October 7, 2017

Brown's Ranch: 'Splorin & Tourin'

I was in the mood for some Brown's Ranch cruising. Jen was the only taker after I posted about a 6-7 hour ride. Apparently that tends to scare off the masses for some reason.

Jen hadn't ridden much in the area so I promised to show her the good stuff after we explored some of the trails in development.
Right out of the gate, we met a friend. I hadn't seen a rattler in a few months. I need to get out more...

We made our way north & west and found some rocks with yellow tape. Hmmm. Let's see where this goes!!

We looped through giant boulders...

Zipped along fast cruisers...and crisscrossed our own tracks a few times.
I kept referring to my Strava app since I was recording our ride. It's easy to see where you've been, which was very helpful as we wound through this seemingly endless maze of trails.

or O's??

Some trails looked official, others were more primitive. All were fun.

Giant mesquite next to a wash.

Trail treat!!

Back out on the main system trails. They felt like superhighways compared to the other trails.

Dropping off a small ridgeline on Renegade.

Tight squeeze!!

Four Peaks off in the distance.

6 1/2 hours later, we were done!!
Thanks for coming out Jen, now you know enough to be dangerous up there!!


I made a second trip to Brown's Ranch less than a week later to check on the progress of the Maricopa Trail, MT. Rumors had the trail almost completed to the Bronco trailhead. I figured if it was close & flagged I could connect the dots. What was that saying about assuming...
The Michelin Man basking in the sun.
I made a quick outer loop on the system trails before leaving the preserve at the Tonto National Forest boundary. Time to see how far north the MT goes.
New signage.

Spur trail leads to the ranger station.

Dirt sidewalk for a bit.

The trail was mostly wide, but the decomposed granite was very coarse and thick in sections.

Temps began to rise as I closed in on the mountains.

The trail climbs and winds near cool boulder outcroppings.

Expansive landscape to the east before diving into a sandy wash, complete with HAB up & out.

Awfully steep grade over loose terrain for new construction. Push it.

A short downhill reprieve before the serious HAB begins.

The trail shares this wash for a bit.

Rugged, yet mostly rideable.

Combine steep, loose, soft terrain in warm conditions and I was getting worked over.

Then I came to this. End of the line. I pushed about 45 minutes or so it seemed for this?? Yes. I did.

What a vantage point though!!

The McDowell Mtns. looking paltry in the distance.

No flagging. No bushwhacking to the Bronco TH. Time to return the way I came, at least for a bit.

I took the first dirt road crossing as my bailout. It was now hovering around 95ยบ.

This short dirt connector brought me over to Seven Springs Rd.
A few miles of pavement and I was able to tie back into the Brown's Ranch trails for a quick exit to the car. It'll be interesting to see how this trail develops with use. I'm not so certain it'll pack down, so much loose decomposed granite. Time will tell. I'd probably only ride this section when it's part of a bigger ride plan, but who knows. Either way, it's nice to have a trail option heading north instead of being relegated to the road.


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