The desert is hot and chances are good you'll see no other riders in the summer.
This desert singletrack is one of the primary arteries of the Sugarloaf Peak trails. It runs roughly north and south, and sits on the eastern extent of the trails.
Getting there is work whatever route you choose. One popular route is to take Front Yard
to Johnny Walker
, a short little bit of Sidewalk
and you'll be on the south end of Champagne. I call this spot "Top of the World." This is a great place for a break to take in the fantastic vistas where you can see the Imperial Sand Dunes backed by the Peninsular Mountain Range to the west.
Champagne is a favorite both because it connects with many other trails and because this ridgeline trail is smooth and fast with few challenges to interrupt your flow. At a sedate pace, there is nothing an intermediate rider in reasonable condition can't handle. Riding south to north, this trail is a non-stop blast if you can carry enough speed to get you through the short climbs. high speeds are easy to attain and easy to manage with the solid braking surface. Experienced riders who are comfortable with speed will find that, with its narrow tread, twists and turns, and short climbs, this ride takes on more of a roller-coaster character if you keep your speed up. The trail invites speed, be careful you don't relax too much on your first ride; there are a some avoidable rock obstacles that come up unexpectedly and could easily end your ride if you hit one at speed.
Navigation is straightforward except for one bit near your start at the south end where the trail briefly follows doubletrack then cuts sharply to the left as it leaves the doubletrack. Don't miss the turn!
At the midpoint, you'll have the opportunity to drop off the ridge and pick up Picnic Table
which will take you to the base of Sugarloaf, or, if 11 miles is enough for you, hop on Ryan's for an easy ride back to the car. If you stay on Champagne to the end, you'll find yourself north of Sugarloaf peaks.
As you continue north on Champagne, the trail continues as a downhill, ridgeline blast, but past the Picnic Table
/Ryan connector, maintenance and traffic drops off and the trail narrows and is a bit less "clean." At the far north end, the character changes dramatically as you drop into the wash then climb your way out of the valley along the sides of a geological wonderland. One ugly 20/30 percent climb over loose on loose, then you'll be rewarded with solid trail tread for the rest of the trail.