November 25, 2012

San Tan: Dynamite Trail

This past weekend I made it out to the San Tan Regional Park twice, once on the mountain bike and another for a hike. Both days were spent entering the park on the new-ish Dynamite Trail off the Goldmine Trailhead.

The mountain bike ride I did was a short loop through the park but rode from home some 7 miles away. San Tan doesn't seem to get a lot of love locally, I can see why as there are so many other incredible riding spots locally. To be fair San Tan is a really fun place to ride if all you want is a fast flowy scenic trail experience. I think the biggest detractor is the sand. I'd guess at least 40% of the park is unridable due to trails following sandy washes. The center figure 8 of the park is a blast and now has a super fun climb/descent combo getting into it all.

The Dynamite trail is roughly 2.5 miles long tying into the San Tan Trail. It seems like it was built with mountain bikers in mind. The grade is very friendly and allows a larger gear if you really want to mash. I find it comfortable in my 2/4 gearing pretty much the entire climb.

Upon arriving at the trailhead I was greeted by a park ranger who, more than likely, was there making sure everyone entering paid their fees as this spot is a self-pay station. He asked me how I liked Dynamite trail and I told him that the park could use a few more trails just like it! He then told me of the upcoming plans to add a mountain bike skills area in the south end of the park complete with a pump track! Very cool. I also suggested that some of the current trails be re-routed out of the wash alignments. He seemed to be aware of the issues and assured me that by the end of 2013 some trails would be re-routed. We'll see. The park has a ton of potential.

On Sunday we hiked the length of Dynamite out-n-back, ran into a few of my riding buddies along the way, and generally enjoyed the warm late November day. This did give me ample opportunity to get some good trail shots, so here they are:
Snow?? Nope, just thousands of feathers!
Initial climbing grade.

You can see part of the old trail alignment dropping below the tread.
K breaking in her new boots.
Nice city views on the way up.

Signed switchbacks.

This side of the ridge has a more remote feeling.
At the junction with the San Tan Trail, our turnaround spot.

Another rider bombs down Dynamite.

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