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There are lots of jeep roads, ATV trails, and singletrack cutting through this beautiful stretch of desert north of the Vistancia community and south of Carefree Highway.
Most of the trails or roads are rocky and technical, so go with company, carry water, tools, spares, and first-aid. Rattle snakes are prevalent from mid-March through October. Cell phone coverage is pretty good with Verizon, but most other companies seem spotty.
Unmarked trail, so GPS is really helpful!
Park at Westland Park where there are bathrooms and water available. Ride north on the paved Discovery Trail that runs along the east side of the park. When you reach the end of the trail, continue north 100m or so to the fence along the canal. Make your way east, through a ravine, about 400m along the canal to the foot bridge that serves as the trailhead for this route.
Once you've crossed the footbridge, turn right onto the dirt road and head NE toward the new road bridge that crosses the canal N-S. Go under the bridge and continue E along the canal until you reach a third bridge (this one for a dirt road) roughly 2 miles into the ride.
Turn left on the road that comes over the bridge, and ride north until just past a large, red-gravel open space know as "The Big Lot" (about 600m north). Past the lot, the road forks , and either road will eventually return to the loop, but going straight (left) cuts about 3 miles out of the total.
Turning right takes you about 200m east before curling north again and beginning a 1.9-mile climb (1.5% average, 9-10% max). There are four forks or cross roads in this section: at the first crossroad (really a trail crossing) at 0.5 miles, go straight; a road goes off to the right at 0.6 miles (where the road is white gypsum gravel) go straight; at 1.0 mile, the road forks, stay left and go NW; at 1.2 miles, the road forks again, stay left and go W. Soon after that last fork, you'll go down through a ravine and should stay on the road to the right (a trail goes straight, climbing steeply, but ends soon).
At 1.9 miles, take the singletrack off to the left (just before the next fork in the road) and go SW. This 0.9-mile section has some technical ravines and has been pretty rough since the heavy rains in 2014. There is one crossing trail at 0.6 mile where you want to continue straight.
This section ends in a dry wash that you should follow for ~200 feet until the first trail to the right. You'll end up at a set of jeep roads where your should turn right and head uphill traveling WNW. This road climbs 0.3 miles (4.7% average, 18% max) to the top of "The Ravine". Here you have a choice of going S and down and back up through the Ravine (very steep, 25%), or taking the singletrack (WSW) to skip that obstacle.
Once on the dirt road on the west side of the Ravine, follow it west to the top of Poop Hill (if you ride up it the other way, you'll definitely be pooped at the top!). This steep downhill (-6.4% avg., max -20%) takes you back to the road heading south to the road bridge over the canal.
After winding around a large abandoned leaching pile, the dirt road continues, following the new road construction (Vistancia Blvd is being extended north) for about 0.75 mile, traveling mostly SE to reach the Canal. Turn right and go West to get back to the footbridge and the end of the loop.
History & Background
There used to be an active mine at the base of Poop Hill, cleverly called the Clementine Mine.