Research implied that the Houston Mesa area in Payson might be worth riding… I got out there last weekend and hit the Shoofly loop, the more difficult of the two loops out there.
First, not impressed with the trails. I knew they were multi-use trails (ATV included), but I thought there would be at least a bit of singletrack. None on the Shoofly Loop. I was so unimpressed with it that I doubt I’ll return to ride the classic Houston Mesa Loop.
Any locals ride these trails often? I saw plenty of tire tread on the trail. Shoofly did offer a challenging climb. Even though it was wide it was rocky, technical and steep. Three ingredients for fun. And it kept going up. I cleaned the big hill, just barely. Towards the top I got bumped off line and went squirrelly trying to stay balanced without dabbing. Somehow I made it through (good thing for me the trail was so wide).
The trail signs are old and shot through, so it was tough to keep to the real trail. There were a few other jeep roads that joined in and cut through the trail. If I wasn’t following someone else’s GPS tracks I would have wasted a ton of energy just route finding.
Time faded on me quickly and when I lost the trail on top before the big decent, I decided to just hit the road back to the TH. I’ll have to give Houston Mesa a fair shake sometime, but all in all, it’s the last trail on my list. If I’m driving all the way to Payson, I’ll head up the rim and find bliss on the Highline.