I hit the San Tans again this week, the day after the big rains. I was back to explore the new singletrack I found last week.
At the Park entrance I spoke with a ranger and she gave me a new map of the park. The south side of the park has three newly designated trails: the Malpais trail, Hedgehog trail, and Rock Peak trail. She said they havenâ€™t officially opened yet, meaning there is no trailhead signage, but they do have trail markers and are open to hike, bike, and horse. The Hedgehog trail weâ€™ve been riding for a while now. It just the new name given to the second half of the singletrack that wraps around the mountain. The San Tan loop trail got an extra 2.7 miles added as well.
I headed back to finish off what I started on the Malpais trail. Just knowing the name of the trail made it less adventurous. Being less adventurous, there seemed to be more sandy spots as well. Good thing for all the rain it made the singletrack (sandy or not) nice to ride.
I still had to explore the section of trail from the boulders down to the big wash. It turned out to be good stuff. More technical than the other segments of the trail. It is a modest descent on various gradients of desert earth â€“ Loose stuff, sandy stuff, some granite, some hardpack. It didnâ€™t last long enough though before the fun ran right into an endless beach.
I walked the coastline for more than a half mile looking for signs of an escape route but to no avail. The scenic nature of the wash was amazing though. It follows near the base of the Malpais mountains which shoot right up in to the sky. The solitude, the scenery, the sandâ€¦ I made it as far as a fallen cactus strewn across the wash, then turned around to salvage the ride with the singletrack back to the San Tan trail.
I still have a couple more segments to ride along the new San Tan Trail, as well as the Rock Peak Trail. Although Rock Peak looks like itâ€™s going to be a beach. There are still a few other unmarked spurs that beg exploration out there. It looks like exploring the San Tans is going to be a longer adventure than I thought. Good thing I live close.
|From San Tan Malpais Trail|