Tag Archives: Mountain Biking

Cycling the Colorful Colorado Rockies

By Richard Fox

Colorado offers endless opportunities for mountain biking, especially in the Rocky Mountains. Most trails are technical but there are also lots of trails that the novice can handle.

The aspens turn bright yellow in late September to early October depending on elevation, adding even more stunning beauty to the mountain scenery.  Kenosha Pass is one of the most popular leaf peeping areas in the state because of it’s location about an hour southwest on US285 from the Denver metro area and the wide panoramas of fall foliage seen there.

The Colorado Trail crosses US285, open to mountain biking here.  The trail that heads west is steeper and more technical, however the eastern side that is open to bikes for its first 6.5 miles is more for the novice.  During peak leaf peeping season, however, expect scores of hikers on the trail, especially on weekends.  Another option is a forest service road that starts here and passes some great aspen stands.

Trailhead for the Colorado Trail at Kanesha Pass.
Trailhead for the Colorado Trail at Kenosha Pass.
Colorado Trail with fall color.
Colorado Trail with fall color.
Cycling the Colorado Trail at Kenosha Pass.
Cycling the Colorado Trail at Kenosha Pass.
A great spot for lunch overlooking the valley.
A great spot for lunch overlooking the valley.
Heading back down the Colorado Trail.
Heading back down the Colorado Trail.

AWESOME SONORAN DESERT CAMP ‘N RIDES NEAR PHOENIX

By Richard Fox

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. An hour 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. West of Phoenix, White Tank Regional Park is just as beautiful with a smaller set of trails but still very enjoyable. 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 ($32) 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.

White Tank Regional Park’s Ford Canyon Trail rewards with some awesome vistas.