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Elitest thrill junkie
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It's rapidly getting better. I just did a nice ride going North from Thumb Butte on 317 and over towards Iron Springs and on a bunch of the trails that shoot off of the old railroad grade. No major problems or big bogs. Last week it was pretty bad in some places, but now the warmth and sun are starting to dry out the places that are supposed to dry out. There might be a few muddy sections left in a few days, but they'll be isolated. You won't be able to ride the highest trails around here, like West Spruce Mtn, Spruce Mtn, 48, and others, but pretty much everything below 6500' will be good IMO, maybe even below 7000', but trails that do go around or above that elevation are usually out of the picture for most of winter.

Most of Granite Basin is great, you just want to avoid 347 and the Williamson Valley trailhead until you are darn sure everything has dried out. There are some more isolated pockets on 341, 346 and 349 that are sometimes bad, but usually not long. The cayuse trailhead is a favorite for out-of-towners that don't know the places where you can park outside of Granite Basin and then ride in, but it is probably going to be better than it was last week. 349 was kind of a mess starting out of there, but like I said it's fairly isolated as far as the bad spots and I'm sure it's well on it's way to being totally clear.

I did 396 about 4 days ago or so and I thought it wasn't draining well and that it was a muddy and mucky mess, there were more than a few slopes that were just messy and hard to ride up due to the wheel slipping. I was riding it later in the day, which means everything was melting, but it's still a pretty young trail, it definitely wasn't as good as the Granite Basin stuff I did the day before. Again, stuff is rapidly drying out so it is probably better than when I rode it just a few days ago. Trail 305 was better than 396 when I did it (around the same time-frame).

If you like to start early in the morning, you might be riding when stuff is frozen and then you can ride virtually anything around here, so that's another idea,
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Wondering if anyone could give me specific info on the 393, or 264. or just a general update. thanks.

I am thinking me and the wife are going to come up this weekend. I suggested she hike the 396, and I would like to ride the 393 or 264, or others in the area.
 

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Elitest thrill junkie
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rockyrunner99 said:
Wondering if anyone could give me specific info on the 393, or 264. or just a general update. thanks.

I am thinking me and the wife are going to come up this weekend. I suggested she hike the 396, and I would like to ride the 393 or 264, or others in the area.
I rode 396 a few days ago, it was pretty sloppy, messy, muddy, rutty, etc. It does not drain well IMO.

I rode 305 the next day, and it was dry, some nice tacky spots, far better than 396. I like 396 for my 29er when it's dry or moist, but it's been a slop-fest ever since it snowed. If you hit it early when it's frozen it's ok, like everything, but the difference beween 396 and 305 was night and day.

You shouldn't be attempting trails like 264 IMO, there are still pockets of snow in places obviously, but that trail gets you WAY out there, and the soil down towards the lower areas is not going to be conductive to drying out. It's a place that can form the dreaded "death mud" IMO. It's a long ways out if it sucks. I reserve those that trail for drier times of year. 264 has two sections, I wouldnt try either.

No idea on 393, but there are still a lot of pockets of snow back in Thumb Butte. Thumb Butte is usually more sloppy than Granite Basin when there's snow and ice, but I'd bet most if it is pretty localized now. I also rode in Thumb Butte a few days ago, but I went mostly North, and not into Thumb Butte, so not on trails like 392, 393, etc. No death-mud, but possibly still muddy and mucky, but more localized. When I did ride TB a few days ago I decided against the creek-side trail due to how wet/muddy it seemed. It's probably better now. 393 is mostly on a pretty steep hillside, so it may drain well.

I know that's not the specific info you want. I don't know if a lot of locals are going out and riding different areas to see how they compare, I'm trying to ride as many different areas as I can.

I would say Granite Basin is THE best place to ride here in the winter. When it snows, it is fun. When it melts, it doesn't affect the sandy surface much. There are also sandy trails in the emmanual pines area, but that is pretty close to Granite Basin. Even some of the higher trails there like trail 40 are fun when people hike them and pack down a foot of snow, it's a real fun ride and special experience. When said snow melts, it usually does so without causing crazy mud. That said, if it is muddy at all, avoid trail 347 at all costs. If you do choose to ride it and encounter "death-mud", immediately turn around, as it will quickly build up and trust me you'll know it when you encounter it. Trail 349 is usually pretty sloppy at the beginning out of the Equestrian area, but other than that most of the trails are pretty good and you can turn in some good winter-miles. The 2nd best area IME is trail 305, it dries and drains pretty quickly, although it can be pretty sloppy when it's pretty wet and the ground has soaked up a lot of moisture. Thumb Butte and area is so-so, not excessively bad, but not great either. I lump 396 in with TB as far as how it reacts to winter-conditions. The Feldmire trail fares much better due to being in a valley and simply either being frozen snow or dry, it seems to hold on to the extremes, rather than just being muddy and mucky. The worst trails are the high-altitude trails, like 264, 307, 48, etc. Huge amounts of deadfall, just nasty snow-and-ice at the top (when snow is long-gone from lower elevations) and so on. I hiked Smith Ravine (297) a few days ago and I'd lump it in with the above higher trails. Tons of deadfall on the lower portion.
 

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Elitest thrill junkie
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Oh yeah, you better get your riding in this weekend.
 

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Elitest thrill junkie
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I jost got back from Thumb Butte (yes, at 12:15am). There's still quite a bit of snow locked away in the shade.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Jayem said:
Oh yeah, you better get your riding in this weekend.
Yeah, I have missed your trails up there, they are my favorite, and I looked at the weather the other day and realized this would be my best chance for a while.

Thanks for all the updates, you have been a great help!
 

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I know the question was pertaining to other trails but we rode the Lakeshore Trail and Petroglyph Point Trail yesterday and they are in great shape with no mud at all.

Jayem: out riding at 12:15am????

Jeff
 

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Elitest thrill junkie
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Yep, I rode the Willow-Lake trails a few days ago, they were fine. The "technical tracks" are probably also one of the first ridable areas, but so short that I definitely wouldn't suggest anyone come here to ride them when other stuff is shut down (which is what it's looking like next week). Gunna do 305 again, maybe try Salida Gulch as well, but it was so dry the other day that I think it will be primo again.
 

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396 and some of the other Groom area trails have sections of goop. If you hit them early when everything is par-frozen, it's all good. If you wait till later in the day, there will be mud and slop.

I was a little bummed to see so many riders out hitting that trail late in the day. It's a durable trail system over there, but not THAT durable. Parts of those trails are getting a little rutted.
 

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Roverbiker said:
396 and some of the other Groom area trails have sections of goop. If you hit them early when everything is par-frozen, it's all good. If you wait till later in the day, there will be mud and slop.

I was a little bummed to see so many riders out hitting that trail late in the day. It's a durable trail system over there, but not THAT durable. Parts of those trails are getting a little rutted.
Well, as I said before, it really doesn't drain that well. Either it's just due to it being a young trail so the flows aren't well established, or where it's located and how it's built dictate that it stays pretty sloppy. We may be having generally warmer winters these days, which lets the ground absorb a lot of liquid water, vs before when it would either be frozen or dry. That's one of my ideas, but we've also done a lot to push that trail, so it's kind of obvious that people are going to flock to that trail. I turned around on it the last time I was there a few days ago, I had a problem with my bike and I just didn't want to endure the constant slop/digging in/sliding that I knew I would if I kept it up. Despite this, I've seen some big groups heading up the trail these last weeks when it's been pretty bad. I kind of ran into this last year when the trail was even newer, but at that point I blamed it on the trail being very new. While some sections have gotten better, it doesn't seem to have improved past a point. Interestingly how similer of a trail 305 is, and how much drier it is. It's possibly the fact that 396 would be on the windward side of a mountain and 305 is on the lee side, which would see far less preciptation. There are a lot of trails around that I have tested when it's wet/muddy. I've added them all to my knowledge base and every once and a while I'll retest them to see if anything has changed, but for the most part I know when and where to ride, hence quite a few recent Sedona trips. As we head into this next week, I realize that riding in Prescott will be out of the question, not just for this week, but most likely through the following week. The only places I'd try to ride would be the Dells. Granite would be the next place I'd try, but if that comes I'll be carefull with the trails I select. Otherwise I'm going to have to find something else to do outdoors for a week or two!
 

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396 drains fine; the reason it stays wet longer is because of the composition of the soil over there. There is far more organic matter in the soil over there than N of Thumb Butte, in Granite Basin or on the Homestead Trail.

Jayem's right: ride when the mud is frozen... traction is unreal.
 

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NedwannaB
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Tale of 2 trail stewards

Velokid1 said:
396 drains fine; the reason it stays wet longer is because of the composition of the soil over there. There is far more organic matter in the soil over there than N of Thumb Butte, in Granite Basin or on the Homestead Trail.
Ahhh, voice of reason. Short n sweet. How come it took jm so many paragraphs........;)
 
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