“A sweet drop into a canyon for shade then back out, this is a rare singletrack find in this area.
— Matt Freeman
During this ride, you'll experience exposed areas of heat and dry desert brush before plunging into a canyon with shade. Ride the canyon trail for a bit, and before climbing out of the canyon, ditch your bike and scramble down a chute (use the rope to control your descent) to see a beautiful waterfall.
After a bit of cool shade, climb out of the canyon and be delighted with a cool breeze down a quick doubletrack, to be stopped abruptly by a metal gate blocking the road. A right turn at the gate sets you on a fun descent down a smooth singletrack with low shrubs and grasses covered with dispersed oak trees.
Complete the loop on a quiet country road. Breeze down the pavement past a farm, blast through a creek that flows over the Arizona Bridge, then while climbing back to the trailhead, enjoy the open, undeveloped countryside.
Need to Know
- Riders could eliminate the country road by riding this as a point-to-point or dropping a shuttle vehicle. However, the road is generally quiet and makes a nice cool-down, so the loop option eliminates the complications of a shuttle.
- There is no water available at the campgrounds.
The trail quickly drops through a series of switchbacks on a very dry, sun-exposed hillside with tall coyote brush. After crossing the stream (which is usually dry), the sun exposure is reduced with large trees, pine, oak, and dispersed shrubs along the rest of Sweetwater Trail L1
. The trail continues wandering up the stream with a few unmarked Y’s to the left.
At about 1.5 miles, there is an unmarked trail to the left about 100 feet before a switchback that drops down to the gorge. Ditch your bike and take the trail. Close to the bottom, there is a rope attached to a tree to help with the scramble down and back up. You’ll be greeted by a beautiful waterfall and pool, which is a great place to cool down before climbing out of the gorge.
Back on Sweetwater Trail L2
, continue climbing out of the canyon, although now in less shade. Many portions of the trail on this side of the mountain have rocks that have eroded and tumbled onto the riding surface as the new trail settles in.
Enjoy the remarkable, expansive views during the climb. At the top of the climb, find a well maintained doubletrack for a nice breezy cool-down ride down to a gate. A carsonite marker to the left marks the trail. This portion is a real blast, with a fun, clear trail surface.
Once you reach the Sweetwater Trailhead, turn right to head down the hill along a quiet country road into a valley. Cross the Arizona Bridge (a stream that flows over the road), then make the final push back to the starting point.
History & Background
The campgrounds, and possibly the trails, were constructed using American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) funds.