High Country Tour to Bismark Lake

 6 votes
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Featured Ride
Trail

17.0 Miles 27.4 Kilometers


100%

Singletrack

1,853' 565 m

Ascent

-1,854' -565 m

Descent

9,012' 2,747 m

High

7,665' 2,336 m

Low

4%

Avg Grade (2°)

16%

Max Grade (9°)

All Clear

72 days agoUpdate

Amazing high-elevation scenery, some of AZ's best aspen stands, and quality riding.

Jason Wilder

Overview

This route uses the Arizona Trail to climb up into the San Francisco Peaks and then roll through high meadows and aspen stands to a small lake. The scenery and riding are first-rate.

Need To Know

This area is popular, especially on weekends, and especially during leaf season (the area around Aspen Corner draws crowds). Be ready to share the trail.

This route is described as an out-and-back, starting from low on Snowbowl Road. For an easier alternative, the trail can be accessed from Aspen Corner, which is higher up Snowbowl Road. This alternative makes for a ride suitable for beginners, trims 4.8 miles off the route (each way), and eliminates most of the difficult climbing (and fun descending).

Description

This ride starts on a recently completed section of the Arizona Trail that doesn't yet appear in most maps or guidebooks. It is inconspicuously marked by trail signs along Snowbowl Road, and parking is unmarked. The first 4.8 miles of the ride ascends nearly continuously on a well-engineered trail that manages to avoid ever being too steep or too rocky. As the trail gets higher it starts to get more difficult, or maybe its just the altitude. Regardless, the forest turns to aspen and mixed conifer, and its downright beautiful.

At 4.8 miles you'll cross the access trail for Aspen Corner. A quick detour to the left here will lead to a picturesque water tank that usually holds water and has great views of the San Francisco Peaks. A right turn leads up (steeply) to the Aspen Corner parking area.

Continuing straight on the Arizona Trail the grade eases considerably and the trail breaks out of the aspen to cross Hart Prairie. Outstanding views in all directions continue for miles as you alternate between meadows and aspen stands. When fall colors are blazing, the scenery is mind-blowing.

At 7.9 miles there is a signed turnoff to Bismark Lake, which is the turnaround for this ride. The lake itself is a bit underwhelming, but there is often wildlife around and the views of Humphreys Peak are great.

With the descent from Aspen Corner to look forward to, the trip back is a pleasure.

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4.8 from 6 votes


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Your Check-Ins

Check-Ins

Nov 8, 2016
Matt Bailey
Sep 27, 2016
David Simson
Sedona trip with darius, nate, hil, Darren, kent 2016 — 11h 00m
Sep 27, 2016
nathan dollick
challenging climbs, but well worth the veiw and super fun decents!
Jun 27, 2016
Adam Ab
17mi
Jun 11, 2016
Bryan Vincent
Great ride......takes a little bit of your breath away - beauty and altitude. 16mi — 2h 55m
Oct 6, 2014
Rich McIver

Trail Ratings

  4.8 from 6 votes

#2

in Mount Elden

#300

Overall
  4.8 from 6 votes
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Rankings

#2

in Mount Elden

#20

in Arizona

#300

Overall
119 Views Last Month
6,333 Since Jun 4, 2013
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Conditions


All Clear 72 days ago
Mostly Dry, Fallen Trees
Update ConditionsHistory

Forecasting the weather...

Great trail for not so technical riders with great views!! Sep 12, 2013


i am gonna be in Flagstaff for couple weeks, are there any M. bike groups in the area? Feb 17, 2014


I'm a beginner/intermediate rider and this trail was the perfect amount of difficulty/challenge. A great ride! Jun 20, 2015


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