South Mountain 620 Exploration

by Mike on March 18, 2010

I set out to explore the Ruins trail up to National and then down Mine drop, but as I got out on Gila I saw the two new trails being cut that will have access from the new 620 area. I just had to explore…

From Gila Trail Exploration
From Gila Trail Exploration

This new trail follows just off the existing ridgeline footpath, it’s fresh cut, a little loose, but is going to be an extremely fun climb, and fast descent. I rode it up to where one of the trail crews was working. They would not let me pass… The machine had gone through earlier and they were rocking the McLeod’s. This trail will continue west and hook up with National by April give or take.

From Gila Trail Exploration

On to the Ruins. Not a spectacular trail to get there but a must see at any rate. I know nothing about the history of this place, but it is cool to see. I had planned to HAB up the Ruin trail, to National, then drop down Mine Drop, but decided against it as my time was slipping away.

After the ruins I wanted to head to the Gila Saddle via the existing Gila trail. I’m not sure who built this trail, but it is well established, and narrow as all get out. True singletrack. It’s a great climb, and a fast flowy descent. See for yourself:

Heading out via the Gila trail, I came to the spur that will connect with the Gila View trail (aka marker 33). I rode up it for a quarter mile or so, there were crews working up on that as well, I knew they would not let me pass, so I didn’t plan to summit…yet, but I had to take a peak…

From Gila Trail Exploration
From Gila Trail Exploration

As soon as these trails are finished, this are will be a very sweet area to ride. Even without the new trails Gila trail is an awesome alternative to the crowds on DC and Telegraph Pass. New South Mountain Loops will abound incorporating the new trails…

The next week or so will be really good for wildflowers…get out and enjoy the green, yellow and purple while it lasts. Heat, brown, and sweat are coming all too soon….

From Gila Trail Exploration

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South Mountain » Blog Archive » The National Trail
April 24, 2010 at 10:50 am

{ 12 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Chris Cowan March 18, 2010 at 7:07 pm

I rode some of this trail a few months back when I was looking for an alternative to Desert Classic. I found it to be very interesting (in a good way). Like you said it’s really tight and a bit loose in some sections. I have a feeling this trail is going to be a very popular alternative to DC.

2 Mike March 18, 2010 at 7:09 pm

Yes It will be. Now that the 620 Trailhead and trails are going in people will no doubt find this trail while they are out meandering. We should hook up for a ride sometime. I don’t live too far from you.

3 brilog March 18, 2010 at 8:24 pm

I want to ride this 3-21-10. Some one has been changing the trails at SoMo. I want to hit this before it becomes “paved.” DC coast to coast is fun, but this might be better. Let me know when the next group ride is… Brian

4 db March 19, 2010 at 12:43 pm

I’m going to be in town 3/22/2010. How do I access the Gila trail. I was hoping to take DC to telegraph pass then come down National as well. I’m coming down from Co where it snowing today, and want to ride alot while I am in sunshine.

5 Mike March 19, 2010 at 1:16 pm

Brian. I can’t join you on the 21st, but any other day and I’d be up for it. A South Mountain Coast to Coast via DC and Gila would be an epic day on the bike!

6 Mike March 19, 2010 at 1:25 pm

db,

There are a couple of ways to access Gila. You can either park at the Desert Foothills lot and ride in. Access is behind the JW Kingdom Hall where Desert Foothills turns to 5th ave. See map: http://www.everytrail.com/view_trip.php?trip_id=535257

Or you can park near the unofficial TH at the north end of 19th Ave, and ride in from there. I recommend the 5th ave access point cuz the singletrack west of there is awesome.

7 Garvin March 19, 2010 at 1:32 pm

I may hit this trail this weekend. I was around that area a few weeks backing hiking the mine trails and figured it might be a fun trail to ride.

8 Carlos March 23, 2010 at 12:05 am

Hi Mike,

I believe the new trails you ran into are part of the project of a local group called VOAz Volunteers for Outdoor Arizona (http://www.voaz.org). I volunteer with the group and we gather groups of volunteers to help maintain trails and natural areas all over AZ. The new trail in South Mountain is a new effort which is still underway. If you want more details let me know or check out the web site and previous listing for the volunteer event:
http://www.voaz.org/viewevent.aspx?eventid=468

9 Kris March 28, 2010 at 6:59 am

Mike,
I rode the Gila trail yesterday and checked out the two newly cut trails. The Marker 33 trail appears to be done now, as there were both bikes and hikes coming down it. The other one (on the southernmost ridge line) is still under construction — the trail machine was up top where the work stopped. The wildflowers were in full bloom, especially in the hidden valley were the Gila trail connects up with National.

10 Mike April 3, 2010 at 1:28 pm

These trails are great additions for bikers and hikers. I mapped the new trail including a loop using Gila View (marker 33), National, Telegraph and Desert Foothills Parkway to create a great loop for hikers or bikers. Here is the trail information: http://www.mikeshikes.net/gila-ridge-loop-trail/

11 Chris Cowan April 9, 2010 at 4:52 pm

I rode this trail up close to the saddle today and totally got schooled. Tell me you had to hike-a-bike some of those steep loose sections.

12 Justin November 21, 2011 at 2:56 pm

GREAT NEWS. That ridiculous attempt to keep people from accessing Gila from the east side (off 5th Ave/Desert Foothills Pkwy) has been removed. This was posted on Facebook:
Just rode Gila with my buddy Matt C, and I’m happy to say that the large and very vocal group of trail-using residents have been successful in convincing the HOA board to open the Gila entrance back up. The rocks and concrete have been buldozed, and the trailhead is now open. Definitely a huge win for them, and the entire community of Ahwatukee trail users – way to go folks!

http://www.facebook.com/#!/groups/24284411075/

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