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The Big U


A nice and easy 15-ish miles to do before the workday.

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1,870' 570 m


1,703' 519 m


434' 132 m


433' 132 m



Avg Grade (1°)


Max Grade (4°)

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Family Friendly No big climbs or downhills. Very smooth and easy ride. Could be cut short by staying on Apache Wash Loop if anyone gets tired as well.


This is a mellow ride that goes along the Apache Wash Loop but decides not to end so abruptly. There is lots of wash riding but not overly sandy. Expect some rocks but not too chunky. Overall, a great beginner ride for those who want to do something mellow, but for a bit longer.

The best part about loops like this is you can make them as hard as you want by just going faster. There isn't really anything technical to slow you down and as long as you want to keep pedaling harder you can make the ride into whatever you want!


Starting off at the Apache Wash Loop trailhead, you start by going into the trail system as if you were going to do the Apache Wash Loop. You can take a small section of Sidewinder Trail as we did on this route and take the Sidewinder - Apache Wash Cutback to the Apache Wash Loop.

When you're almost at the end of Apache Wash Loop, you'll come upon a sign marked "E" for the Esplanade Trail. That is where you're going to turn left and head back towards Carefree Hwy.

For the most part, Esplanade Trail is a nice, smooth gradual uphill (1-2%) that spans about 3.5 miles. This will take you all the way to a wash next to Carefree Highway, where you'll intersect the Cliff Walk Trail.

Head left (south) onto Cliff Walk Trail and cruise it all the way down to where it ends at Badger Brawl Trail. This section is mainly downhill with some small wash crossings but is a little bit rockier than Esplanade Trail. It is not anything difficult at all and would be something I have no problem recommending to beginner MTB riders to go have fun on and learn how to ride rocky terrain.

A on right Badger Brawl Trail will take you back to the Apache Wash Loop where you'll ride a short distance back to the trailhead. Again, nothing crazy here.

The final left on Apache Wash Loop will take you back to the trailhead where you'll have hit somewhere north of the 14-mile mark of total distance traveled. Hope you all enjoy the ride!


Shared By:

Jacob Person with improvements by Paul S

Trail Ratings

  4.0 from 23 votes


  4.0 from 23 votes
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in Arizona


65 Views Last Month
6,458 Since May 30, 2018



Did not anticipate this much fun on a ride near Scottsdale (Badger Brawl). Honestly, ripping fun!
Oct 21, 2018 near Cave Creek, AZ
This is a 'green' rating at it's finest. Esplanade Trail. Fast, flowy, XC fun!
Oct 21, 2018 near Cave Creek, AZ
Apache Wash Trail
Jan 4, 2015 near Cave Creek, AZ
Easily viewed trail marker.  Left Ocotillo, right Apache Wash Loop
Nov 18, 2017 near Cave Creek, AZ
Apache Wash Trail
Jan 4, 2015 near Cave Creek, AZ
Western Diamondback along Esplanade Trail. Sunday 9/20/20
Sep 22, 2020 near Cave Creek, AZ


Current Trail Conditions

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Add Your Check-In


Jun 13, 2021
Brandon Allen
Great trail, but definitely not "very smooth", some parts are smooth, but it's actually pretty rocky in a lot of spots and dual suspension will be… 15mi — 1h 30m
Apr 30, 2021
Ed Abula
Apr 7, 2021
Chad Mcgee
Mar 21, 2021
Jimmie Baker
15mi — 2h 05m
Feb 15, 2021
Jes R
Took my sister-in-law who's just gotten into biking. Fun loop and a little challenging for beginners but not bad IMO. 15mi
Oct 18, 2020
Chipotle Sponsor Me Please
15mi — 2h 00m
Oct 18, 2020
Stephen Kilar
Nice ride, pretty rocky and bumpy! We went counterclockwise and that was a good way to go. — 2h 30m
Jun 30, 2020
Frank Mulich
rode it in reverse 14.4mi — 1h 13m