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Mountain Biking in Prescott, AZ

I have not ridden a bike in a loooong time, went on 3 mountain bike rides with Claire while we were in AZ; all were pretty fun.

Williamson Valley
I found some rides on before we left on our trip, we kinda roughly followed this route, but luckily ran into some other riders who hooked us up with some directions which turned into a very fun ride without too much climbing (I used to love to climb).

Later, we picked up a great free map from IronClad Bicycles that shows these trails, I recommend getting one before going out (none were available at the trail head). The city puts this map out, unfortunately I could not find a digital copy online, it is called the ”Bicycling Opportunities Map

Start this ride at the Williamson Valley trail head; 10 miles out of town on Williamson Valley Road. About 2 to 3 hour ride (took us about 2 1/2 at a relatively easy pace) don’t forget Prescott is at about 5500 ft elevation.

the way we went: hang to the left at the trail sign paralleling the road for awhile (1 mile?)
  • trail starts to climb some and comes to a fork;
  • go left and then through the gate;
  • go left once on the other side of the gate (trail 347)
  • from here on out it is pretty much take a right if you come to an intersection; we ran into an issue at one point where we missed a turn and were on a ‘fire road’ very loose dirt/sand; the rights should be trail 348, trail 352, and then trail 345
  • eventually you will come back to the intersection with the gate
  • go back through the gate and hang left (trail 345?)
  • we took this and then eventually hit a right hand turn which took us back to the parking lot

Trail is mostly single track, hard pack and/or loose sand, some roots and baby head boulders here and there, some fun fast downhill sections; I would call this trail ‘rolling’ as no climb is very long or very steep; fun stuff…

Thumb Butte
We were recommended to ride this area by the guys at IronClad Bicycles, this was a cool ride, wish I had brought a camera along.

Start this ride at Thumb Butte Park Recreation Area; take West Gurley Ave out of town, it sort of becomes Thumb Butte Road.

the way we went: up the road for a mile then right onto trail 332;
  • climb for a little bit
  • right onto trail 318; this was fun
  • I think we went left on some trail not on the map and eventually ended up at some summer camp; we worked our way back to ‘Fireplace Spring’ and climbed up trail 332 back to the intersection with 318;
  • down 332 back to the road, crossed the road and got on another trail, 329 if I can remember, also not on the map and looked to be some what recently built
  • took this for awhile, some steep climbing and then eventually connected to trail 326;
  • this puts you very close to the top of the butte; I think you can hike to the top from here?
  • we pretty much descended 326 right back to the parking lot
Fire road, double track and single track; terrain is different from Williamson Valley stuff, more pine trees etc… From looking at the map you could do some fat loops connecting Williamson Valley to Granite Basin to the Thumb Butte area - I need to get in better shape before attempting that.

BLM land (Little Thumb Butte)
We drove to the Granite Basin trail head to do a short ride, but Claire forgot to bring her Helmet and riding cloths, I was tired anyhow so we drove back home, then decided to check out the BLM land out behind the house where her family have been doing some horseback riding. We got up to the base of Little Thumb Butte (nice views, once again wish I had brought the camera) before getting a flat and we were running low on light so we back tracked the way we had come, we were pretty sure we could do a big loop from there but did not want to get stuck out there after dark - freezing to death or being eaten by mountain lions just didn’t sound like much fun. This was some rough back country ‘fire roads’ and ‘double track’, lots of boulders and steep stuff, pretty sure this land is all leased for Cattle grazing, could be really nice area to ride if someone was able to cut some single track trails, not likely though.

After driving home through Sedona and Flagstaff, definitely want to try some MTB rides in those areas. Sedona is spectacular and Flagstaff looks to have a lot of trails.