Mix in a few gnarly singletrack trails, a touch of Rim Country splendor and a dash of rhythm and blues and you have a recipe for a great weekend.
The first ever Rim Country Mountain Bike Festival will be June 11 through June 13, in conjunction with the Strawberry Valley Blues Festival.
“If you want to escape the summer heat, spend a weekend camping in the cool pines under the Mogollon Rim, while enjoying good music, good food, good beer and some of the sweetest singletrack you probably never knew existed, then don’t miss out,” said Mick Wolf, owner of Hike, Bike & Run and co-sponsor of the event.
Wolf said there will be rides for all skill levels with distances varying from an easy 12 miles to a skill-testing 40-mile loop.
The weekend kicks off Friday, June 11 with informal exploration of Payson, Strawberry, Pine and the Rim.
On Saturday, June 12, meet up with Wolf between 9 a.m. and 9:30 a.m., at the General Springs Cabin for a ride on the Cabin Loop trail system. From the cabin, riders can take one of three loop options, varying in distance and difficulty.
The short loop, out and back on the Fred Haught Trail, is 12 miles round trip. The standard loop is a difficult 20 miles and includes the Fred Haught Trail and back around to the cabin on Forest Road 300. The long loop, a difficult 30 to 40 miles of hiking and biking, starts on the Fred Haught Trail, connects with the U-Bar Trail, Barbershop Trail, Houston Brothers Trail and back to the cabin on FR 300.
To find General Springs Cabin, take Highway 87 north from Strawberry to Forest Road 300. Turn right (east) onto 300 and drive approximately 10 miles. Look for the white Hike, Bike & Run van. There is a war monument at the junction. The General Springs Cabin is about a half mile down the dirt road to the north.
“These rides are not mandatory group rides. We encourage folks to team up, but ride your own ride, know the route you will be riding in advance, be prepared and have fun,” Wolf said.
“This entire route is above 7,000 feet in elevation and the trail is remote, so be prepared for any trail problems and for any inclement weather.”
After Saturday’s ride, bikers can head back to Strawberry and enjoy the Blues Festival in Strawberry, approximately 2.5 miles down Fossil Creek Road.
Sunday’s ride begins between 9 a.m. and 9:30 a.m. in the Rim Lakes Recreation Area. Head east on Highway 260 roughly 30 miles to the top of the Rim. Take a left on FR 300 (heading toward Woods Canyon Lake) and park in the first parking lot on the right, where the Hike, Bike & Run van will be.
The shortest and easiest ride from there, 12-13 miles, is on the Rim Vista Loop to Woods Canyon Lake and then returns to the parking lot.
The medium loop, a 16- to 18-mile ride, also starts on the Rim Vista Trail then links with the Meadow Trail, Woods Canyon Lake Trail, around Woods Canyon Lake, back on Meadow Trail to the Rim Vista Trail and back to the parking lot.
The medium loop can be extended to 25 miles by going west on the Rim Vista Trail, riding to the Mogollon Campground then taking the General Crook Trail to the Carr Lake trailhead, riding the Boulder Hop Trail, then riding back to the parking lot.
The long loop, 30-35 miles, includes the extended medium route trails, but after the Boulder Hop Trail, riders take the Drew Trail and ride down the face of the Rim. Once down the Rim, riders will take the Highline Trail to See Canyon, then ride back to Christopher Creek where the Hike, Bike & Run van will shuttle riders back to the parking lot on the Rim.
“Over the course of the weekend, if you like the trails you ride, and can see the potential of Payson’s Rim Country as a mountain biking hot spot, please leave a donation,” Wolf said. “A 100 percent of donations will be given to the Black Mesa Ranger District for trail maintenance.”
Contact Wolf at Hike, Bike & Run, (928) 478-6918, or at email@example.com for more details.
Visit www.strawberryvalleyblues.com for more information on the Strawberry Valley Blues Festival.