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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I was wonder if you guys could provide a list of trails that require progressive skills in the valley. I've been to the trail guide thread but the rating system are hard to sort through and are sometimes skewed by seasoned riders and hard to gage on how difficult the trail actually is. I'm thinking a list of the more common trails listed in such a way where if you can clean most of the trail, then you'll be ready for the next one from sidewalk trail to the most technical stuff. Might help the new guys like myself get started.

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Summary
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Thanks to all those that contributed. For those that don't want to read through the post, I've copied dgangi's list on 02/17/09:

Green:

Reach 11
Papago Loops
Usery Park (Usery Loop, Moonrock, etc.)
Cave Buttes
Desert Classic, from ramadas to the water tank
McDowell Mtn Park Race Loops - Sport, Long
Trail 100, from 7th Ave to 7th St
Pemberton loop
Pima/Dynamite
Estrella Race Loops
Thunderbird Park

Blue:

McDowell Mtn Park Race Loop - Tech loop (only for the drop-in and climb out)
Desert Classic coast-to-coast
SoMo East/West loops
Trail 100, from Dreamy Draw to Tatum
Dixie Mine
McDowell's - lower trails (Lost Dog, Quartz, etc)
Javelina
Hawes/Mine Loop/Twisted Sister
Trail 100 coast-to-coast, for your first big XC beatdown (7th St to Dreamy Draw being more advanced than the rest)
Javelina-Mormon Loop up/down

Blue/Black:

Black Canyon Trail "lollipop loop", for your next big XC beatdown (not too technical, but very remote, very long, and very tiring)
Goat Camp out-and-back XC (use caution on lower sections)
McDowell passes - Windgate/Sunrise/Bell, for the ultimate XC beatdown (use caution on the west side of Bell and Windgate passes)
T100 offshoots -- Trail 8, Trail 220, Mine Trail, Rocky Ridge/Mine Drop, Trail 306/Shaw Butte (front side)

Black:

Pass Mountain
Hawes - tower drop
National
Corona de Loma
Trail 306/Shaw Butte (back side)
Geronimo
24th St/Mormon

Double-Black:

DD-area tech - Cheesegrater, Yuri's Folly, Hairball, etc.
Telegraph Pass
Holbert
Kiwanis
Viejo (Old Man)
Cochise
Alta/Bajada
Old Lady Ames
Goat Camp full loop


As far as the difficulty classifications go, here's my definition:

Green = generally "easy" trail with no long sustained climbs or very rocky sections. Mostly double-track or wide singletrack. These trails are safe for beginners.

Blue = moderate trail with some rock gardens, moderately steep grades, sustained climbs, exposure, switchbacks, and/or long distance. These trails can also be remote with little or no bail-out points. Not recommended for beginners but OK for the moderately experienced rider.

Blue/Black = generally blue with some short black sections OR excess distance. Advanced riders will be OK, but intermediate riders will need to use caution.

Black = difficult trail with plenty of technical areas, exposure, tight switchbacks, sustained climbs, and steep terrain. Only recommended for advanced riders. Wearing armor is a good idea.

Double-black = extremely difficult trail with very steep terrain, chutes, tight switchbacks, exposure, and drops. Even experienced riders can be expected to walk sections of this trail. Armor should be worn.
 

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Saucy Size
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At South Mountain, the progression usually goes:

Desert Classic
East/West loops
Javelina
Mormon Loop up/down
National
Geronimo EDIT: (i.e. "Boy Scout/Sex Offender")
Holbert
Mormon Trail EDIT: (i.e. "24th St.")
Then a bunch of crazy stuff you'll be well aware of once you've tackled all this -- Alta, Kiwanis, Ranger, etc.

p.
 

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I'm sorry for my ignorance...I am new to town but on vacations here I have ridden the balance of the list except Javelina...always had a nice guide and never paid much attention.

I would park at Pima ride up the fireroad then climb Mormom and should see Javelina as a offshoot to the right... follow Javelina back down then it should connect to the East loop back to Pima?
 

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Leethal said:
I'm sorry for my ignorance...I am new to town but on vacations here I have ridden the balance of the list except Javelina...always had a nice guide and never paid much attention.

I would park at Pima ride up the fireroad then climb Mormom and should see Javelina as a offshoot to the right... follow Javelina back down then it should connect to the East loop back to Pima?
Yeah, when you enter the 46th St parking lot from Javelina, just keep going straight across the lot and that is east loop. It will take you back to Pima
 

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Elitest thrill junkie
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What about the fireroad to National?

Maybe not as much exposure as BCT, but just as steep!
 

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Leethal said:
I'm sorry for my ignorance...I am new to town but on vacations here I have ridden the balance of the list except Javelina...always had a nice guide and never paid much attention.

I would park at Pima ride up the fireroad then climb Mormom and should see Javelina as a offshoot to the right... follow Javelina back down then it should connect to the East loop back to Pima?
Javalina is a great downhill section if you connect to it on the top. Not too steep but there are a couple of steps that you can fly off of. Your correct that javalina shoots off to the right of mormon maybe a little more then 1/4 mile past the national/mormon head. You can't really get lost on the way back as it curves around the mountain alongside the apartment buildings and the golf course at the very bottom. Taking mormon to this look will have you smiling the whole way except for the one small climb at the very very end of the east loop towards the end of the ride.
 

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Paul B said:
At South Mountain, the progression usually goes:

Desert Classic
East/West loops
Javelina
Mormon Loop up/down
National
Geronimo EDIT: (i.e. "Boy Scout/Sex Offender")
Holbert
Mormon Trail EDIT: (i.e. "24th St.")
Then a bunch of crazy stuff you'll be well aware of once you've tackled all this -- Alta, Kiwanis, Ranger, etc.

p.
Adding more to a great list would be Papago probably first then DC, MMP, Hawes, and then finish the list with Goat camp, in terms of tech riding, it's about as hard as it get's.
 

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Saucy Size
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Right. If I were to build a Valley-wide progression of trails, from rank amateur to full-on badass, it'd probably look something like this:

Papago Loops
Usery Park (Usery Loop, Moonrock, etc.)
Trail 100, from central to Cave Creek
Desert Classic
Pemberton
SoMo East/West loops
McDowell Race Loops
Estrella Race Loops
SoMo fire road to Javelina
Hawes/Mine Loop
Trail 100 coast-to-coast, for your first big XC beatdown
Javelina-Mormon Loop up/down
Black Canyon Trail coast-to-coast-to-coast, for your next big XC beatdown
National to Waterfall and back
One of Dale's crazy NoMo routes
EDIT: Pass Mountain!
National to Telegraph Pass to DC
National to Geronimo
National to Holbert
National to Mormon Trail
Alta/Ranger
Goat Camp

If you could systematically work that list, you'd go from zero to hero in probably a year.

p.
 

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No Clue Crew
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I love SoMo and would say Paul's list is right on. However, the PMP/T100 area is just as good if not better. The only caveat, IMO, is there isn't much in the way of "beginner friendly" stuff out there, particularly on the east side of the 51.

Sure T100 itself isn't difficult, but it's rocky and has a couple of washes that would be tough for new riders. And the difficulty just goes up from there.
d
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Wow great responses. Thanks a lot. It was always frustrating looking at trail ratings and only seeing either beginner or advanced but nothing in between for the valley.
 

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parenting for gnarness
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Paul B said:
Right. If I were to build a Valley-wide progression of trails, from rank amateur to full-on badass, it'd probably look something like this:

Papago Loops
Usery Park (Usery Loop, Moonrock, etc.)
Trail 100, from central to Cave Creek
Desert Classic
Pemberton
SoMo East/West loops
McDowell Race Loops
Estrella Race Loops
SoMo fire road to Javelina
Hawes/Mine Loop
Trail 100 coast-to-coast, for your first big XC beatdown
Javelina-Mormon Loop up/down
Black Canyon Trail coast-to-coast-to-coast, for your next big XC beatdown
National to Waterfall and back
One of Dale's crazy NoMo routes
EDIT: Pass Mountain!
National to Telegraph Pass to DC
National to Geronimo
National to Holbert
National to Mormon Trail
Alta/Ranger
Goat Camp

If you could systematically work that list, you'd go from zero to hero in probably a year.

p.
hee this is cool, I had a thread like this a couple years ago when I started on MTBR, and it is fun to see my progression (cause it all about me me me ;) ). I think the PMP\NoMo gnar is harder than Pass Mtn, but I am very familiar with PM so it may seem easier to me. I rode PM yesterday a few weeks after my 2nd time down Goat, and was thrilled to see how much easier the whole thing seemed. Kinda cool how 1 run down the Goat can help me improve on a trail I've ridden 100 times.

going to ride Holbert this week for the first time in 5 years, psyched for the challenge woohoo!!:thumbsup:
 
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