Potter Creek below Scotts Tank
I am sure you all have been wondering, when is Jay going to post more ride locations and more mountain biking? The answer is now. In the last week of travel I was fortunate enough to ride in two great areas.
White Mountains Trail System, Pinetop, Arizona
The first was on the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest, very near Pine Top AZ in the scenic White Mountains. I was able to start riding in the morning from our camp site off of the 187 Forest Service Road near Trailhead #1. Here I picked up the Blue Ridge Trail and immediately started climbing. It’s a tough climb due to the elevation but its not horrifically steep, loose or rocky. The trail then proceeds to roll up and down and then head down to the connector for Scott Reservoir.
The descent to the connector for the reservoir is very nice. Some of it is smooth, fast and flowing and other parts are somewhat rocky, with a few large rock gardens. This is really the highlight of the ride. I was certainly grinning. After picking up the connector I followed the “Ice Cave Trail”. The ice cave is not actually icy at all, its really a lava tube.
The lava tube shot close up from inside the gate
The trail to the cave was a little bit more technical. From the cave trail I ended up on another trail that led out to a trailhead by the Blue Ridge High School. From here I wasn’t really certain about where to go to make a loop or pick up a different set of trails back to trailhead #1, so I just rode back the same way. It was on the way back that I finally spotted the cave.
View of White Sands from Rim Trail
Rim Trail, Cloudcroft, New Mexico
Cloudcroft, New Mexico is a well kept secret. A small mountain town in the heart of the Lincoln National Forest with lots to offer. Previously on our trip we drove over the pass and went through Cloudcroft on the way to Alamogordo and White Sands National Monument. The whole drive I was exclaiming, “We have to come back so I can ride that!” every time the car rounded a corner. Did it live up to this? I say, YES.
We arrived in Cloudcroft late in the afternoon and we were checking out the town, when Sharon spotted a lady loading a bike back into her car who had clearly just finished up a ride. We began chatting, and discovered that she had just pre ridden the race course in Cloudcroft, but recommended a different trail nearby. Her name was Liz and she filled us in on the Rim Trail. Soon we were heading down the Sunspot Scenic Byway in search of a campsite near the Rim Trail trailhead. We made camp on the 64B road just past the trailhead at a very nice spot amongst the Aspen and Spruce trees.
Camp near Sunspot scenic byway
The next morning, after having breakfast and breaking down camp we hit the trail. The Rim Trail offered up outstanding scenery and views as it snaked its way up and down along the ridge line. Some of it was rocky and root covered and some of it was smooth with rolling grade dips that made for big air when heading down. The views of the White Sands National Monument in the valley below were great. It was also nice that the aspen trees were just starting to get little green leafs in most places. Much to my surprise, I didn’t see another soul on my ride. The rim trail alone is probably worth the trip up the mountain pass to Cloudcroft. I hope to return soon to tackle some of the dozens of other trails in the area.