Posts made in January, 2012

Mountain Biking in Fountain Hills with some awesome scenery

Posted by on Jan 31, 2012 in Pemberton | 1 comment

Mountain Biking in Fountain Hills with some awesome scenery

MILES:  15

Difficulty:  Easy to Medium

Here is a great trail in the beautiful city of Fountain Hills, Arizona.  If you haven’t taken the mountain bike out to Pemberton (home to many races throughout the year such as the dawn to dusk), you are missing out.  This is one of the best trails you will every find, with different technical skills across all levels of ability.

The Pemberton trail is 15.2 miles from start to finish but the variation in the map below is my favorite way to ride it with some sweet single track sections.  Start out on Pemberton trail in the normal direction (south) and then head West on Granite Trail, until you hit Bluff Trail, then take Bluff Trail and join Pemberton after about four miles.  This is smooth and fast with some gradual easy climbing.  Once you hit Pemberton head left (South) and connect to Coach Whip.  This is a great trail that will take you all the way over to Windmill and Windgate Pass if you are feeling daring, and up to the saddle with a sweet view of the entire city.  In the trail below, I took Coach Whip over to Dixie Mine and then connected back to Pemberton.  Coach Whip and Dixie Mine give you some great climbs with some fast and rocky down hill sections.  The rocks can be a bit much for some, but trust me….it’s worth it.

This trail will take you back down to Pemberton Trail, and then back down to where it all started.  Taking the trail this time of year (January-March) will give you some of the best scenery anywhere down here in Phoenix, Scottsdale or Fountain Hills, with great views of boulders, saguaro’s, wild flowers and fast single track.

If you finish Pemberton and feel like adding on some distance, try to get over to the competitive tracks at the entrance to the park.  There are several different trails at the competitive loops with “Easy”, “Mid-Level” or “Difficult”  levels of technical skills required.

 

 

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The Best Mountain Bike Trail in Phoenix – Pemberton, Coach Whip, Bluff & Dixie Mine

Posted by on Jan 9, 2012 in Pemberton | 2 comments

The Best Mountain Bike Trail in Phoenix – Pemberton, Coach Whip, Bluff & Dixie Mine

Level of Difficulty:  Easy – with a few moderate climbs

Miles –  18.5

This could very well be the best mountain bike trail in the entire Phoenix area.  Drive out through Fountain Hills and head North on Mcdowell Mountain Road until you see the McDowell Mountain Preserve.  Pay your $6 at the gate (yes, it is worth it) and head back to the trail head parking, which is about 3 0r 4 miles past the gate.  Once you park head South on the the Pemberton trail until you run into Granite Trail, then head North on Granite Trail for about 10 minutes until you run into the intersection for Bluff Trail.  Turn onto Bluff Trail, then continue to to head North for a total of about 4 miles from the parking lot and there connect with Pemberton Trail again, and head Left (South).  The views are spectacular out here with large Saguaro Cacti (which FYI can only be seen in the Sonoran Desert) and large boulder rock gardens.  After heading left on Pemberton (which is south), you will stay on this past Knob Rock all the way to Coach Whip.  FYI – Knob Rock is a great little detour off of the Pemberton trail back into the boulder looking mountain that you can see just off the trail.  You can stay on Knob Rock for a short while and actually connect to the Tom’s Thumb Parking lot after going through a horse gate connecting the McDowell Mountain County preserve.

So, now take a right on Coach Whip and get ready for some gradual climbing (at least for a while before it gets pretty steep back there).  Stay on Coach Whip and get some of the best views anywhere in the Phoenix area and head on up to the lookout (where Coach Whip connects with Windmill before heading up to Windgate Pass and up and over the mountain over to the Windgate City Preserve.  Make sure you are ready for some serious climbing if you are going to attempt this (which is the easiest of the overpasses) or Bell or Sunrise for some steeper climbs up to the saddle.

Coach Whip continues for about another mile through prickly pear cactus and connects over with Dixie Mine.  Take a right and head back down to Pemberton (fast and rocky – but fun!) and when connecting to Pemberton, take a left and head back to the Bluff trail for some extremely fast and furious single track back down to the parking lot.  You won’t regret it!

 

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Desert Classic Trail – South Mountain

Posted by on Jan 5, 2012 in Desert Classic | 0 comments

Desert Classic Trail – South Mountain

Difficulty:  Easy (with some moderate spots)

Miles:  17

Desert Classic Trail (otherwise known as DC by the locals) is a great trail for all levels.  Even though the trail is rated by most guides as “Easy”, don’t let that deter you from taking this great ride (or fool you about how easy it is).  It is about 8.5 miles each way (out and back) and the trail does get a bit technical around mile number 6.  The trail starts out very smooth and fast and you can burn great time through the first six miles or so.  About half way through the trail, stop at the water towers, get a quick drink and get ready from some rocks.  The next two miles is still fast, but then gets into a few moderate technical areas.  ”Hike a Bike” if you have to, but continue on because it gets easier after about two miles of this.

The trail comes out over a ridge and will end up at the helipad at the base of the mountain where the TV Towers are located.  If you have some extra time, it is fun to watch people come blazing down National Trail / Telegraph Pass for some truly amazing technical drops (including the famous “Waterfall Rock Ledge”, but that is for another day).

The trail is pretty flat, but will get your heart pumping a few times and grasping for air.  There are some great views of Ahwatukee and Mountain Park Ranch housing communities back there with some amazing preserve view lots.

By the way, South Mountain Park is the largest municipal park in the country with over 16,000 acres of public trust land and over 51 miles of trails for hiking, biking and horse back riding.  Phoenix Mountain Preserves are open unobstructed areas, so it is possible to see some wildlife out there (in fact you can count on it), yes even including the rare snake!  According to the City of Phoenix website, more than three million people per year visit the park, so be prepared to play a little “Frogger” on your mountain bike with the hikers, and stay friendly so we bikers can keep biking out there.

 

 

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Lost Dog Trail & Taliesin Lookout Mountian Bike Trail

Posted by on Jan 1, 2012 in Lost Dog and Taliesin Lookout | 0 comments

Lost Dog Trail & Taliesin Lookout Mountian Bike Trail

Miles:  9

Difficulty:  Moderate to Difficult

This is a fun quick little mountain bike trail that runs right through the middle of Mcdowell Mountain Ranch Community (my favorite real estate and homes for sale in Scottsdale).

Start at the Paradise Trail Head (or connect through the back side of the Windgate Trail Center, and take Paradise Trail back to Lost Dog Trail (which is directly behind Cimarron Hills).  Follow the Lost Dog Trail all the way up to the Taliesin lookout for great views of the entire city of Scottsdale.  The trail can be a bit rocky, but the climb is not too long and is manageable and very well marked.  Clip in and get ready for a bumpy bone rattling ride down.

You can stay on the Lost Dog Trail all the way back to the Lost Dog trail head on the other side of the Mcdowell Mountains and from there have access to other great trails, such as Sunrise and Ringtail.  These are fun trails, but will require a bit more time.  Bring water!

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Windgate mountain bike trail

Posted by on Jan 1, 2012 in Windgate Trail Center | 1 comment

Windgate mountain bike trail

Miles:  About 8 (but can be extended as long as you want)

Difficulty:  Moderate (watch for hikers)

Why live in Scottsdale?  The summers are brutal, and you have to learn to deal with a bit of snobbery at times, but after going to Windgate Trail head, you will understand.  Windgate Trail Center is tucked away right between DC Ranch, Silverleaf and McDowell Mountain Ranch (some of the most expensive real estate in the area).  From the trail center you can connect to hiking and some of the best mountain biking in the State.

From the trail center you can head down Desert Park to Windgate Pass (about 3.5 miles) with some amazing views of the Sonoran Preserve and also of some of the most expensive real estate in Phoenix.  Desert Park trail is not to difficult and will wind through some great single tracks and small climbs.  Follow this until you reach the first summit where the trail connects to Windgate Pass, and then you can make the decision of going up to the Windgate Pass (another 1.5 miles of serious climbing), or head back dow Windgate Trail back to the trail center.  If you are feeling adventurous or suicidal, you can actually go over Windgate Pass and connect to Pemberton Trail (but remember you have to come back over the summit also).

Follow Windgate Pass back down to the Windgate trail and climb up to the Windgate Trail saddle for some truly amazing views of Scottsdale.

Watch out for hikers on weekends (they are everywhere).

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