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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi everyone. I consider myself an intermediate rider and ride a Specialized Camber FS. I have a cabin on Lake Mary Road just south of Flagstaff. I have not ridden any section of the AZ Trail, but it courses very near my place and I am trying to decide on the best section near me for the first ride. Wanted to get opinions of those who are familiar with the trail in this area.

These are the 3 closest sections/options:
Mormon Lake
Anderson Mesa
Walnut Canyon (ending at Fisher Point)

Any input or suggestions on these areas?
 

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DFL>DNF>DNS
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Of the three, Anderson Mesa is last on the list. It's often post-holed by cattle, embedded rocks at just the wrong spot and one of the worst places on the entire AZT to get caught in wet weather, i.e. death mud. Not a lot of wind protection up there either. Typically, I only ride it as part of a bigger ride when I need to connect through. Mormon Lake & Walnut Canyon are about even IMO, since you are setting Fisher Pt. as the limit to Walnut Canyon. Both offer plenty of solid flowy singletrack. The southern end of Mormon Lake is a bit more rocky, but still rides good. There's a fun railroad grade section with some history on the northern end. The southern end of Walnut Canyon, near Marshal Lake also shares the soil composition of Anderson Mesa, but only for a very short distance, still, don't get caught there in the rain. About a mile or so north of Marshal Lake the trail is very good, but if riding southbound, there's a couple of solid climbs tucked in there.

Go ride all of them, even Anderson Mesa, and decide for yourself, just leave that one for last.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Awesome info, thanks so much. I had heard there was a terrible area in that region with cattle tracks and mud, but wasn’t sure exactly where it was. The DH looks pretty fun from Marshal Lake to Fisher Point, so I’m thinking of starting there.

Then, may do an OAB from Lake Mary area to the Mormon Lake section first riding South, then turning around somewhere south of Mormon and coming back North. Would an OAB along that section be doable in terms of elevation change and terrain? Or should it only be ridden going North?
 

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My other ride is your mom
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It's all doable, but it's old school chunk riding in spots with some cool flow in between....it's a great landscape to traverse across, and that's the real prize.
 

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Ahhh the pain....
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Most of that section of AZT on the west side of Lake Mary road is pretty good, especially the stuff north of FR240. The stuff south of FR240 I feel rides best from S to N. I've typically done loops over there from Munds by hooking it all together via the network of fire roads. Another option to toss in some good climbing is to ride over to the west side of Mormon Mtn and ascend to the towers. From there you can descend on a super chunky singletrack off the east side that intersects the AZT.
 

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Ahhh the pain....
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btw, one of my favorite loops in the walnut canyon area is to pick up the flag loop trail just east of JWP and LM road, go east until it takes you up on Campbell Mesa, then southeast on Campbell Mesa to pick up the AZT eq bypass which eventually will take you down to Fisher pt. Once there, ride the AZT back north and take your first left into skunk canyon. That will take you back out to LM road.
 

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I don't know what you guys are talking about. Anderson mesa is a very nice ride. One of my favorites. I highly recommend starting at Hwy 87 and connecting to there via Happy Jack!

 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
btw, one of my favorite loops in the walnut canyon area is to pick up the flag loop trail just east of JWP and LM road, go east until it takes you up on Campbell Mesa, then southeast on Campbell Mesa to pick up the AZT eq bypass which eventually will take you down to Fisher pt. Once there, ride the AZT back north and take your first left into skunk canyon. That will take you back out to LM road.
Thanks for the input - I sent you a PM!
 

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I don't know what you guys are talking about. Anderson mesa is a very nice ride. One of my favorites. I highly recommend starting at Hwy 87 and connecting to there via Happy Jack!

Ha, yeah, Happy Jack is a fustercluck - except for the new parts we did last year.

Evan, did you notice the new stuff? Or were you too shelled at that point?
 

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Haha! I got to Happy jack around 9 at night and right onto one of the worst sections. I saw trail markers up on a hill above the road and checked it out hoping I had just missed a turn, but there was no trail built up there yet. It was getting cold and I finally got too frustrated to keep going that night. I was fresh the next morning and came across lots of singletrack sections some of which were very nice, some of which were rocky and tough. I couldn't pick out what was new since they were all pretty well bedded in by now. My biggest frustration was I kept missing turnoffs onto singletrack. I'd be picking my way around rocks on the road and then look down and see I'd missed a turnoff by a 1/4 mile. Some of the markers were nailed to trees, some behind fallen trees, some I just had my head down and didn't notice. This was my first time riding Happy Jack, and if the re-route happens, hopefully the last!
 
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