Mountain Biking Gives New View

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Rocks and ruts, roots and grass lead mountain bikers to scenic views and challenging trails in and around Payson and the Rim Country.

The Boulders, Monument Peak, Horse Camp Trail and Crackerjack Mine are several trails that are popular with local enthusiasts.

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Many of the area's trails are for multiple use and are enjoyed by bikers, horsemen and hikers alike.

"Something for everyone and too much for some," states the map of the Boulders available at local bike shop and more, Manzanita Adventure Sports.

Half a mile after the pavement ends on Granite Dells Road is the beginning of an adventure.

"It is a beautiful ride," said Eric Moliter.

"You drop in on Cypress, then you drop down, then on the sharp turns on Granite you keep going and going until you run into the Boulders sign for north (straight). There is a good climb up. Immediately following that, it drops into a good descent down. It's a hard ride. I've gone over the (handle)bars. Everybody else I know who had gone over it has wrecked at least once. It isn't the speed with which you travel the downhill, it is more of a hold your brakes while you are sliding down a bit."

It is one long climb out on Granite Dells Road.

Moliter is 17 and has been hooked on mountain biking for three years.

Wayne Gorry is a competitive biker and has a terrific knowledge of good trails in the area.

"My favorite trail is Highline Trail between the 260 Trailhead and See Canyon," Gorry said. "It is technically very challenging, but beautiful too. It takes about two hours when your park at one trailhead and ride to the other and back."

The Highline Trail conditions include: dirt and rocky. There is a mix of fixed and loose rock.

"There are some places trail is nothing but rock," Gorry said. "There are places where you have to step your wheels up over ledges of rock and roots and things like that. The trail climbs and descends from canyon to canyon before it gets up on the Rim."

Another favorite ride of Gorry's: riding with a child over the Crackerjack Mine Road for the first time.

"The beginning part of it is fairly smooth and the grades aren't real steep," he said.

Gorry took his son on the trail for the first time when the boy was only 8, and he was able to handle it.

The Crackerjack MIne Road is good for beginning adult riders too, Gorry said.

"If you want to, you can ride it all the way to the East Verde River, and there are some extremely challenging spots past the mine itself. The nice thing about it is you can turn around, or make it a three-hour ride or more."

Gorry has been mountain biking since 1980 and just won the National Mountain Bike Marathon Championship for the second year.

Around town, there are some nice road biking opportunities, he said. They include Tyler Parkway and Highway 87 from Payson to Round Valley.

"There is so much good riding around here," Gorry said, "Any direction you go from Payson, you'll find just great trails."

He's encountered ATVs sharing the trails. "They are paying attention, and so am I, so we yield to each other and there's never been a problem."

There is an 18-mile loop around town that is popular with area mountain bikers, he said. It winds through the community and avoids most of the traffic by going through neighborhoods that are quiet.

For more information about biking in the Rim Country, stop at Manzanita Adventure Sports, located behind Woody's service station at the corner of West Bonita Street and the Beeline.

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