Tom had done some research and found this trail in Cosmic Ray’s Arizona Mountain Bike Trail Guide: Fat Tire Tales & Trails. It turned out to be a very good introduction to desert riding. We did both the north side (3.5 miles to the creek) and the south side (8.4 to Three Bridges). The trails winds through the desert. In the beginning, my cornering felt awkward as it always does, but after a while, I started getting a feel and enjoyed throwing the bike under me left and right following the quick flow of the trail. The north side to the creek is very smooth and flat. The south side to Three Bridges has some short, but not too steep, climbs littered with some rock crops, which kept it fun. Oh, and what they said about thorns puncturing through the tires and tubes was all true! On my way out, I got a flat and pulled a thorn out of the rear tire. That was a good opportunity for me to slap a slime tube in.
AZ Trail Pistol Hill:
Online resources: SDMB
Navigation: We parked at Pistol Hill Parking. Look for Arizona Trail sign posts when you enter the trailhead on either side. I think the sign posts might be on the other side of the wire fence from the parking lot. After that, it's a matter of following the sign posts. Hard to get lost. Both the creek and the Three Bridges are very obvious.
Stats and Map (Click on Trip Details below the map for links to GPX & TCX and other files):
Distance (mi) 24.8
Elevation Range (ft) 3107 – 3667
Total Ascent (ft) 2091
Total Ascent Distance (mi) 9.6
Total Descent Distance (mi) 15.2
Mei's Subjective Ratings (all out of a 5 star system):
Overall Rating 3 stars
Technical Difficulty 2 stars (occasional rocky spots)
Aerobic Difficulty 2 stars
Grin Factor 4 stars (Once you get in the rhythm, dodging the cacti becomes really fun.)
Photos: From Mei and Erik's cameras. All are in this album