Tag Archives: Arizona

Homolovi Camp ‘n Ride – A Hidden Northern AZ Gem

Located in expansive grasslands at 4,900 feet elevation near Winslow, Arizona along I-40, Homolovi State Park preserves the 14th century ruins of the Anasazi people that thrived along the Little Colorado River.   A scenic campground with RV hookups ($25) makes a great base to explore this lightly visited park by bike.   Park roads provide inspiring vistas of the surrounding Colorado Plateau and the San Francisco Peaks near Flagstaff to the west.  The gentle grades and wide open viewscapes create a template for an enjoyable easy ride of 10-15 miles. Expansion cracks found at regular intervals of the pavement will be better suited to those with wider tires, until repairs are completed.  The two major sites are Homolovi I, about a mile ride from the campground, (followed by a 1/4-mile hike), and the more scenic Homolovi II, about 5 miles away followed by a short paved rideable trail to the sites.  The ruins are not as well preserved as others in the region.

Campground with spacious sites and panoramic vistas.
Campground with spacious sites and panoramic vistas.
Little used park roads for scenic rides of up to 18 miles. Better for fatter tires because of frequent stress fractures.
Little used park roads are perfect for scenic rides of up to 15 miles — better for fatter tires because of frequent stress fractures. Watch for snakes!
Kiva at Homolovi II ruins. Most of the ruins are now piles of rubble, compared to other more preserved sites.
Kiva at Homolovi II ruins. Most of the ruins are now piles of rubble.
Sunset, looking west to San Francisco Peaks from campground.
Sunset, looking west to San Francisco Peaks from campground.
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AWESOME SONORAN DESERT CAMP ‘N RIDES NEAR PHOENIX

Imagine gliding down a perfect winding singletrack mountain bike trail for mile after mile through the Sonoran desert landscape, jagged mountains in the distance, birds flittering in saguaro cactus, a wide smile plastered on your face. You are downhill on the north segment of the Pemberton Trail in McDowell Mountain Regional Park, located in the McDowell Mountains between Scottsdale and Fountain Hills east of Phoenix. You can finish the ride in the comfort of your RV if you’ve secured a precious site at the beautiful and popular Maricopa County campground. About 45 minutes to the south is Usery Mountain Regional Park east of Mesa, where you can also camp out and hop on magnificent mountain bike trails. Usery is flatter with more lush vegetation, whereas McDowell is on a gradually sloping alluvial plain with many more miles of trails and more of a wide open feeling because much of the park burned in the 90’s. The adjoining Scottsdale McDowell Sonoran Preserve extends the 50 miles of trails even further. Both have fabulous views of the Superstition Mountains and most of the time no civilization is in sight, a different world than the nearby Phoenix metro area. The vast majority of the trails are non-technical, with few rocks or challenging pitches, perfect for the everyday mountain biker who likes to enjoy the outdoors and get a good workout.

Beautiful vistas abound on the Usery park trails, especially looking to the east.
Beautiful vistas abound on the Usery park trails, especially looking to the east.
The RV campground at Usery Park with Usery Mountain in the background.  Set amongst lush Sonoran vegetation with partial hookups, reserve early for this popular spot that is about a mile along the park road from the MTB trailheads .
The RV campground at Usery Park with Usery Mountain in the background. Set amongst lush Sonoran vegetation with partial hookups, reserve early for this popular Maricopa County Campground ($30) that is about a mile along the park road from the MTB trailheads .
Signed trail junctions on the fabulous Usery Park trails.
Signed trail junctions on the fabulous Usery Park trails.
Spacious campsites with electric and water hookups with MTB trailheads all around it  make the campground at McDowell full most of the winter.
Spacious campsites with electric and water hookups with MTB trailheads all around it make the campground at McDowell full most of the winter.
Gliding down the lovely Pemberton Trail at McDowell Park.
Gliding down the lovely Pemberton Trail at McDowell Park.
Cycling near the striking granite boulders of McDowell park.
Cycling near the dramatic granite boulders, top of the hill at McDowell park.
Trails continue into the adjacent Scottsdale McDowell Sonoran Preserve.
Trails continue into the adjacent Scottsdale McDowell Sonoran Preserve.

Scenic Sedona Bike ‘n Brunch

Sedona, Arizona is like a city within the Grand Canyon.  Surrounded by amazing red rock formations that are mostly on forest service land,  it has become a mountain bikers’ mecca with new trails opening up frequently.  However, most of those are for more advanced ability levels.  What is available to the more casual rider?  Thanks to the reconstructed main N/S highway  (179) and an existing spectacular novice level mountain bike trail, cyclists have the choice of traversing all of Sedona by riding in bike lanes along the highways , or, as we always choose, by  staying completely off the roads, while visiting some of the city’s highlights that draw tourists by the millions annually.  And there are of course plenty of places to complete your Bike ‘n Brunch!   We recommend a hybrid or mountain bike for the most versatility.  Be warned there are some hills involved and an altitude of about 4,200-4,500 feet, so it’s not as easy as some of the other rides that we have described, but it is very doable and rewarding with constant scenic vistas , so just take it easy; stop and take photos!

Tlaquepaque  Arts & Crafts village, a bit of Spain in Sedona, its main tourist attraction.
Tlaquepaque Arts & Crafts village, a bit of Spain in Sedona, its main tourist attraction.
Hwy 179 was rebuilt all through Sedona to include bike lanes, and within the city limits are fabulous scenic uncrowded sidewalks for those who prefer to stay away from the distracted drivers gawking at the scenery!
Hwy 179 was rebuilt all through Sedona to include bike lanes, and within the city limits are fabulous scenic uncrowded legal sidewalks for those who prefer to stay away from the distracted drivers gawking at the scenery!
Plenty of scenic vistas along the Hwy 179 sidewalks.
Plenty of scenic vistas along the Hwy 179 sidewalks.
A nifty undercrossing  at the Mystic Hills development moves  the sidewalk to the east side of 179 prior to reaching the Chapel district.
A nifty undercrossing at the Mystic Hills development moves the sidewalk to the east side of 179 prior to reaching the Chapel district.
The Chapel of the Holy Cross, another main attraction, is accessible via a detour down Chapel Rd or adjacent less crowded side streets.
The Chapel of the Holy Cross, another main attraction, is accessible via a detour east down Chapel Rd or adjacent (to the south)  less crowded side streets.
Riding around Uptown Sedona, also accessible via bike lane or sidewalk.
Riding around Uptown Sedona, also accessible via bike lane or sidewalk.
To continue south on Hwy 179 to the Village of Oak Creek and more dining options, you can take the bike lane along Hwy 179, or the spectacular novice Bell Rock Trail, staying off the roadway altogether.
To continue south along Hwy 179 to the Village of Oak Creek and more dining options, you can take the bike lane along Hwy 179, or the spectacular novice Bell Rock Pathway, staying off the roadway altogether.
One of your possible rewards, Red Rock BBQ's patio with good food and spectacular vistas.
One of your possible rewards, Red Rock BBQ’s patio with good food and spectacular vistas (near jct 179 & 89A).