“Fun combination of doubletrack and singletrack in the trees.”
— Lee Brinckerhoff on Apr 8, 2013
RestrictionsMay be closed during summer months due to fire danger, check with the ranger station for details.
OverviewThe eastern sections of trail are all doubletrack while the western sections are all singletrack. There is enough variety on the doubletrack to keep things interesting, including some fun downhills that have banked corners or lots of rocks to roll through. The northern portion of Pokerchip has lots of loose rock on the trail surface that can make things quite challenging when going up, especially when combined with limestone ledges - though that makes for a fun descent on the other end.
The southern section of Pokerchip is pure fun, flowy curves through the trees with some rock gardens and ledges every now and then to keep you on your toes. Gamble Oak is mostly smooth and curvy except for one very nasty climb/hike-a-bike.
DescriptionStart out on an unmaintained section of singletrack from the parking area that passes behind a private residence. It winds through big trees and drops you onto the Mahogany trail just north of its start on Oak Flat Rd. Turn left on Mahogany which is a doubletrack and get your warm up on. Its mostly flat but has one nice descending section with rock gardens and banked corners. The Mahogany trail ends when it intersects Rd 242. The next bit can be ridden in either direction, but for this description it's described as a figure 8 (if you do it as one big loop the Bear Scat Trail is slightly to the right on Rd 242).
Head left on Rd 242 up a short climb. After the road curves right, look for Pokerchip which crosses the road so there are gates on either side. Head right up Pokerchip. Immediately start climbing through the trees. It's not so bad at first: some baby heads here, a ledge or two there. However, the trail then gets steeper and the baby heads are mixed with the ledges. Everything is ridable, though not by everyone. If you need to dismount, a quick push will get you through to the next bit.
The trail eventually tops out on a ridge and things flatten and smooth out significantly, then the rock gardens begin. You'll finish out this bit of Pokerchip with a descent similar to the harder part of the climb, except with some switchbacks thrown in. At the bottom of the descent there's a trail sign for the Pinyon Trail. Though the map does not show Pokerchip and Pinyon meeting, go right.
A quick, fun descent on singletrack leads to the Bear Scat trail junction - go right again. Bear Scat is doubletrack and is mostly smooth as you work your way back south below the ridge that Pokerchip was on. You'll eventually come to Rd 242 again. Turn right, the same direction you headed last time. However, this time when you reach the junction with Pokerchip, go left instead. You'll be rewarded with a fast, fun, flowy section of downhill that eventually adds some rocks to make you slow down a bit. Eventually you'll cross a dry stream bed and start to climb up the other side. The climb starts out with a couple of switchback then gets more gradual, working through the forest to a junction with the Gamble Oak Trail.
Turn right onto the Gamble Oak Trail. This section starts out fast and smooth. The trail finding through this bit can be a bit challenging. There are several junctions with unmaintained trails that are not signed. There are signs for the Mahogany Trail through here, though I think they say "this way to the Mahogany Trail". For the most part stay to the left. After the smooth start there are a few rocky climbs and one hike-a-bike. Gamble Oak Trail eventually leads back to the Mahogany Trail that you started on, retrace this to your car.
ContactsLand Manager: USFS - Cibola National Forest Office
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