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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Greetings!

At the end of this month I am driving to Vegas (from Austin) to attend a trade show. On the way back I plan on hitting some mountain bike trails in Arizona and New Mexico. The route as I have it planned now takes me through the following cities:

Flagstaff, AZ
Gallup, NM
Albuquerque, NM
Las Cruces, NM

Here is a Google Map:

Las Vegas to Austin

I'm looking for suggestions on great riding along this route. This route isn't set in stone, so I'm willing to go a bit off course if that'll bring me to some great singletrack. I'm leaving Vegas on Monday, August 2nd and plan on taking an entire week to get back to Austin.

Now, because I'm from Texas I'm used to riding in the summer heat, but I'd like to avoid trails in the middle of the desert that have absolutely no shade if at all possible. I consider myself a very good (but not expert/pro) rider technical-wise, probably a result of the never ending trails of rocks in Austin. :D And I don't mind climbing, although compared to many areas of the country Austin is fairly flat overall.

I really love long, fast, flowing trails that have periodic technical sections. But I'm open to riding just about anything, especially if it's generally known to be an epic trail..

Also looking for suggestions on lodging near my stops. I'm not going to camp, so looking for hotels and such. And if anyone wants to join me for a ride that would be great!

Thanks in advance for any advice!!

..Al
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
berzerker said:
Pinetop/Lakeside area : http://www.tracks-pinetop-lakeside.org/
Payson area : Trail 260
Flagstaff area : Mt Elden trails
Stay in northern AZ and you'll find some sweet rides. Of course, check mtbr trail reviews.
Thanks for the recommendations, I'll check those out. I have looked at mtbr trail reviews, but it's always nice to get "current" feedback from local trail users when you're not familiar with the area. I know our trail systems change frequently here in Austin--heck there are several new trails open just in the last year here..

Thanks again,

..Al
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
chucksxt said:
Consider Benham/Bill Williams, Williams Az if you don't mind a climb. Although might be rough for someone who is not used to higher altitude/thinner air.
Been riding this trail for years and it always keeps a smile on my face. :thumbsup:
That's right along I-40, which is very convenient. :) Looks like a fun ride from the pictures, thanks for the links. Doing an out-and-back doesn't look like fun, though, as I'd have to climb up the mountain a second time, with steeper grades on the way back. Can you ride back to the start on the roads easily enough, or is there an alternate route to get back to the trailhead? Also, if you have any tips for following the trail those would be much appreciated. :D

Thanks,

..Al
 

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AtariAge said:
That's right along I-40, which is very convenient. :) Looks like a fun ride from the pictures, thanks for the links. Doing an out-and-back doesn't look like fun, though, as I'd have to climb up the mountain a second time, with steeper grades on the way back. Can you ride back to the start on the roads easily enough, or is there an alternate route to get back to the trailhead? Also, if you have any tips for following the trail those would be much appreciated. :D

Thanks,

..Al
Yeah, it requires a bit of road riding 3-4 miles to make a loop. Peferred route is Benham -> Bill Williams (south to north on the map) Steeper climb with enough switchbacks to make you go crazy (bail out points which connect to a forest service road to make it easier if need be) on the way up, but coming down on the other side is better with a few fun switchbacks at the top followed by nice fast flowing singletrack, with a few techy spots all the way to the bottom. However either way is a great ride.

Alot of people park at the Ranger station (north end of the map) and use the Williams Link Trail or Clover Spring Trail, then you will need to make a short trip through the outskirts of town and 3-4 miles on Perkinsville Rd./County Road 73 to Benham Trailhead. I got some GPX files hiding somewhere of the complete loop, it's around 20 miles, Ill see if I can dig them up in the next day or two. The Forest Service has signs at all the trailheads and every area where these trails connect to an adjoining trail (there's only 5 trails, 3 on the mountain and 2 that link into town, the signs are not easy to miss).

When you're done pack up and head to Flagstaff 35 miles away, snag a hotel and hit Elden in the morning! :thumbsup:
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
chucksxt said:
Yeah, it requires a bit of road riding 3-4 miles to make a loop. Peferred route is Benham -> Bill Williams (south to north on the map) Steeper climb with enough switchbacks to make you go crazy (bail out points which connect to a forest service road to make it easier if need be) on the way up, but coming down on the other side is better with a few fun switchbacks at the top followed by nice fast flowing singletrack, with a few techy spots all the way to the bottom. However either way is a great ride.

Alot of people park at the Ranger station (north end of the map) and use the Williams Link Trail or Clover Spring Trail, then you will need to make a short trip through the outskirts of town and 3-4 miles on Perkinsville Rd./County Road 73 to Benham Trailhead. I got some GPX files hiding somewhere of the complete loop, it's around 20 miles, Ill see if I can dig them up in the next day or two. The Forest Service has signs at all the trailheads and every area where these trails connect to an adjoining trail (there's only 5 trails, 3 on the mountain and 2 that link into town, the signs are not easy to miss).
That sounds good, as I'd rather finish my ride on the trail than on the road. :D I'd love to get the GPX files from you so I can load them into my Edge 305.

When you're done pack up and head to Flagstaff 35 miles away, snag a hotel and hit Elden in the morning! :thumbsup:
Are you talking about the Sunset / Schultz Creek Trail loop? That definitely sounds like a good plan--trying to find detailed information on that now..

Thanks,

..Al
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Btw, what can I expect for weather at the beginning of August? How much do I need to worry about rain?

..Al
 

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We hope to see rain, but the Monsoon weather is always unpredictable. Always use caution during the monsoon season. And enjoy the trails in AZ you will love the view!!
 

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The rain in the AZ high country can be brief but torrential in the summer. Storms can pop up on any given day, more likely in the afternoons as the heat builds and thunderstorm clouds form.

BTW it's not the rain you need to worry about, it's the lightning. You can't really plan around it, just go for it and have fun. Bail if the electricity in the air gets too nasty.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
SenorSlacker said:
Skip AZ. It is a freaking oven state wide. This state is starting to resemble Venus.
Unfortunately it's not much better here... I plan on starting my rides as early as reasonably possible in the morning, although that doesn't always work out as planned. :D

..Al
 

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SenorSlacker said:
Skip AZ. It is a freaking oven state wide. This state is starting to resemble Venus.
Generally yes, but Flagstaff- Williams is very comfortable, Pinetop will also be fine. Any where else, be prepared to bake like a thanksgiving turkey. I would consider 2 days in Flagstaff. The arizona trail on the starting from Aspen corners near snowbowl to the north, is a good ride. It would be out and back or a shuttle but I really like that trail. Flagstaff is a nice town in general, I have not had the opportunity to be there at night, but I can imagine all the bars downtown are just packed in the evening and night.
 
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