Arizona Trail: Oracle to Picketpost, Day 1

Deep in the Sonoran Desert in southern Arizona lies one of the finest stretches of singletrack anywhere – The Arizona Trail between Oracle, AZ and Superior, AZ.

Mountain Biking Severe

Distance
45 km
Ascent
1.2 km
Descent
1.2 km
Duration
4-5 hrs
Low Point
852 m
High Point
1.3 km
Gradient
Arizona Trail: Oracle to Picketpost, Day 1 Map

This Arizona Trail mountain bike tour is truly a hidden gem. Deep in the Sonoran Desert in southern Arizona lies one of the finest stretches of singletrack anywhere – The Arizona Trail between Oracle, AZ and Superior, AZ. We often use the word “remote”, but this section of trail may take the cake. It’s OUT there. Despite being one of the hottest deserts in North America the Sonoran Desert is teaming with life. Gila monsters, desert tortoise, javelinas, rattlesnakes and countless types of cactus permeate the landscape. Rugged and unforgiving as it is beautiful – it is magical world many of us do not get to experience often.

Description

This is a self-guided tour, but not like our others. We mandate the following: GPS with the AZ Trail track from Topofusion.com loaded, latex or Slime tubes (and plenty of them), 100oz hydration bladder and at least one water bottle mounted on the bike, and beefy tires. A little preparation goes a long way on this trip. Our goal is not to scare you, but simply be prepared for a great time mountain biking the Arizona Trail. This is a difficult, advanced level trip for experienced mountain bikers.

We created this trip for those who don’t want a guide, don’t want to be supported during the week and generally just want their own self-serve adventure with a bit of logistical assistance. Each day we relocate a very deluxe camp setup (provided by Ready Camp) of (2) 10×10 canopies, full kitchen, dry firewood, camp chairs, fresh water, coolers of food and beverages (you purchase prior to trip) and all your personal gear like tents, bags and clothing. You can go as cheap or deluxe as you want on food, beverages and amenities!!

Day 1

Our first day we’ll meet at 7:00am and then start with a shuttle from Apache Junction to Oracle, AZ of about 90 minutes. The beginning of the trail from Oracle takes you up and down on narrow singletrack crossing 5 or 6 washes. Distant views of Antelope Peak, our night’s destination, reveal themselves periodically. Behind us we can see the northern slopes of Mount Lemmon, Tucson’s signature peak. The vegetation in this area consists mainly of low-lying cacti such as prickly pear and chollas. During one of our scouting trips of this trip we came across a hissing gila monster in this region – a beautiful, but poisonous reptile not to be trifled with! After a long, enjoyable descent on some newly-built singletrack you’ll have a few miles on dirt road which will be a welcome relief as the singletrack in this first section demands attention. This road points directly at Antelope Peak, a reddish ancient volcano. You’ll soon rejoin singletrack to traverse the right hand flank of Antelope Peak, but keep your eyes peeled in this section as route-finding is tricky. Ride length is about 28 miles.

For more information or to book a tour, visit: http://aztexpeditions.com/Arizona-Trail-1

Difficulty

Severe

Widely variable, narrow trail tread with steeper grades and unavoidable obstacles of 15in/38cm tall or less. Obstacles may include unavoidable bridges 24in/61cm wide or less, large rocks, gravel, difficult root sections, and more. Ideal for advanced-level riders.

Medium Exposure

2 out of 4

The trail contains some obstacles such as outcroppings and rock which could cause injury.

Remoteness

4 out of 4

In the high mountains or remote conditions, all individuals must be completely autonomous in every situation.

Best time to visit

January, February, March, April, May, June, July, August, September, October, November, December

Guidebooks in this area