“The climbing on the way out is well worth it for the downhill heading home.”
— Hillary Mathis
Another section of the Arizona Trail that makes for a great out and back ride. This ride mostly climbs on the way out and then you get to turn around for some fun flowing, not too steep, not too technical fun downhill riding.
Need to Know
This ride goes out to the gate at the Forest Boundary and back. Another good turn around spot is at the lake 1.5 miles before the gate.
The trail starts by going through a gate on the south side of Sahuarita Rd. This trail is typical southern Arizona terrain with variations from packed dirt, sand, loose rocks, larger rocks and smooth dirt. Right off the bat the trail undulates, mostly uphill, and twists and turns to follow the terrain. A nice surprise after about 1-2 miles is a douse of green grass surrounded by trees that riders get to ride through. A rarity in these parts.
After this, the trail begins to climb and climb. The grade is gradual, but begins to wear on you as you continue uphill for 3 more miles. And to top it off it kicks up just a little bit right at the end. The climbing ends at a gate after 5.5 miles from the start. The trail heads downhill for 1 mile to the lake and then climbs for 3 miles to the Forest Boundary. These three miles of climbing are a little more difficult than the previous climbing. The trail gets rockier and there are a couple larger rocks that may be clip out points for those a little more tired.
Once you reach the gate, it's time for a little rest, a snack and then you can turn around and head back out the way you came. Be ready for some fun downhill. The switchbacks will slow you down a little, but there is still plenty of room for some speed. Other than the short, easy climb from the lake back up to the first gate that was passed though, you can expect to be going downhill for about 80% of the time.