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Epic Builder
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Note: This is part of a continuing series highlighting local trail systems far removed from mainstream destinations.

"Hey bro, we're heading to Yuma to ride for the weekend, you wanna come?"
"Can't, but have fun on the quad and say hi to all the dez'rt buds at Wells."
"No man, we're riding MTBs."
(pause)
"Uhhh…no dude, you're f'n crazy."

Directly twenty miles east of the Grays Wells, rolling sand dunes are replaced by rolling hills. Here, the Laguna Mountains border the southwest corner of the US Army's Yuma Proving Grounds. Word had it that there were miles of singletrack to be had in the Yuma area. So while everyone else was spending the long weekend at the dunes, we got our ride on.

The trailhead for the area is adjacent to the county transfer station on E County 5th St. The land here is barren, rugged, and at times pure scorched earth.



Look around and you'll see a few ocotillos, barrel cactus, and cholla.



Other times you'll see fields of dark glazed rocks sitting on top of the sand colored ground.



A surreal landscape that leaves you at times wondering what it would be like to ride on the moon.



Nearly pure desolation with just the sound of tires crushing over rocky ground.



There's no question these trails were built by MTBers.



Similar to the Las Vegas Cottonwood trail system, these trails aren't buffed out.





Retaining a rough & rustic edge about them, they're a welcome change to sanitized trails that see tens of thousands of users each year.







A shallow layer of loose stone is ever present, but the hardened ground most always provides traction.



"Mountains" is a misnomer for an area that is mainly comprised of drainages and ridgelines.



Sugarloaf Peak is the prominent butte-like feature that acts as a good reference point.







The crisscrossing network isn't signed, but two small cairns spaced two feet apart usually mark when the singletrack veers off an ATV or Jeep road.



Rhinos and Mules stick to their ATV tracks and motos don't seem to frequent the area, so the singletrack stays narrow and demands your full attention.



Finding trailtread much over a foot in width is like a celebrity citing in Topeka, Kansas.



This particular day we put in 15 miles over 4 hours and didn't even ride a quarter of the trail system.



Suffice to say, most will never consider Yuma as MTB destination. But it's hard to argue against two trail networks, totaling 50+ miles of dedicated singletrack, which can keep one occupied for 2-3 days. The Sugarloaf trail system has been in place for well over a decade and will still be quietly there at the end of the next decade while other trail systems go extinct. Stop in at Johnny Yuma's Bicycles on 4th Street for a map that will help keep your sanity. All it takes is an open mind for some wide open riding.



Laguna Mountains (Sugarloaf Peak)
Yuma, AZ
40+ miles of singletrack

 

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I can't wait to come ride these trails. It will be great to ride trails that have not been sterilized with brooms and made 5 feet wide! Real singletrack! A great big thank you to the crew that built this system!!! WELL DONE!
 

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Break it, Fix it, Ride it
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Great report! I love that scorched earth, apocalyptic Mad Max type terrain. Makes me feel like mountain biking is really about survival, trying not to be eaten by a rad scorpion or abducted by aliens. The singletrack looks really good too. I love me a small, crunchy ribbon of dirt. Sweet, sweet music! Thanks!
 

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Saucy Size
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Added!

I rode out there when I was working on my book. This was like...1997 or 1998 or so. Long time ago. The network was still pretty underdeveloped, but had lots of promise. It is freaky to ride out there, even when it's not deadly-hot. Everything is so baked and alien, you can actually smell the oxidization coming off the rocks. Weird place. Lots of ruins. Very apocalyptic.

Great looking map -- I don't suppose anyone brought a big-boy mapping tool like a GPS?
 

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Epic Builder
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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Paul B said:
Great looking map -- I don't suppose anyone brought a big-boy mapping tool like a GPS?
I had my GPS but as I said, we barely rode a 1/4 of it in 15 mi. I'd need to spend another 2-3 days mapping that entire network, so perhaps I'll chip away at it on future AZ trips to PHX and TUS.
 

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GP_pilot said:
I had my GPS but as I said, we barely rode a 1/4 of it in 15 mi. I'd need to spend another 2-3 days mapping that entire network, so perhaps I'll chip away at it on future AZ trips to PHX and TUS.
Can you load it up on a free account at GeoLadders, so that others can load it on their GPS, like an Edge 305 or something?
http://www.geoladders.com/show_route.php?route=42983

Go to the "Rides" Tab, in the upper middle of the page is "Upload my Ride"

At the bottom of the new page, in dark blue, it says "Upload a New Route". Click on that with your GPS hooked up, and it will upload your logs.

Good stuff!

You can add more to GeoLadders the next time you head on out there.
 

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I have to say, doing the AZ Trail JAMBOREE out of Vail that AZepicriderandrunner put together last Saturday was flat out amazing in the quality of the people you meet riding in AZ. Many of us are so like minded in having the desire to explore and taste some new dirt, from a little bit of beta shared here on MTBR. It's just more goods to sample and taste.'
 

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I had the chance to ride this system a few times when I was assigned to a project at the Yuma Proving Grounds in the Fall of '09 and just have to say your report was spot on. Not really a destination but if you're passing through, or there working, these are very fun XC style tracks to get some miles in. Great photos too, they really capture what the riding is like.
 

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Chunky Monkey
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Gonna Kill This one Also...

Great pics.

It seems I always kill threads.....Hope I do not kill this one.

These trails are that are not all that bad, at least a ride is a ride.....

Good bike shop down there.

http://bikeshops.mtbr.com/cat/united-states/arizona/PRD_404060_6215crx.aspx

If you see a fat ass on the trail it may be me and NOT but could be a mule or donkey...I have called more than this-that.

Check out the wilderness area by the river with the c-store and the bar....:thumbsup:

Thx,
John
 

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I have ridden there a few times now and do like it. I done a bit of exploring off the trail designated in green on the attached map but not much. Looks like GP has ventured much farther north than I have. GP, how often do you ride there or is it just a passing through thing (sounds like you are in SoCal?). I would love to get a tour of the areas north of Ryans and Champagne at some point. Yuma's on my radar as my parents call it home so I do get there a number of times throughout the year. Thanks for the write-up, several of the pictures I haven't ridden yet and I do want to....good job on the report.
 

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Rode here again 6-7-11

I did pretty much the same trails I have done in the interest of time. I did deviate from the attached map adding in the "Sidwalk section on single track between Champagne and T-Bird. A fun downhill run of ST that beats the 2-track run between the 2 trails shown on the map. I cleaned everything without issue as the trails are seeing more tire tread and are getting beat in so some of the loose steep sections that were a crapshoot to climb before are very doable now without much concentration, its just lungs and legs now. Finished the 13.16 miles in 1:23:56 and enjoyed every minute. Started at 5:30am so the weather was PERFECT. Anyone on here have trails on here that I should give a chance to? Liberty Bell maybe? What are the trails like to the north end I haven't ridden? I don't always have time to explore when in Yuma so some suggestions might help me shortcut the recon time to find the good loops! Going to ride there either Thursday or Friday morning again before i head back to PHX. - Brian
 

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No mames guey
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I don't always have time to explore when in Yuma so some suggestions might help me shortcut the recon time to find the good loops! Going to ride there either Thursday or Friday morning again before i head back to PHX. - Brian
I know you are asking for ride recommendations, but here are some other recommendations:

Bean and cheese burrito from Chile Pepper/Mr. G's
Rolled tacos from Pablo's
Birria or barbacoa from Mi Rancho
Beers and entertainment at Bar Olympico in Los Algodones

Enjoy.
 
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