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For years now I’ve been hearing and reading some good stories about the Tucson Trails, and although I had tried a couple of times to fit Tucson into my list of destinations, it never panned out.. until this time.

While on one of the Moab Trails in October, I got talking with two fellow Mountain Bikers [ Doug & Bill ] They were a wealth of information about Mountain Biking Trails throughout the USA, which also included the Tucson Trails.

As luck has it, when I arrived in Tucson I unknowingly set up base at the “Desert Trails RV Park” just 3 sites down from Doug who I had met in Moab, and both he an Bill were staying there, this meant I was gonna get the full trail intel incl. free guides.

I spent 4 weeks on the Tucson trails. and I just touched the surface of what Tuscon has to offer. I will definitely be back soon to ride all the trails I missed this time round..

 

 

My Experience

 

Riding the Tucson Trails for the first time was a great experience, it’s pretty daunting looking up at 40+ ft. cacti, thinking just ONE thing.. “Shit I hope I won’t be huggin’ one of them” .. The brain however must switch off, ‘cos minutes later I was dodging the cacti like I had a death wish.

I was lucky in Tucson, I had 2 well seasoned guides [ Doug & Bill ] that kindly showed me a handful of trails,’cos although the trails great, and clear, they are not very well marked and believe me there are plenty of places one can go wrong, and the Tucson dessert is not a friendly place to get lost. Your safest bet is to, just like me [ if just like me you are lucky ] make use of a guide, followed by a really good map, a shit load of navigation skills, and spare tubes!!. I used more tubes in the 4 weeks in Tucson, than in all the 5 previous years!. I used a “Tuffy” liner front and back, and slime tubes, and still had to take out a mortgage to finance my tubes.. and don’t think if you shred on “Tubeless” you are off the hook, ‘cos you ain’t!
I must say however, that the “Tuffy’ liners really did improve things, and I would highly recommend them in Tucson.

Although there were no really high trails, or at least not the ones I did, this doesn’t mean there are no strenuous climbs, and manic downhill sections, ‘cos there are lots of them, what I call short, brutal & fun.

One of my favorite trails was the pretty technical and very demanding “Brown Mountain” Trail.. don’t be fooled just because it’s just under 5 miles, ‘cos at some point you will curse this trail. I attempted Brown Mountain 5 times, the first 2 times I cleared without any problems apart from destroying my lungs!. However the last three times I ended up walking down, completely defeated or should I say deflated, cos three blowouts in three attempts, because of this Brown Mountain became together with the Porcupine Trail in Moab my most expensive rides, and it kicked my arse!
The final downhill section is pretty sick, and it was actually the first time I opted for semi-full body protection, and boy am i glad I did. The trail consists of of razor sharp rocks, and a lot of very scary looking cacti. This is definitely not a trail where you wanna lose your cool.

Another trail I really enjoyed was the Explorer Trail, another short but brutal trail. This is an “out & back” with a lot of climbing, a pretty technical section and of course a lot of downhill. This downhill is not as steep as the Brown Mountain section, however is is much longer, and because it is not as steep, you are more inclined to open up, and that can be very dangerous. Stay on your steed on this trail, and you will enjoy every minute of it.

The Robles Trail system offers miles and miles of fantastic trails, and it doesn’t matter how you do them, clockwise or counter clockwise, they are great both directions. Some moderate climbs, a handful of technical spots and some really fast flowing runs make the Robles System a MUST!

Another must do fantastic out and back is the Pistol Hill to Three Bridges Trail. This section is about 17 miles of the 800 mile Arizona Trail. There is quite a bit of moderate climbing on this trail, and eventually it physically catches up with you.. I was doing fine until about mile 12, and then my legs and lungs started giving up, and the last climb was very demanding. The really nice thing about this trail, is that it has one of the best finishes you can imagine.. The last 1.5 miles is a manic “Run Rabbit Run” a perfect finish to an excellent trail.

Conclusion

Tucson is a fantastic MTB Destination, although it is definitely not a summer destination, it could just be the best winter destination the USA has to offer. I can only speak for December and January, but the weather and trail conditions were perfect. I was pleasantly surprised at how quite the trails actually were, even during the weekend.

As I mentioned, I was in Tucson for a whole month, and I still just touched the surface of the Tucson trails. I will definitely head back to Tucson next winter, and will definitely explore all the trails I did not get to ride.

Any serious Mountain Biker looking to do some serious Mountain Biking in the winter months should definitely put Tucson on top of the list.

 

My Tucson Trails Rating : 8 / 10

 

Doug & BillI would like to thank Doug & Bill for the the time to show me some fantastic trails Tuscon has to offer. Without their guidance and trail intel I would have probably spent more time researching and less time shreddin’.

I’m sure our paths will meet again on a trail somewhere… Kudo’s to you both.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pipe Dream Moab
Pipe Dream Moab

The new Pipe Dream Trail in Moab, a fantastic singletrack that starts in downtown Moab

 

Last year October this trail did not exist, and I was pleasantly surprised to have a +10 mile singletrack at my doorstep. I did the Pipe Dream all the way, from Hidden Valley to Aspen Street and back. Having the smell of Burger King follow me all the way was not easy, knowing that it would only be a 5 min detour to add Burger King or McDonalds to the trail. This time I did not give in to temptation, but it was very difficult.

 Pipe Dream Trail Map

Trail Stats & Information Pipe Dream  

Nearby Town: Moab

Length: about 12.00 miles as an out & back

Trail Type: Out & Back

Skill Level: [what the books say] No info

Skill Level: [My Opinion] Technically moderate. Physically moderately demanding.

Duration: about 3 hours

Trailhead Elev: 4,428 feet

Top Elev: 4,663 feet

 

 

Book Description

New trail, so not yet listed in any books, the below is a description based on my opinion.

The Pipe Dream is a nice moderately technical singletrack that can be started at numerous places. The full Pipe Dream runs from Moab [ Aspen Street ] to the Hidden Valley Trailhead. The trail is well marked, it’s definitely not a fast trail, but it is definitely a trail that should be on the list of anyone riding the Moab Trails.

 

 My Experience

For the past 5 years I have spent the whole month of October in Moab, I always stay at the Moab Rim Campark. As many know, the Hidden Valley onto Moab Rim Trail is one of my favorite Moab rides. Moab Rim Campark is literally just 10 min. ride to the Hidden Valley Trailhead, following the “Under the Wires” trail.

I was pleasantly surprised this year to find a new trail starting ( or finishing) at the Hidden Valley Trailhead.. The Pipe Dream.

The Pipe Dream was officially opened on June 17th 2011, so it really is a brand new Trail.
The trail is very well built, and runs the whole length at the foot of the Hidden Valley and Moab Rim. The trail is far from being flat, and is no means a fast flowing trail. I started the ride directly from Moab Rim Campark at about 10 am on a Monday. I was pretty surprised at the number of riders already on the trail, it is clear that the Pipe Dream is already a very popular trail.

The ride from Hidden Valley to Moab Aspen Street, is a lot easier than from Aspen Street to Hidden Valley. Technically both directions are moderately technical, however physically the ride to Hidden Valley is a lot more strenuous, due to more climbing.

 

Conclusion

The people that built the Pipe Dream did a fantastic job, the singletrack winds itself around, under and over some unbelievable rocky terrain. It’s a great slow and moderately technical trail, that offers a lot of options. Out and Back from downtown Moab, but for the real “grinderz” among us, it can form a fantastic loop with Hidden Valley and Moab Rim.
It’s already clear that the Pipe Dream is a huge success, and is becoming very popular, very quick.

 

  Other Info:

Traffic on Trail : For a weekday, It was moderately busy

Wild Life : a snake

Scenery : Really nice scenery.

Other : Have not done it myself, but the Pipe Dream can be a great option to loop the Hidden Valley onto Moab Rim. Physically extremely demanding, but it would make a hell of a loop none the less.

 

My Trail Rating : 7 / 10

 

Moab Rim CamparkThis Pipe Dream Trail review is proudly sponsored by :

Moab Rim Campark

At Moab Rim Campark mountain bikers will definitely feel at home among other mountain bikers at this Mountain Biker Friendly Campgroud. Bike wash, grassy shaded tent sites with stunning views, Full hook ups, semi hook ups, cabins, group shelters, sheltered areas to tinker on the bikes, and lots more. The Pipe Dream Trail starts from your campsite. Moab Rim Campsite has been recommended by “Mountain Bike Mayhem” 4 years running. Mountain Bikers get 10% discount, just bring your bike(s) and mention MOUNTAIN BIKE MAYHEM For more info vist : Moab Rim Campark  

 

Part 1 of a Moab Trails in HDR Compilation. These HDR photo’s were taken on the Hidden Valley onto Moab Rim Trail, Flat Pass Trail, Poison Spider Mesa Trail and the Portage Trail in Moab Utah.

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