Tag Archives: Scottsdale Open Space

Fabulous Bicycle Bridges of the West

By Richard Fox, enCYCLEpedia.net

Some of the most interesting and imaginative bridges in the western US and Canada are of the bike/pedestrian variety. Many have become showpieces and even tourist attractions.  It’s a great way for a municipality to both foster recreation opportunities for residents and visitors, and to bolster its reputation as a destination and a forward thinking community.

The prime example is Santiago Calatrava’s Sundial Bridge spanning the Sacramento River in Redding, Northern California.  This cantilever spar cable-stayed bridge actually forms a sundial, and its opaque decking is illuminated at night.  It has become the centerpiece and main attraction of Redding, known to cyclists for its 35 miles of bike trails along the Sacramento River, and has generated millions of dollars of tourist revenue. We witnessed the Bandaloop acrobats perform on the bridge for its 10th anniversary.

 

Also spanning the Sacramento River along its bike trail system is this unique stress-ribbon bridge.  Another stress-ribbon bridge in this region, that we have yet to visit, spans the Rogue River in Grants Pass Oregon.

 

The David Keitzer Lake Hodges Bike & Pedestrian bridge is 990 feet long, the longest stress- ribbon bridge in the world.  Lake Hodges is one of the prime easy-scenic mountain bike areas in San Diego County. These photos show a difference in the area during a wet and dry year.

 

The lovely Wagon Creek Bridge over the Wagon Creek inlet to  Lake Siskiyou near Mt. Shasta City completed a trail system around the entire lake.

 

The best example of incorporating art into a bike/ped bridge is in Tacoma, Washington.  The city’s rising star is reflected in its waterfront reconstruction and commitment to improving bicycling infrastructure. The Chihuly Bridge of Glass is a 500-foot-long bridge linking the Museum of Glass to downtown Tacoma and its cultural corridor. While more practical for peds, bikes are allowed on it as part of a fabulous tour of the Tacoma waterfront.  For those interested in glass art, the walls and ceilings full of glass sculptures and free-standing pieces make this a world class attraction.

 

A railroad trestle is a mainstay along many a rail trail, and the wooden Kinsol Trestle near Lake Cowichan, Vancouver Island, British Columbia was restored beyond its original glory as part of the Cowichan Valley Trail.  At 144 ft high and 617 ft long, it is the one of the largest structures of its type in the world.  Also in BC, the Myra Canyon trestles (not shown) near Kelowna are part of an iconic bike ride along the Kettle Valley Railroad rail trail.

 

The Pacific Electric regional rail trail in SoCal’s Inland Empire parallels historic Route 66, and the designers took full advantage of that fact by refurbishing this former railroad bridge with Route 66 designs. Cities from Claremont to Rialto have joined in to make this 21-mile path a successful regional feature.

 

Another refurbished railroad bridge in Folsom, CA, that connects to the American River regional trail,  evokes the old-west heritage of the town.

 

The Phoenix area is criss-crossed by canals and other aquatic infrastructure, and the municipalities have been generous about constructing bike trails along them.  Shown here are the new Tempe Town Lake Bike and Pedestrian Bridge, and an interesting bridge at the “Scottsdale Waterfront” that spans a canal.  Paved paths along the Scottsdale Greenbelt, Tempe Town Lake and several canals enable fun fabulous off-road cycles in this area.

 

This fabulous bike bridge along the south end of Lake Coeur d’Alene in Idaho is a highlight of the spectacular 72-mile paved Trail of the Coeur d’ Alenes, that follows the former route of the old silver mining trains.

 

This former railway bridge now carries bikes ‘n pipes across the Columbia River as part of the scenic Wenatchee bike trail system that spans both sides of the river.

 

And finally, the construction of the sleek Mike Gotch Memorial Bridge over Rose Creek Inlet in San Diego in 2012 was literally a life saving project, taking hordes of cyclists off of a dangerous road and onto less crowded streets and pathways around Mission Bay.

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.