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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello all,

I’m looking for some local trail and rental advice for an Arizona mountain bike vacation for my wife and I.
We’re planning on 2 days of biking the last week in February or the first week in March.

I want to be able to bike the day we arrive, so the closer to the airport (Phoenix - Sky Harbor) the better.
I may be swayed into hauling it to Tucson or Sedona but I’d much rather stay closer to Phoenix if possible.

We’re looking to do 10 miles a day at the most if it has a lot of climbing, 10-15 if it’s relatively flat.
A well-marked intermediate trail system with multiple loops and bikes to rent nearby would be ideal.

Suggestions…
 

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No need to drive to Tucson and Sedona can be hit and miss weatherise in Feb. Many options in Phx.

If you have not already, get the free Trailforks app and download the AZ maps to your phone. McDowell Mountain, Brown's Ranch, Phoenix Mt. Preserve (close to Sky Harbor), Usery Park, Hawes, Gold Canyon all have what you're looking for. 100s of miles of intermediate trails in those areas. There are other areas, too. Usery, Hawes, and Gold Canyon are particularly scenic.

I've never rented in Phx, so can't help you there. Several bike shops rent. Maybe others will chime in with recommendations.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
No need to drive to Tucson and Sedona can be hit and miss weatherise in Feb. Many options in Phx.

If you have not already, get the free Trailforks app and download the AZ maps to your phone. McDowell Mountain, Brown's Ranch, Phoenix Mt. Preserve (close to Sky Harbor), Usery Park, Hawes, Gold Canyon all have what you're looking for. 100s of miles of intermediate trails in those areas. There are other areas, too. Usery, Hawes, and Gold Canyon are particularly scenic.

I've never rented in Phx, so can't help you there. Several bike shops rent. Maybe others will chime in with recommendations.
Veloborealis,

Thanks for your suggestions. There sure are a lot of good options there.
 

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My other ride is your mom
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That time of year should be ideal for you and the wife. Closest to the airport is South Mountain. Desert Classic coast to coast might be a good green/blue first day option for you if you want to ride the day you land...then you can try your hand at national if you want some more intermediate/advanced stuff (all hikeable where advanced). The rest of the valley is your oyster with respect to riding, especailly that time of year - should have perfect weather, and if you don't, the rain won't last long and trails dry really fast. Hawes, PMP, Gold Canyon all contain some solid intermediate riding in the distance range you are requesting and are located in the valley.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
That time of year should be ideal for you and the wife. Closest to the airport is South Mountain. Desert Classic coast to coast might be a good green/blue first day option for you if you want to ride the day you land...then you can try your hand at national if you want some more intermediate/advanced stuff (all hikeable where advanced). The rest of the valley is your oyster with respect to riding, especailly that time of year - should have perfect weather, and if you don't, the rain won't last long and trails dry really fast. Hawes, PMP, Gold Canyon all contain some solid intermediate riding in the distance range you are requesting and are located in the valley.
Maadjurguer,

Thank you very much for the suggestions, I'll look into all of those.

I'm more used to single direction loops, hoping I don't get lost or confused out there.
I'll have to get more familiar with the Trailforks app.
 

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Maadjurguer,

Thank you very much for the suggestions, I'll look into all of those.

I'm more used to single direction loops, hoping I don't get lost or confused out there.
I'll have to get more familiar with the Trailforks app.
Ditto on Desert Classic for riding the day you land. Classic easy to intermediate desert XC trail with tougher lines if you seek them out. Trailforks will keep you from getting lost. Once you have the maps, your phone's GPS app will show you location and the trail names. Other features include trail descriptions and driving direstions to trailheads. Phx area parks are heavily used, especially weekends, so typically there will be other people around to ask directions should you get turned around. Bring more water than you think you need, even in February.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Ditto on Desert Classic for riding the day you land. Classic easy to intermediate desert XC trail with tougher lines if you seek them out. Trailforks will keep you from getting lost. Once you have the maps, your phone's GPS app will show you location and the trail names. Other features include trail descriptions and driving direstions to trailheads. Phx area parks are heavily used, especially weekends, so typically there will be other people around to ask directions should you get turned around. Bring more water than you think you need, even in February.
I checked out Desert Classic, looks great.
I'll need to start playing around with Tailforks to get familiar with it. Thanks for the advice!
 

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All kinds of variety on SoMo (South Mountain). I'd also suggest Gold Mountain for it's lush cactus beauty. And if you wanna really get out there, ride the AZT from Picket Post to the Lookout and back.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
All kinds of variety on SoMo (South Mountain). I'd also suggest Gold Mountain for it's lush cactus beauty. And if you wanna really get out there, ride the AZT from Picket Post to the Lookout and back.
Thanks Hawgzilla, I'll look into those too.
 

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I'll make a plug for Brown's Ranch for a sampler of Arizona scenery. It isn't the most challenging riding but it can be easy to get turned around out there a bit. The scenery is top notch though and my wife (a newer rider) absolutely loves it. About a 40-45 minute drive from the Central City.

I live right by Dreamy Draw/PMP and for being right in the heart of the city it can't be beat for variety, scenery, and convenience. As easy or challenging as you want to make it.

I love the guys at Slippery Pig bike shop and I know they do rentals.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
I'll make a plug for Brown's Ranch for a sampler of Arizona scenery. It isn't the most challenging riding but it can be easy to get turned around out there a bit. The scenery is top notch though and my wife (a newer rider) absolutely loves it. About a 40-45 minute drive from the Central City.

I live right by Dreamy Draw/PMP and for being right in the heart of the city it can't be beat for variety, scenery, and convenience. As easy or challenging as you want to make it.

I love the guys at Slippery Pig bike shop and I know they do rentals.
Thanks Horseshoe,

Brown's Ranch Perimeter Loop looks like a good option for us. Also, thanks for the rental recommendation.
 

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EDR
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I feel like I'll catch a lot of flack for this but I'm a Desert Classic naysayer for out of town folks (maybe for 1st day afternoon quick ride with limited options, then sure go ride).

It offers some of the worst we have to offer folks vacationing here imo. It will be SUPER crowded that time of year, especially in the morning. It's largely like riding a Jeep track highway (read wide trail) covered in scree and granite marbles, and the scenery (aside from the ASU co-eds out trail running) is largely uneventful as far as the Sonoran Desert experience goes. If OP is familiar already with AZ desert riding then I guess that does not matter much, however if visiting for the first time from the midwest/PNW/east coast etc then I highly suggest some prettier intermediate riding out at Hawes/Picket Post/Gold Canyon etc.

If nothing else OP, just don't limit your experience to DC or you'll be missing out. Have fun, the weather will be primo, even with a little rain. And to give credit to South Mtn area, the upper trials are a whole-lotta-fun but the haul up there and the techie bits do not make a friendly 'intermediate' trail experience imo. YMMV
 

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Mtodd,

What time of day do you get in and what general area if the valley are you staying at? That may help with suggestions as to where to ride the first day and where to rent.

If you get in later in the day then Desert Classic may be the best option. I'm with EDR that DC isn't the most spectacular but if it fits your timeframe then it's perfect. ;-)

If you're getting in pretty early then you have a lot more options. As mentioned Gold Canyon is a pretty nice area for low end intermediate to higher end riding. Ten to 15 miles will get you a lot of satifaction out there. Lots of other options if you're coming in early.

Rentals...again would depend on when your coming in and roughly where you're staying. Slippery Pig is a pretty good shop...very centrally located. If you're going to be staying in the NE valley/Scottsdale the Az Outback Adventures might be an option as well. I'm sure there are other places that folks will suggest as well.

Day 2....so many options. If you've never ridden in Az and you're up un the area I'd lean toward Browns Ranch. Pretty much zero tech but massive amounts of fun Az scenic miles. Plan on riding more miles than you think you can out there. All other choices are good too...Hawes, PMP, Phx Sonoran, BCT, etc.. Hard to do wrong that time if year.

DC

Sent from my SM-T380 using Tapatalk
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
McDowell Mountain Park has many very doable loops from 3-15 miles and both bike shops down the street from there in Fountain Hills have full rental fleets.
I am seriously considering McDowell mountain park. The sport loop and long loop look like good options.
Thanks for posting!
 

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If you've never ridden here before, McDowell Mountain Park is an excellent option and a couple shops right there in Fountain Hills have rental fleets. Be advised, however, it's a haul to get out there depending on where you're staying in Phoenix.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
I feel like I'll catch a lot of flack for this but I'm a Desert Classic naysayer for out of town folks (maybe for 1st day afternoon quick ride with limited options, then sure go ride).

It offers some of the worst we have to offer folks vacationing here imo. It will be SUPER crowded that time of year, especially in the morning. It's largely like riding a Jeep track highway (read wide trail) covered in scree and granite marbles, and the scenery (aside from the ASU co-eds out trail running) is largely uneventful as far as the Sonoran Desert experience goes. If OP is familiar already with AZ desert riding then I guess that does not matter much, however if visiting for the first time from the midwest/PNW/east coast etc then I highly suggest some prettier intermediate riding out at Hawes/Picket Post/Gold Canyon etc.

If nothing else OP, just don't limit your experience to DC or you'll be missing out. Have fun, the weather will be primo, even with a little rain. And to give credit to South Mtn area, the upper trials are a whole-lotta-fun but the haul up there and the techie bits do not make a friendly 'intermediate' trail experience imo. YMMV
Thanks for taking the time to share your opinion on DC - good to know.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Mtodd,

What time of day do you get in and what general area if the valley are you staying at? That may help with suggestions as to where to ride the first day and where to rent.

If you get in later in the day then Desert Classic may be the best option. I'm with EDR that DC isn't the most spectacular but if it fits your timeframe then it's perfect. ;-)

If you're getting in pretty early then you have a lot more options. As mentioned Gold Canyon is a pretty nice area for low end intermediate to higher end riding. Ten to 15 miles will get you a lot of satifaction out there. Lots of other options if you're coming in early.

Rentals...again would depend on when your coming in and roughly where you're staying. Slippery Pig is a pretty good shop...very centrally located. If you're going to be staying in the NE valley/Scottsdale the Az Outback Adventures might be an option as well. I'm sure there are other places that folks will suggest as well.

Day 2....so many options. If you've never ridden in Az and you're up un the area I'd lean toward Browns Ranch. Pretty much zero tech but massive amounts of fun Az scenic miles. Plan on riding more miles than you think you can out there. All other choices are good too...Hawes, PMP, Phx Sonoran, BCT, etc.. Hard to do wrong that time if year.

DC

Sent from my SM-T380 using Tapatalk
Thanks a lot for taking the time to post and for the suggestions.

We're from Wisconsin and I've been to AZ to golf and hike but I've never done any MTBing there.
We did a MTB trip to Florida in February and had a great time, so next year we're planning on doing two - Florida and AZ.
Planning on going to Florida mid-February again and AZ the first week in March - still need to compare flight times ect.

So…we haven't finalized a date or time for our arrival yet but it will be during the week - not the weekend.

Where are we staying?
I don't know that yet either - probably close to where we decide on biking - I'm open to suggestions on that's too.
 

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EDR
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"We did a MTB trip to Florida in February and had a great time, so next year we’re planning on doing two – Florida and AZ"

... I'm guessing these to locations are vastly different in terms of mountain biking.

Where in AZ did you hike?
 
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