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Help me plan my AZ road trip, (newb)

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TrailJumper
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Help me plan my AZ road trip, (newb)

Postby TrailJumper » Feb 11 2014 12:15 pm

Great website! I was directed here to find info. Never seen such an interactive map like this site has. Very cool!

I'm flying into Phoenix and renting an SUV for the week, starting from early morning March 1st. I have to be back in Scottsdale by March 6th, late afternoon. That leaves me 5-1/2 full days of solo adventure.

I have generally never been to AZ, minus Flagstaff a few times, (when I lived in Vegas). I LOVE mountain biking, and plan on renting where/when ever I feel. Day hiking is cool too, but I'd rather MTB. I like technical single track that challenges you back. Full suspension 6" travel bike stuff, etc.... I also dig old desert towns, ancient ruins, and breweries. I'd like to camp most of the way, but ponying up for a room isn't out of the question.

I'm from Chicago, and it's been the longest, coldest winter I've ever experienced, (about 3-1/2 months of sub-zero weather). So, sunny warm spots are preferred, but warm would be like 50 deg's at this point.

I've never been to Sedona and would love to MTB there. I like the idea of Bissbee, but I'm generally just willing to go with it, and road trip. Would like to hit up breweries, and some secluded camping spots. I meeting my gf back in Scottsdale on the 6th, and starting off in Phoenix.

Where should I go?

Keep in mind, if you use nicknames or shortened forms of locations, such as mountains or regions. I wont know what you're talking about, or will be able to search those locations on a map.

THANKS!

Chris

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kingsnake
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Re: Help me plan my AZ road trip, (newb)

Postby kingsnake » Feb 11 2014 12:24 pm

Look up SAMBA -- he loves doing bike & brew tours in Tucson ... :D
http://prestonm.com : Everyone's enjoyment of the outdoors is different and should be equally honored.

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paulhubbard
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Re: Help me plan my AZ road trip, (newb)

Postby paulhubbard » Feb 11 2014 1:08 pm

Sedona/Oak Creek would be my vote. Tons of beautiful trails that are mountain bike friendly. Probably enough around the Schnebly Hill area to keep you busy for a couple days!

P.S., my avatar is taken from the Brins Mesa trail that starts in Sedona.
Good judgement comes from experience. Experience comes from bad judgement.

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TrailJumper
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Re: Help me plan my AZ road trip, (newb)

Postby TrailJumper » Feb 11 2014 2:43 pm

Thanks for the info. Keep'em coming.

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chumley
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Re: Help me plan my AZ road trip, (newb)

Postby chumley » Feb 11 2014 3:11 pm

Hey Chris, :welcome:

Early March can be tricky with weather here, as it might be in the 90s in the desert, or it could be in the 50s and raining, with snow in places like Sedona and Flagstaff. So whatever you do, make a backup plan in case you encounter unplanned weather conditions (you will have a pretty good idea of the forecast a couple of days before you actually get here).

I'm sure there are others on here who can give you some real suggestions to follow, but I will suggest that you pick up one of the best mountain biking guides for Arizona:
http://www.amazon.com/Fat-Tire-Tales-Tr ... ikearizona
It's a fun read, illustrated, descriptions, maps, etc.

Keep in mind that many hiking trails are also suitable for mountain biking, but there are quite a few wilderness areas here as well (where bikes are prohibited) ... including a large swath in the Sedona area.

I haven't been mountain biking for real in years, so I hesitate giving you any specific suggestions. I suspect somebody else will chime in.

As for breweries, there's a thread worth reading here: viewtopic.php?f=19&t=6124
The gorillas are Four Peaks (go to the Tempe 8th St location for the classic) and San Tan in Chandler.
Smaller noobs that you must visit are Fate and AZWilderness. There are others if you have the time. Tucson and Flagstaff have their fair share of good breweries too. The lone option in the Payson area is THAT Brewery in Pine, which is near some possible biking options.

Good luck, and we'd love to hear about your adventures via photos and triplogs posted when you're done! :)
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Nighthiker
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Re: Help me plan my AZ road trip, (newb)

Postby Nighthiker » Feb 11 2014 5:18 pm

In the Phoenix Area, McDowell Mtn. County Park (Maricopa County Park) has numerous mtn. biking trails. It is located North of Fountain Hills.
Lime Kiln trail out of Dead Horse State Park in Cottonwood, Arizona
The Bike and Bean has a lot of info on mtn. biking the Sedona area and you can rent bikes as well.
If you are renting a vehicle for you trip also have a plan on transporting your bicycle and you may also get quite grubby so plan on a way to clean up post ride.
Members of my bicycle club rode the Hennepin Canal (I grew up alongside it in Cleveland in the early 60's) to Rock Island last summer.
Enjoy your visit.
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joebartels
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Re: Help me plan my AZ road trip, (newb)

Postby joebartels » Feb 11 2014 5:21 pm

Payson, Sedona, Flagstaff & Prescott offer great base camp opportunities. If you choose Sedona your base camp will probably be a motel. Before dabbling in hiking I mountain biked around these towns religiously in the early 90's. Payson was my favorite.

TrailJumper wrote:I'd like to camp most of the way

Highline Trail #31 would keep you busy for several days and you can camp all along #31. It's fun and offers up several access points. The eastern end is considered the best single track mountain biking in Arizona. April would be better but should be well within your 50 degree thought of warm. The eastern end elevation is in the 6,000-6,500 range. It could get snow in the next month. Currently we are experiencing higher than average temperature. It's in the mid 60's there this week for instance.

AZT 5, 6 & 7 are more in season for early March
http://hikearizona.com/map.php?X=49
for that it would be best to get more info at
http://www.aztrail.org/mtn_bikers/mtn_bikers.php
Hike Arizona it ROCKS!

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Re: Help me plan my AZ road trip, (newb)

Postby joebartels » Feb 11 2014 5:32 pm

I couldn't recommend Phoenix as a destination...
if you travel through and want some lively fun, mountain biking the National is a must do IMO

http://hikearizona.com/photo=54406
Hike Arizona it ROCKS!

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Re: Help me plan my AZ road trip, (newb)

Postby kingsnake » Feb 11 2014 6:06 pm

Speaking of places to stay in Sedona, I've stayed at the Matterhorn Inn several times. It's a decent place, not expensive, not noisy, with parking, safe and near shops & restaurants. (And *right* next door to the jerky store! :y: )
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Re: Help me plan my AZ road trip, (newb)

Postby TrailJumper » Feb 12 2014 9:26 am

Great info! I found The Red Rock Lodge and La Vista Motel for about $60-$70 a night. Seems very close to town. No frills, but who cares.

I think I've got a sort of loop planned. I'll post below, and let anyone comment.

Northern Loop:

Phoenix (head north bound)
Hit Table Mesa and Black Canyon for some MTB'ing. Possibly camp for the night.
Hit Montezuma Castle and head north to Sedona. Hang there a ride for a day or 2.
Head to Jerome and check it out, circle through Prescott and head back towards Phoenix.

Southern Loop:

Head towards Tuscon
Saguaro National Park and Old Tuscon Studios
St Augustine Cathedral, Nimbus and or Barrio Breweries
Mission San Xavier del Bac
Head towards Bisbee
Kartchner Caverns State Park
Bisbee

I might save some of the Phoenix area stuff for Thursday-Saturday with gf and fam. McDowell Mountain/Superstitions/St. Mary's Basilica/South Mountain

Although after typing all this out, I realize this can't be done in 5-1/2 days. At least not without sticking to a tight schedule, which I don't like doing.

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Re: Help me plan my AZ road trip, (newb)

Postby Jim_H » Feb 12 2014 9:42 am

I would slow down and soak more of it in. I am concluding a trip that went too fast, went too far, attempted and failed at too much, and was too expensive as a result. Personally, I would pick 1 location, and stick close-by and then take a day trip from there if I got tired of the local action. Days are still short, and unless you like racing around, doing all that in 5 days might take the fun out of it. You might consider Tucson, or Sedona alone, or cut out the periphery stuff around Tucson and Sedona.

Watch the weather, too. This year, since late December actually, has been very dry and there have been virtually no storms, and they have been drier when they did affect the state, but March could have a snow and rain event. In that case, Tucson is less likely to get the brunt of a storm that take a traditional trajectory, or it may get the better part of a storm if it takes the bizarre trajectories some have over the last year; coming in from the southwest and the Baja Peninsula while missing California, and bringing up moisture with them.

Then again, I'm just wishing I had planned a better more relaxed trip instead of seeing where I went, and so I am freely dispensing advice that suits me well.

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Re: Help me plan my AZ road trip, (newb)

Postby TrailJumper » Feb 12 2014 9:51 am

10-4. I was thinking just that.

Let the weather decide which direction to head.

My gf's mom is a snowbird, and lives in Scottsdale during the winter. I plan on taking full advantage. Whatever I miss this time, I will hit next.

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Re: Help me plan my AZ road trip, (newb)

Postby KwaiChang » Feb 12 2014 10:13 am

joe bartels wrote:....... Before dabbling in hiking ......


Says the man with 2,200 trip logs!!! :o
Last edited by KwaiChang on Feb 13 2014 10:44 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Help me plan my AZ road trip, (newb)

Postby gummo » Feb 12 2014 11:58 am

TrailJumper wrote:Great info! I found The Red Rock Lodge and La Vista Motel for about $60-$70 a night. Seems very close to town. No frills, but who cares.

I think I've got a sort of loop planned. I'll post below, and let anyone comment.

Northern Loop:

Phoenix (head north bound)
Hit Table Mesa and Black Canyon for some MTB'ing. Possibly camp for the night.
Hit Montezuma Castle and head north to Sedona. Hang there a ride for a day or 2.
Head to Jerome and check it out, circle through Prescott and head back towards Phoenix.

Southern Loop:

Head towards Tuscon
Saguaro National Park and Old Tuscon Studios
St Augustine Cathedral, Nimbus and or Barrio Breweries
Mission San Xavier del Bac
Head towards Bisbee
Kartchner Caverns State Park
Bisbee

I might save some of the Phoenix area stuff for Thursday-Saturday with gf and fam. McDowell Mountain/Superstitions/St. Mary's Basilica/South Mountain

Although after typing all this out, I realize this can't be done in 5-1/2 days. At least not without sticking to a tight schedule, which I don't like doing.


Holy wow, that's a lot in 5.5 days. I would choose either going north or south, but not both. Less driving = more fun. I like southern AZ better, and if you hit Southern AZ, you should hit Picacho Park State Park. Tombstone is a cool place to hit too, if you like wild west stories and cowboy stuff. I'm not sure why you'd want to hit Bisbee tho. I didn't seem like a place that people would visit.

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Re: Help me plan my AZ road trip, (newb)

Postby azbackpackr » Feb 12 2014 6:28 pm

On the other hand, I find Tombstone boring (all that Western stuff is very overdone) and Bisbee fascinating, so it's whatever floats your boat. Bisbee is an artsy place, lots of galleries and restaurants, a really beautiful town, lovely old buildings, and there is a wonderful train ride into the old Queen Mine. You have to put on raincoats and hard hats, and miner's lamps and you straddle a seat like riding a horse and they take you about a mile into the earth, and they show you all sorts of neat rocks, and at one point they turn off all the lights. Very fun! Bisbee has a "motel" where the rooms are vintage travel trailers that are all fixed up. It has a number of interesting old hotels, including the Copper Queen. I think it is more interesting than Jerome, which is sort of a similar old mining town.

But I do like Jerome. Jerome has supposedly haunted hotels and my husband said he saw a ghost one time when we stayed at Milehigh Inn (and grill) in Jerome. The cheap rooms there with bath down the hall are $85. The bath down the hall is quaint and very clean. The whole place is gorgeous.

I also think the town of Sedona is deadly boring, really fake and pretentious, but the scenery there is great. Nice hikes around there, so I'm sure some good MTB rides, too. Little Daisy Motel in Cottonwood is fairly cheap, family-owned place. $56 plus tax. No breakfast, though.

If you go to Tucson (note spelling) you might enjoy learning about Sonoran Desert by visiting Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum, which is an outdoor live animal and botanical park, sort of like a zoo, but with only the plants and animals of the Sonoran Desert. The Catalina Mountains (Mount Lemmon) also very wonderful.
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Re: Help me plan my AZ road trip, (newb)

Postby te_wa » Feb 12 2014 8:06 pm

ive wanted to finish a loop involving phx thru payson, across the rim road (300) and down young-heber 'hiway' thru the sierra ancha. back down thru globe with a dinner afterwards at guayo's el ray. camping for 2-3 nights, of course.

btw, bisbee is a cool little place. old bisbee roasters for REAL coffee.. old bisbee brewing, beast brewing, and what the hell.. Doug Stanhope lives there.
:D

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Re: Help me plan my AZ road trip, (newb)

Postby PatrickL » Feb 12 2014 10:49 pm

te-wa wrote:Doug Stanhope lives there.

If this doesn't convince TrailJumper, I don't know what will.

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Re: Help me plan my AZ road trip, (newb)

Postby cactuscat » Feb 13 2014 2:44 pm

I second the AZ Sonoran Desert Museum near Tucson and the mine tour in Bisbee ... and if you hit Jerome, don't miss the glass-blowing demonstration.
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Re: Help me plan my AZ road trip, (newb)

Postby Dave1 » Feb 13 2014 3:06 pm

azbackpackr wrote: I find Tombstone boring (all that Western stuff is very overdone) and Bisbee fascinating

+1 Tombstone is the southwest's Plymouth Rock! Bisbee and Jerome are cool, though.

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Re: Help me plan my AZ road trip, (newb)

Postby TrailJumper » Feb 14 2014 10:06 am

I wasn't too sure about Tombstone. Kind got the feeling it was just a tourist trap now days. Cotton candy, salt water taffy, popcorn, camel chocolate shops and such. Street shoot out reenactments on the hour.


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