AZ Needle Rock and Bartlett areas

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Day Trippin'' started by azredline, Feb 5, 2014.

  1. azredline

    azredline Wobbly Adventurer

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    Last weekend while everyone else went on big rides on little bikes, Reidy008 and I decided to have a little ride on big bikes.

    First stop was Needle Rock Park on the Verde River, just north of Fountain Hills.

    Verde River looking south

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    To see Needle Rock(s), you gotta go past the nice little picnic area to the big gravel lot. This is where the peeps go in the summer to splash around in the water.

    Looking north

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    From this parking area, a wash signed FR413 takes off northwest. If you don’t like sand riding, this is not the place for you. There was also more traffic on this trail than expected, so watch for oncoming quads, bikes and jeeps. A couple miles in, we stopped to talk to a patrolling ranger. He was a really nice guy and gave us the skinny on some of the area trails. The first of which peeled off the 413 and headed into a bit of a slot type canyon too narrow for a side by side, but ok for a quad and fun on a bike.

    FR404 takes off from FR413. Our ranger friend assured us this trail was open to motorized.

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    Subsequent signage warns of narrow canyons ahead, and shows off limits to motorized. We figured the ranger wouldn’t steer us wrong, so we went on. Looking back down the wash from where we came. He gave us his card, which we decided to treat as a “Get out of jail free” card. Luckily, we didn’t have to test it.

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    The trail ahead. Lots of deep sand. This is a lot of work! I keep hoping Reidy will surrender even though I know better. Worse still, he likes it!

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    Into the “Pinch” now. Here comes Reidy008 on the big girl.

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    The sand wasn’t as loose in here, which was good. Every now and then I’d get a little too close to a wall trying to keep the momentum up. Reidy is grinning inside his helmet.

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    This narrow spot is probably ¼ to ½ mile long or so. Really fun to ride through.

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    After the slot, time to peel off some layers as this is becoming more of a work out and we have a ways to go.

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    There was one gnarly uphill and two BIG downhills to deal with. At the top of the first hill, we talked to some quad riders who frequent the area. They said the trail ahead was too rocky for them and thus had never ventured any further than this hill. We decided to see if they were studley adventurers or sand weenies.

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    Our first impression was the trail was easy, not that many rocks, the quad guys were sand weenies. As I slid down the second big downhill toward the baby head rocked landing area with a corner in the middle of it, I thought maybe we had been quick to judge.

    Reidy had to kill the big twin and ease it down the hill as best he could letting the dead engine slow him down. I shoulda made a video of that, but I decided to stay out of the way at the bottom of the hill instead! Anyway, we made it down unscathed but I’m damn glad we didn’t have to try to go up that sucker.

    Just behind Reidy is the corner you slide into and the hill was up to the right side.

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    And back into the sand. At the bottom of the big hill, FR388 intersects. To the south, we could hook back into the 413, and to the north should hook up to Bartlett Dam Road.

    Northbound.

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    We got to Bartlett Dam Road, and wanted to look for the old trail that is soon to be re-opened that will connect up to Devils Hole. Our ranger friend had told us that this will soon re-open, and the signage confirms it.

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    FR532 is scheduled to re-open to motorized after several years of closure. (We should all thank our resident OHV guy, Jeff, who works on all this stuff in our behalf.)

    Opening soon!

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    Since we couldn’t take that one yet, we went on down to Bartlett Dam and explored the Riverside campground a little bit. Not much there, but it is close to the river and you get some nice views of Bartlett Dam and spillway.

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    From there, the stomach was starting to complain from lack of food, and with the long sand workout we figured lunch at Cave Creek sounded good. Buffalo Chip Saloon to the rescue.

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    We’ll have to plan an inauguration ride when 532 opens up. The signs said late winter of 2014, and it’s February now, so should be soon. Looking forward to it!
    #1
  2. cyberdos

    cyberdos Easy Bonus Loop

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    Count me in for the Inaugural ride. :clap
    #2
  3. Reidy008

    Reidy008 I,m in if we go fast

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    Great report as usual Steve. This was a great exploration ride in an area we new little of. For anyone wanting to work on their sand riding this is a great place to go to. We are looking at doing a big loop once the old area opens up that will take the route we did and then into the new area, under horseshoe and to sheeps bridge. Then depending on the group and time we will look at something interesting from there.

    Maybe Nighstalker or Yardstick can chime in on the trails we were on as I think they are part of the Wildcat area. Any idea?
    #3
  4. 2 SPOT

    2 SPOT wannabe

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    that 413 is camp creek i believe,,,, if it is ive taken that to and from wildcat a few times,,, sand it right.

    i always thought a place on the river at the end of indian springs wash where it hits FR42 was devils hole,,, but there is more than one of almost everything out there for names, so who knows.

    i'd have to look at my old maps, but i used to cross the verde about halfway between needle rock and bartlett to get on the east side of the river, from there you get a few options for bartlett, horshoe, sheep bridge and the beeline hwy.
    #4
  5. azredline

    azredline Wobbly Adventurer

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    Yes, 413 is Camp Creek. It is called a road, but really doesn't resemble one.

    I think Devils hole is at the N end of 42, but that 532 is kind of a cut across from closer to the 205 and Bartlett Dam road intersection. That is where I really wanted to go, but will have to wait til it opens up. The mountain bike sites say 532 is a tough 12mi out and back to Devils Hole. Looks too sandy to be a decent bicycle trail to me, but who knows.
    #5
  6. Bigbugberg

    Bigbugberg Meatbucket Supreme

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    I saw you guys leaving. I was behind you on my Guzzi 2up with my wife on Bartlett Lake road.

    Guzzi + 2up + sand = no good.
    #6
  7. azredline

    azredline Wobbly Adventurer

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    Yes, I think I recall seeing you coming out from a road to our right. I hope I waved, but if not, I meant to! Cool bike BTW.
    #7
  8. dstriffler

    dstriffler Been here awhile

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    The Africa Twin is my dream bike! How did you get one into the US?
    #8
  9. Reidy008

    Reidy008 I,m in if we go fast

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    A guy from Germany bought it in and I was lucky enough to get it after another guy got it a title and everything needed here in the US. They are kind of like Rocking Horse poo..... Not easy to find :rofl
    #9
  10. seabee1

    seabee1 we build, we fight

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    :clap thanks for the report. with everyone complaining about riding areas being closed down, it's great to see areas being opened.
    #10
  11. 2 SPOT

    2 SPOT wannabe

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    whiners and snivvelers suck, i am sad that some of my favorite places to go were closed, many have not re-opened, but i find new places.

    last i checked something like 30% more new stuff is opening or re-opening than what is being closed.
    #11
  12. Yardstick

    Yardstick Hydrophobic

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    Good stuff! I'm not sure where Wildcat officially begins and ends out there, but I think I know the slot canyon you guys were in. There are a couple of ways out of it.

    It will be neat to see the trails north of Bartlett Rd. again. I remember a few rides that went from Pima & Dynamite to well north of Bartlett Rd. mostly on singletrack.
    #12
  13. Slowred

    Slowred Been here awhile

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    I'm sure you don't get nearly enough "thank you's" Jeff. But we do appreciate your work on this! :clap
    #13
  14. Slowred

    Slowred Been here awhile

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    That slot canyon on 404 is a hoot! If you guys had continued on, the second steep downhill would have been quite the eyeopener on the bigger bikes! :eek1 :D

    Great RR!
    #14
  15. Reidy008

    Reidy008 I,m in if we go fast

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    Slowred we did continue on..... and the second hill was definately more challenging than the first. We were able to finish all the trails unlike our quad riding buddies who cautioned us to turn around it if got to tuff for us... what a bunch of girls. The pic that shows me coming down the hill is the first one, the second one Steve was just waiting to see if a big pile of bike and human came crashing to the bottom. He did say he wished he got some pics of that decent though.

    I was thinking this might be on the list for starting out a two day big bike trip that takes us up north. I know 4play, YBracing and Big E can't wait for some more sand riding...:D
    #15
  16. OldtimerTC

    OldtimerTC Been here awhile

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    Hey Reidy,

    This area is what I call "my back yard" and have ridden all those trails many many times. It is humbly called " The training loop " run. The best part about it is you can add additional segments in roughly 10 MILE increments , to stay out all day or just a few hours.

    Let me know next time you go out and I can show you the super secret back way to Bartlett road. ( it avoids the nasty uphill)

    I used to use 11 mile wash for deep sand training, until they opened the staging area at Needle rock and it became to dangerous to ride fast through there.

    I rode up that slot canyon once when there was 10-15 inches of water flowing down it. It was a BLAST !
    #16
  17. Slowred

    Slowred Been here awhile

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    #17
  18. red bud

    red bud alky w/motorcycle problem

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    :thumb
    #18
  19. Reidy008

    Reidy008 I,m in if we go fast

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    Holy Crap!!! You rode the AT down that second hill!!! :bow :eek1[/QUOTE]

    I got it down to the bottom without dropping it but. I don't think it was riding....:evil
    #19
  20. 4play

    4play Next?

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    I ain't skeered, the Ninja was not much fun in the bottomless stuff but the R2 likes it just fine.
    #20