Flagstaff, Sedona, Prescott, Scottsdale, Red Mtn, Gold Canyon, Catalina Mountains, Casa Grande Mountains, and Fantasy Island
So Arizona has many faces—cold weather, hot weather, rainstorms, exciting exposed mountain bike trails, smooth gravel paths, loose uphill washes with loose gravel and babyheads, great camping, mountains, attack cacti of all kinds, open landscapes, even wooded terrain and streams.
Flagstaff was frigid—cold and rainy with snow in the forecast. I visited the Walnut Canon National Monument and rode Walnut Canyon before meeting up with Butch, but the weather quickly had us planning a move to Sedona.
Sedona was seductive. We had great rides on Chuckwagon and Mescal (great exposure), Llama to Chicken Point and Little Horse before the rain came, then the next day was Skywalker to Carroll Canyon and up on to Sketch (more exposed riding), and finally Girdner to Rupp to Last Frontier (oh so white knuckled technical exposure). We plan to return again, there’s so much more.
From Sedona we spent one night in Dead Horse Ranch State park—where we run into a couple we know from Hood River on their way to La Ventana (Rick and Doreen) and a couple from North Conway!! (Elaine and Andrea) WHAT A TEENY TINY WORLD. Next was Prescott –great trails in the woods with big trees, trails with hills and technical sections. Almost ran over a tarantula on the trail. Lots more riding there, too. Another place to return to for more riding.
Next stop was McDowell Regional Park, where we stayed for three days and rode at Browns Ranch –a nice Scottsdale place with baby smooth trails. Thank goodness for Trailforks–we were able to find some unmapped trails that were fun. We rode Cone Mtn., Dara A Sarah, Roller Coaster, Hawknest, Corral and Cholla Mtn Trail. Scottsdale is pretty fancy- we saw more than one Bugati, several Cobras (the car), many Lexi (is that plural for Lexus?), Teslas and all manner of high end cars. We met a Western Diamondback Rattler on the trail. When we took a day to do laundry, locals laughed when we asked if there was a laundromat in Scottsdale; we had to go to Phoenix.
From there we rode at Red Mtn (Hawes Loop, Saguaro Saddle, Secret Trail and out Ridge—a fun trail) then camped at Lost Dutchman State Park where we ran into Elaine and Andrea again! Lost Dutchman is in an old gold mining town. We met two ladies from Manitoba and BC at Hawes Loop and then again at Gold Canyon. At Gold Canyon we rode up the K Trail and then back along the Lost Goldmine trail at the base of the Superstition Mountains—very scenic and with some technical stuff too.
The next day, the Catalina State Park was our destination. What a nice place—great showers, large campsites and a mtn bike trail from the car. We rode the 50 year trail out and back and ran into two mtn bikers walking down as we were climbing up a technical section. Concentrating on the line, we both said hello and worked our way up the hill. Come to find out, it was Doreen and Rick! They were staying at the same campground. They had also stayed at Lost Dutchman when we were there. Too funny!! Next time we see them it will be in El Sargento.
Next stop was Casa Grande and the Casa Grande Mtn Bike system. With all the rain they had a few weeks ago, some of the trails were in really rough shape, deep water erosion cuts up the middle of the trail and lots of loose rock, we eventually go on some newer trails and enjoyed the ride on Seriously Phil?, Ridge, East butte, Grim Reaper, Three Chihuahuas, and others. Good thing we started early because even though it’s a dry heat, it’s still heat.
The Fantasy Island trail system in Tucson was our last ride. It’s close to the city and near an army base. They don’t have much terrain to work with—pretty flat and fast like a road bike ride in the cactus or rocky, eroded gullies in and out of the washes. Still, it was nice to be on the bike and moving fast. We rode the Lonely Cactus trail and all the loops—Burro Pit, Bo’s, Christmas Tree Loop, etc. and so the US mountain biking ends for a while.