This was one dirt road mountain bike ride I had thought about doing for a long time. From my house in Eagar I rode up Water Canyon to Milligan Valley to Sipe Ranch and back home again. Turned out to be about 31 miles. It's pretty steep going up Water Canyon but the rest of the route made it all worthwhile. Once I had turned off onto Milligan Valley Road (FR 85) it got pretty dreamy, with a lot of gradual coasting downhills through the forest, wildflowers, etc. I saw no vehicles once I was on FR 85. One of my rest stops was next to Rudd Creek, where there is a car campsite, a running creek, and lots of flowers. I saw only one group of people camping all along Milligan Valley Road, though. They were camped next to Benton Creek. At the back gate of Sipe White Mountain Wildlife Area my odometer read 20 miles. Stopping at Sipe for a break, I then rode the Sipe road back to 180/191. I took a detour on a side road I knew about, that would get me back to Saffel Canyon and Water Canyon, but I turned around, deciding to do that on another day. Back on the Sipe road, reaching the highway, I went straight across and caught the old highway down to Eagar. You take the first left through a barbed wire gate. It almost looks like someone's driveway because there's a new house up there on top of Picnic Hill. The old highway has slowly been reverting to dirt for many years, but still has some pavement and painted lines.
Directions: Starting in Eagar, ride up Water Canyon Road (FR 285) to Milligan Valley Road (FR 85), (a 7-mile, 1000-foot grind from my house near 260.) Turning left to Milligan Valley, follow it to Sipe. There is one Y turn a few miles in that you have to watch for (not the first one that goes to private property.) The right hand of the Y says 85A. Take the left, which is unsigned and is heading slightly down hill.
Eventually, after passing the nice old log cabin, you'll get to the back gate of Sipe White Mountain Wildlife Area, owned by Game and Fish. Beautiful place. Then on out to 180. Crossing straight across 180, take the first left through a gate. This will put you onto the old highway down to Eagar. Once you are back on 180 you can ride the ATV path alongside the highway--fun bumps!