes.

    looking for advice on where to ride/camp along the way.

    was thinking:

    Gallup, NM
    Durango
    Fruita
    Laramie, WY (visit a buddy there)
    Spearfish, SD

    looking for 4-6 hours rides, mostly XC...not afraid to climb or ride rough and techy.

    any specific ideas (trails and campgrounds) would be greatly appreciated!

    CR
    Maah Daah Hey

  2. #2
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    My condolences just kidding. I grew up in SD and wouldn't go back there from Tucson for anything. But I am sure you have good reasons to.

    I can only comment on Gallop: The little High Desert system would make a nice stop for a quick spin. It's a cool little area I missed the one side loop the goes south and makes the drop off of the mesa there. So if you want some drops don't miss that. I am assuming that is where the drops are (that they have pictured in brochure) because that's the only part I missed. It's well signed and mostly a fun XC trail.

    If you want to make camp in the area head east from Gallop through Fort Wingate and south to the FS trails at Quacking Aspen. We camped just west of the main TH up there. More well signed fun XC trails. If you can get the local beta on the unsigned stuff it's a little more interesting.

    Not on your list and it might be too far off track but I have heard that there is some good stuff in western NE.

    Spearfish looks good supposedly that's the best riding in the Black Hills. But as long as you are in the area don't miss the Needles in Custer State Park. I used to do a short loop out of the Little Devils Tower Parking area near Sylvan Lake. Nothing special about riding there but the scenic drive up the Needles Hwy with the tunnels is not to be missed. The big tourist loop includes Iron Mnt road with more tunnels and a framed view of Mnt. Rushmore. Drive it counter clockwise for the view.
    Singin' I love hike a bike!!!

  3. #3
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    welcome back??

  4. #4
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    Depending on when the last time you were back was, there is a new trail north of Mandan around Harmon Lake. Was just finished last fall. It's a ~9 mile loop around the lake.

  5. #5
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    aztripper,

    thanks for the advice. yep, careers & kids are the main reasons we're heading back. will certainly miss the riding down here. i guess i can always jump on a plane. i'm planning to be at the 24 in the Old Pueblo....should be fun.

    I rode high desert in Gallup last fall. Sweet trail. I didn't have time to ride the Zuni's but plan to this time through. some of the locals mentioned Aspen TH to me. I will ride in Spearfish, plan on talking with the guys from 2-wheeler dealer. Ever ridden the Dakota 5-0?

    Nodaksvt,

    yep, I lived in bismarck from 03-05. used to ride with a few of the guys from Epic. can't wait to get back out to the MDH.

    Drag,
    I've heard of this trail, but know very little about it. What's it like? Sunset Park, Pioneer Park, Adventist Acedemy?

    any other thoughts from anyone about specifics in Fruita or Durango....?

    thanks,

    CR
    Maah Daah Hey

  6. #6
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    Once in Spearfish take the short drive to Deadwood...the north end of the 110 mile George Michelson Trail. It is a converted 19th century rail line that runs the length of the Black Hills. Edgemont is the south end. Trail surface is crushed limestone...their version of our decomposed granite...nicely compacted...smooth...fast. Grade up or down never exceeds 4%...enjoyable up and down. Countryside is beautiful, will see buffalo, antelope, black tail deer, remnants of mining, Crazy Horse Monument, etc. Several nice small towns along the way. Totally worth the time and the ride.

  7. #7
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    Ya if we had kids I might see things differently. I was more into rock climbing when I was there never made it up north to ride. 24 HOP is a good time I worked out there the last two years and rode it back in 05 not in the cards this year.

    If you have time after riding the main loops out of Aspen TH ride across the road jump the fence and head east. I had a hard time finding the trail but eventually did. I think you need to get east of a stock pond. I took a 2 track heading north of the pond to a second 2 track heading east and found it. Not a great trail but it heads north to meet the highway you came up. Head north a short ways on the main road look for a pull out on the west there is an opening in the fence here and the start of the best trail out there IMO reconnects to the main loop.

    The rails to trails project was still ongoing when I left the hills, only go to do a little bit of it.

    I would like to go back and do the Centennial trail as a bikepacking trip. There have been post on here but the locals always say it's not worth doing the whole thing. I have seen posts at Bikepacking it has been done but not that much. Also the MDH looks interesting the TR National Grasslands looks pretty cool.

    Good luck with the move.
    Singin' I love hike a bike!!!

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by drag_slick
    Depending on when the last time you were back was, there is a new trail north of Mandan around Harmon Lake. Was just finished last fall. It's a ~9 mile loop around the lake.
    Don't forget the 8 miles of trails at Indian Hills Resort W of Garrison. Two machine built loops built on the bluffs of the Missouri River. Nothing technical, but the views are nice and it's worth the drive from Minot just for a change of pace.

    ND has really added some trail in the past five years. I only hope enough people are riding up here to make it last more than a few years.
    "There are those who would say there's something pathological about the need to ride, and they're probably on to something. I'd wager though that most of the society-approved compulsions leave deeper scars in the psyche than a need to go and ride a bicycle on a mountain." Cam McRea

  9. #9
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    If you will be in Laramie don't pass up the chance to ride at Curt Gowdy state park. They have added some new trails there in the last year and it is a really good trail system. Also, I haven't ridden there myself, but do some research into the riding around Green River Wyoming. It sounds like some really good riding is shaping up there.

    Black Hills stuff. There is a lot of good riding around Spearfish and in the Black Hills in general. The guys at Rushmore Mountain Sports can point you to some good trails too. Both shops in town are pretty good.

    I would pass on the Mickelson unless you are into rail trail riding. It is a nice trail and all, but it is not single track of course. I would recommend the Bulldog, which can be accessed very close to I-80 near the national cemetery by Sturgis. Makes a good out and back for as far as you care to ride. Then head on to Rapid City and take in a couple of trails there. Lots of really good stuff in that area. My two top suggestions for someone just passing through are Buzzards Roost on the west side of Rapid and Storm Mountain at Rockerville.

  10. #10
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    I just moved from Phoenix to Fargo (Moorhead actually, MN is cooler!) in October, so I'm glad to hear I'm not the only crazy fool willing to do so. I didn't have my bikes witth me for the trip, but I did have thirst. We stopped at Ska Brewing in Durango, and people some how rode from a trail, to the brewery. I can't remember ever being so jealous. Find that trail, ride, have some brews, and enjoy the scenery. Spearfish looked incredible too.

    Have a safe trip and good luck on your new adventure!

  11. #11
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    Fort Collins Co. 1 hour south of Laramie. Too many options to list. Good stuff.
    Zip ties? Not on my bike!

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  12. #12
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    Depending on how hot it is and if the biting gnats are out:
    Don't miss Phil's World in Cortez and the Sand Canyon trail system in McElmo Canyon west of Cortez. Not sure why, but the Stinking Springs Loop and the Rib Cage was one of my favorite rides ever. Lovely intermediate trail.
    Gorgeous red rock in McElmo Canyon. You don't have to go all the way to Utah to get gorgeous red rock canyons! Cortez will be just up the road from Gallup, heading north.


    Re: Gallup
    Last Memorial Day weekend we rode in the Gallup area, but south of the Interstate, past Fort Wingate. We camped at Quaking Aspen Campground -- two thumbs up for a simple Forest Service campground. Full on the weekend but pretty deserted during the week. All campers were well behaved, so we were lucky. Frosty nights the first week in June.
    We rode the Quaking Aspen trail, which takes off from the campground and liked it OK; nothing special. Never saw any quaking aspen! Then did the Milk Ranch Loop, which I really liked. The trail drops right down into a very narrow canyon, and there was a small amount of hike a bike. Then down to a confluence with a much bigger canyon (very cool) and work your way back to your car.
    Gallup Waypoints is your little guidebook to all trails in the area: (www.gallupwaypoints.com)
    I'd most definitely like to hit the mesa areas north of the interstate sometime.
    Yes, Gallup has some gorgeous red rock bluffs.

  13. #13
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    i agree with Airborne. Check out the centenial trail at Alkali Creek trailhead.(by the national cemetery, exit 34, I90)south to Elk Creek and beyond is gorgeous singletrack. Further south around Rapid, storm Mtn is a must.
    bikeporn is protected speech

  14. #14
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    I will third Storm Mountain just S of Rapid City. Really nice technical singletrack there.
    "There are those who would say there's something pathological about the need to ride, and they're probably on to something. I'd wager though that most of the society-approved compulsions leave deeper scars in the psyche than a need to go and ride a bicycle on a mountain." Cam McRea

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by arctic slalom
    Drag,
    I've heard of this trail, but know very little about it. What's it like? Sunset Park, Pioneer Park, Adventist Acedemy?

    CR
    The west half of the trail is more fast and flowy. The terrain was mostly bluff overlooking the lake with a couple draws. The east half of the trail is more technical. We had more trees, draws and a lot of exposed bedrock that we left intact as the trail tread. There is a floating bridge that connects it up as it passes over Otter Creek.

    Hard to compare to other trails, but I would say that the west half is similar to Ft. Lincoln and the east half closer to the Academy with the exception that Harmon was mostly machine built so it's not quite as brutal.

    We've also started a new cycle club if you're interested when you get here. I've also got aerial pdf's of all the local trails if you want them.

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