For many the summer heat is unbearable, but for Ahwatukee Foothills mountain bikers it's not an excuse to slow down.
While getting up early or riding near sunset may be an OK option for some, it can be a good idea to just avoid the heat altogether. The Valley is hot but areas like Flagstaff, Pinetop and Prescott are much cooler. These cities outside the Valley are filled with trails that Ahwatukee riders say are worth the road trip.
"Flagstaff is one of the best riding areas in the Southwest to stay out of the heat," said Bob Ehlert, president of Gnar Gnar Tours LLC., which works with Cactus Bikes in Ahwatukee to provide day trips outside of the Valley for mountain bikers.
Ehlert suggests Shultz Creek Trail and Dry Lake Trail.
"You can ride up the Shultz Creek Trail and come back down or do a shuttle," he said.
The Dry Lake Trails are just on the other side of Shultz Creek Road for a longer ride. Shultz Creek and Dry Lake Trail are just some of the many trails on Mount Elden in Flagstaff.
Every Saturday and Sunday morning until Sept. 3 a shuttle leaves Cactus Bikes to head to Pinetop. During the summer the park allows mountain bikers to take the lift to the top of the mountain and ride a bike down.
"Especially now with the monsoon, it's nice and cool up there," Ehlert said. "It rains in the afternoon. It's a great escape from the weather up there."
The shuttle from Phoenix leaves at 6 a.m. Saturday and Sunday. Ehlert says Sunrise offers various trails for different levels but it may not be the best for beginners.
"For someone who's just getting into it, it probably wouldn't be the best but for someone who has been riding bikes for awhile and knows how to handle some wide open downhill trails it's nice," Ehlert said. "They have wide forest-road style trails with limited technicalities and then they also have some expert and advance trails up there."
Another option in Pinetop is the Pinetop-Lakeside Tracks. The tracks are a series of trails in the White Mountains maintained by volunteers. Their website, tracks-pinetop-lakeside.org, lists 23 trails that are open for hiking, mountain biking and horseback riding.
In Prescott Ehlert suggests trying Trail 305, just off Walker Road.
"It's about 7 miles one way up," he said. "You can come back and make it a 14-mile ride. It twists and winds and dips and dives through the pine trees up there at about 6,000 feet. That's a good beginner or intermediate trail for any type of mountain bike."
Free parking for this trail is available near the Ranch Trail 62 trailhead sign.
A final place for a good ride for beginners in Prescott is the Peavine Trail. It's a wider trail that can be handled by most bikes.
"That's more of an early morning or after a monsoon kind of ride because it's a little more wide open versus the cover of the high pines," Ehlert said.
The trail, which was originally built by the Sante Fe Railway, is just over 5 miles and offers views of Watson Lake and Granite Dells along the way.
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