“A stiff climb up to an old helicopter pad.
— C R John
If you are not getting enough elevation change on Desert Classic
, head south at trail marker 54 and try the climb up the Helipad Trail. It first descends and then climbs up out of a little valley to the first saddle to the intersection with the trail coming up from the Ray Road Trailhead. This intersection is used as a starting point for time trials that have been posted on blogs and are now tabulated on Strava. Take the trail to the right and start grinding. Some maps refer to this as the Highline Trail.
There are several steep, mildly rocky sections to clear and one tight switchback, but nothing on the trail is so difficult that an intermediate shouldn't be able to clear it on fresh legs once you know what to expect. For us mere mortals the legs go quickly as we stop to take a breather to cough up a lung. Just when you think the end is near you realize that you have crested a false summit, but don't give up now. Just before the top you'll pass the turn off for the Goat Trail
. Once on top enjoy the view and catch your breath. Don't think about all those people who do the climb in only about five minutes.
Some people like the quick steep descent down the Goat Trail
, but I prefer the payoff of the longer ride back down the same way I just came up.