Guest Trail Review and photos by Vegan Bastard (AKA: Brian)
Papago Park Mountain biking can have a bad reputation… but it also has great climbs, rad descents, technical sections, fun obstacles and you can put together as little or as many miles and as much climbing as you are feeling. The map of Papago on here does not show the south side of Papago Park including the bike park, the sections just north and south of Curry and other trails here and there throughout the park.
The climbs: There are a mix of loose steep climbs, technical climbs (including a challenging large amphitheater stair climb) and also some smaller faster rolling climbs. Papago can help you prepare for most other trail climbs. Down side, no prolonged climbs.
Descents: Papago has a mixture of rolling and fast descents, embedded rock sections, loose sketchy descents and areas of chunky stuff (south of Curry, by the hole in the rock, the small butte next to the golf course and many other random places).
Technical sections: Many of the climbs and descents have small technical sections in them. There is also a bike park south of Hunt’s Tomb that has a fast run through it, various jumps and some steep chunky descents where you can create your own lines.
Fun obstacles: The aforementioned bike park can be a lot of fun with climbing, descending, jumping and fast lines that make you feel like a rock star. Stair climbs, larger red rock sketchy climbs and descents (you gotta find them, they are there) and random jumps throughout the park.
Random stuff: You may find abandoned homeless shanty towns, active homeless shanty towns, random clothing artifacts (i.e. Sports bras, pants, shirts, etc. ) and at various times and locations you may have a group of people cheering you on. You will likely have the trails to yourself because of the generally few numbers of hikers and other riders. If you can, go with a Papago local who can show you all the funnest stuff and the secret areas. There are restrooms and at least two water fountains for water refills. If you are creative you can put together a 20-30 miler and 1000-2500 feet of climbing with minimal re-riding of trails. You also tie in some road riding if you like to mix it up with adding in Camelback area hills.
In closing, if you go to Papago Park with a open and creative mind you can make a banging ride out of it.
Papago Park Trail Map and Descriptions – City of Phoenix
12 Hours in the Papago Course (Next race: January 7, 2017)