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Yesterday I was in the north part of the valley for a family party. I brought my bike seeing that the McDowell Sonoran Preserve was only a mile away. I’ve heard a few things about Lost Dog Wash and Sunrise Trail up there and thought I’d just sneak away for an hour to go explore.
I drove out to the Lost Dog Wash Trailhead on 124th Street just north of Via Linda. I was pretty excited to see a new trail. I love riding my favorites (Hawes, National, McDowell Race Loops) but there is just something about a new trail that puts the adventure back in riding. One of the funnest parts of riding is rounding a corner to see some daunting obstacle, a tech climb or a sequence of boulders to navigate. Not to mention the new cactus dangers. I’m so familiar with all the “danger spots” on my usual rides that I hardly notice them anymore, I just hug the trail on the safety side.
Lost Dog proved to be a nice ride. Nothing too technical, most of the trail is a forgiving cross country double track with a twist of singletrack thrown in the mix. I did a quick out-n-back past the Taliesin Lookout down the rocky quad road to the Quarts Trail fork just east of the Taliesin trail.
Saturday afternoon isn’t the best time to ride this area unless you enjoy getting lots of practice perfecting your trail etiquette. Lately, I’ve been making it a point to dismount and surrender the trail to the hikers. I’ve had hikers tell me that I’m the first mountain biker they’ve seen do that. It’s tough to do when hikers most all the time sidestep off the trail when they see me approach. I’m sure it’s just a survival instinct hikers have developed over the years from unyielding bikers. It’s really easy to just keep riding on past by them since they’re off the trail anyway. Let me tell you it sure makes hikers happy when I hop off the bike and wave them on through. It makes me happy too. Good trail karma. It does cut into the rythm of the ride after a handful of dismounts though… I just need to ride at a more MTbiker friendly time if I want to keep pace.
It’ll be nice to do some more exploring out there. Still have to ride Sunrise, Ringtail, Quartz, Taliesin, Paradise, Bell Pass, Dixie Mine, and Windgate Pass. Phoenix mountain biker Dale Wiggins has GPS mapped the trails and made a sweet TOPO you can download from his website.
This 5 mile out-n-back is not a “must ride” in Phoenix, it was fun to explore but too far from home and not challenging enough to make it one of my regular rides. If I lived closer it would be a fine trail to ride every day to keep in shape.