(Don’t mistake this for the original Fantasy Island trail in Tucson.)
The anticipation of a new ride…you search the internet, MTBR trail review, the forums, and MTB Joe’s personal site looking for info about the new trail. I heard about F.I.N.S. after reading about a group ride on MTBAZ.net, aka: Kristi’s rides. That’s where my fascination with FINS began.
Living on the east side, I don’t get many chances to head out west to ride so it took a few months for the opportunity to partake of the new singletrack. I set out for an evening ride armed with a couple of maps, a Google Earth layout of the land, 100 oz. in the HAWG and the quest for adventure.
First impressions. These trails are loads of fun. I rode for 13 miles, cruising through nearly the entire system. The north/east loops are fast, with moderate climbs and lots of twisting and turning. They are all fairly short and you can ride them up and down all you want. I especially liked Harv’s Howl, Hurt’s Donut, and Boneyard.
For me the best of FINS though is Grunt trail and the new section that traverses the length of the mountain up to Jim’s Ascent. Definitely the most technical riding on the Island with some decent exposure and climbing to satisfy the uphiller in me.
Bottom line: FINS is an XC riders paradise. If your tastes are more geared for National, Mormon, Geronimo, Holbert, Corona Loma, you won’t find much challenge on FINS but you surely could have fun. If you’re a weekend warrior and frequent Hawes, Usery, Casa Grande Mountain, or the race loops at McDowell, FINS is for you.
FINS is built on private land in the Estrella Mountain Ranch development. There have been a lot of questions about its legality the past few years. Although it’s not an official trail system, I’ve never heard of any trouble with the land owners. There is no doubt the land will be developed soon. How soon? I saw flags marking new lots out near the north/east loops. If I were you I’d get out and ride FINS before the bikers are booted off the Island. Developers are there, the land is parceled, flags are drawn. It’s very likely that these trails will be gone or at least shortened soon and some awesome riding will be history. My advice: Ride ’em while you got ’em!
Thanks to Harv and all the other locals who built the system. They group ride on Thursday evenings if you want a grand tour of this Island paradise. If you’re going to ride solo Harv suggests parking at Westar Elementary School and riding to trailhead about 1/2 mile. Left turn off the sidewalk where the left turn lane turns in to a roadblock. See Picasa photo album for a shot of the TH.