FATMAP difficulty grade
The Sweetwater Trail System is a classic, scenic desert singletrack, with a mix of smooth, fast, sandy stretches and techie, rocky, challenging sections.
These trails can be ridden either direction from the parking lot, but I prefer the counter-clockwise direction.
I believe it flows better from this direction, plus with the network of trails that make up the system, there are several interconnecting shortcut trails and a couple of separate loops.
By riding CCW you simplify the directions by following the old mountain bike rule at intersections, “If you go right you can’t go wrong.” This will route you on the outermost loop, and if you want more miles, on your second lap you can turn left at an intersection to customize a shorter route back to the vehicle. There isn’t much elevation here, but some of the short climbs snake their way through some pretty rocky sections that cyclists will either love or hate, dependent on whether or not they fall over and land in a bed of sharp rocks. Sweetwater Trail has a great finisher with the Desperado Loop, a Triple Treat Ride (fast, flowy, and furious).
This is a good example of man imitating nature, for many manmade MTB trails haul in dirt to create stretches of trail with intermittent earthen rollers.
Desperado has these same undulating surfaces, only constructed by Mother Nature, as years of water flowing down the hillsides created shallow washes that make for a sweet, flowy ride, guaranteed to put a smile on mountain bikers’ faces as they cruise into the parking lot at the finish.