Saturday, January 19, 2019

Arizona Trail (Las Cienegas)

Mountain biking and trail hiking on a nice Saturday... we left from the Gabe Zimmerman Davidson Canyon trail head for the Arizona Trail. Heather went for a hike and I rode my mountain bike. I started north on the 3 Bridges to Pistol Hill section of the trail and knew I'd be in for a challenge. This section is considered Intermediate 3-C (hilly, lots of climbs, and technical challenges) by the local MTB club. I survived the first 2.25 miles and decided that if I was to stay intact (no injuries), I'd better turn around and try the trail section to the south. Heather hiked on this section of the trail and enjoyed herself - very scenic.

I rode back to the trail head and headed south on the Las Cienegas section of the Arizona Trail. This trail section goes about 13 miles towards the northern end of the Santa Rita Mountains. Much more to my liking (within my skill set) and I actually saw other mountain bike riders on this section of trail.

On the way south you come to a tunnel underneath Interstate 10 - very unique with some nice artwork. About halfway through the tunnel is some really deep sand that catches you by surprise in the darkest part of the tunnel. I decided that I would ride the trail out to East Sahuarita Road and then turn back from there.

The trail had some nice ups and downs as it winds through the washes of the Santa Rita Foothills. Plenty of fun winding through the cactus and sand with an occasional hump to catch some air!

As you return back to the north of I-10, you climb back up to a ridge that overlooks the wash of the Cienaga Creek. You ride on the edge of the ridge the last mile back towards the trail head - mostly downhill with excellent views.

The trail head where we parked is within several hundred yards of the 3 Bridges area. There are two railroad trestles and one road bridge all in the same location.

The big train trestle and road bridge run parallel to each other. The second railroad trestle runs underneath the road bridge (harder to see). There is also another section of the Arizona Trail from Hope Camp to Pistol Hill that looks like a good section to ride - hopefully next week!