Hit the trail (Part 3): Best bets for advanced mountain biking - East Valley Tribune: Outdoors

Hit the trail (Part 3): Best bets for advanced mountain biking

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Posted: Saturday, March 1, 2014 7:18 am | Updated: 12:35 pm, Wed Dec 3, 2014.

East Valley residents have easy access to some of the best mountain bike trails in the state. From beginner rides to technical thrills, there are options for anybody interested in singletrack adventure.

Not sure where to start? I’ll share a few ride suggestions by ability level. (Check out Parts 1 and 2 at GetOutAZ.com for beginner and intermediate trails, and some bike shops that can help you out.)

Best advanced ride: Arizona Trail

The Arizona Trail is an 800-plus-mile trail that runs from Utah to Mexico. East Valley residents are lucky to have fairly easy access to this wilderness experience.

Forty-five minutes east of Mesa on U.S. Highway 60, the Arizona Trail bisects the highway. Look for signs that will lead you to the Picket Post Trailhead. To the north of the highway, the Reavis Canyon segment of the trail offers a rewarding climb; to the south of the roadway, the Picket Post segment enters a breathtaking canyon. Pack plenty of food, water and supplies, and head out in either direction for a full day of pedaling.

For information, visit AZtrail.org.

Runner-up: Pass Mountain

This ride crosses into both Tonto National Forest and Usery Mountain Regional Park. With phenomenal views of Four Peaks, the Goldfields and the Superstitions, it is hard to pay attention to the trail — but pay attention you must! Not for the faint of heart, this ride offers chunky technical rock riding best suited for those with long-travel suspension and a bit of bravery.

Visit Maricopa.gov/parks/usery for more information and a map.

• Mesa resident Kristen and her husband have been mountain biking together for the past decade. They recently got a new biking buddy when their 1-year-old son started joining them.

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