December 31, 2012

Goldfield Mtns: Hidden Valley Gem

Each time I visited Mike's website it was staring right back at me. The mountainous expanse of the Goldfields just waiting to be explored. The day had finally arrived for Seron, Phil and I to do some riding over there, partly because we hadn't been and partly because the Goldfields are on the Salty-Gila route.

A storm had moved through the Phoenix area the evening before leaving soft sand, puddles and mud. Mike sent me a gpx track to follow for a nice loop and off we went.
Hard to believe we're still in the 'big city'.
A few low hanging clouds danced over the Superstitions.
We started out on a forest road meandering over the hilly terrain. Soon we spotted Bulldog Canyon, I've heard a bunch about it, but have yet to venture through on bike. We missed our first turnoff to singletrack, made our way back & found a vague entrance. Once we were on the trail it was easy to follow.

The clouds moved away revealing a dusting of snow high up on the Supes.
It's pretty cool to see snow from the Valley and still be able to ride in shorts.
Water spigot in the desert?!?!
We dumped back out onto a jeep road and somewhere missed another turn, but we opted to keep exploring the area as we spotted another singletrack parallel to where the track had been. Another fun piece of trail had us close to the tourist trap of the Goldfield Mining town & AZ88. We poked around a bit, but found a nice route over to the road.
Goldfield Mining Town.

Because it's FUN!!
Secret trail entrance.
On our trek back to the trailhead we found the piece of singletrack we had missed earlier. There was a nice climb up to a ridgeline followed by some fast flowy downhill back to the jeep road. Considering how wet the ground was, most of the area was in good shape. We did have a few moments of near-death mud, but just as it was beginning to clump up the trail became more rocky, knocking of the larger chunks. We found another singletrack spinoff up a short grunt climb to another ridgeline a bit closer to the city. At the top we found a cool freeride looking area, not quite Area 52 in scope, perhaps Area 53?? 52.5?? Whatever you want to call it, it was fun!
Colorful lichen add to the scenery.
Seron making the grunt climb.
Mountain gorilla!!
Freeride area with a grand view of the Superstitions.
All this, so close to the city.

Dropping in.
Flying down to the landing area.
Phil blasting off.

The Goldfields are tons of fun, I'm sure even better in drier conditions, but it's still a primitive riding experience. That's a good thing. It's not all singletrack, but the jeep roads are good riding too. I'd recommend having a track to follow on a GPS or go with someone who knows the trails, which is not me.....yet.

This was a great way to round out the riding for 2012, sort of an annual tradition to do either a new or unique ride on New Year's Eve-ish. 2010 had Phil and I riding out at Hawes in below freezing conditions (there was actually ICE on the trail!!) and 2011 had a group of us do the first Picketpost to Kelvin through ride. Good times indeed.

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