The Trail Overview
Nestled near Phoenix, Arizona, the Table Mesa Trail Head offers a unique cycling experience for adventurers looking to delve into the desert landscape. This trail stretches over 62 miles and offers both shorter segments, like the 1.5 mile (N) out on the Black Canyon Trail, and longer, more challenging parts like the 6.5-mile Little Pan Loop.
- From The 101 and I17 stack, head North on I17 to exit 236 Table Mesa Rd - a journey of 21.5 miles.
- Take a left turn, crossing I17 (approximately 0.1 mile) and subsequently turn right onto Table Mesa Rd (covering 3.0 miles).
- A right-hand turn awaits after about 0.1 miles, leading to a trail head marker set against a dirt parking area. The precise location coordinates: +33° 59' 4.56", -112° 10' 3.78".
The trail's most distinguishing feature is its unique Arizona cross-country design - devoid of aerobic challenges or technical terrains, but instead, serving pure pedal-thrashing fun. Notable aspects include:
- Terrain and Flow: Many cyclists commend the long downhills offering good flow, occasionally spiced up with technical sections.
- Signage: The overall trail boasts adequate signage, making it quite navigable. Though individual segments might not be labeled, the path remains discernible.
- Scenic Beauty: The trail boasts great views of the Arizona mountains and desert landscape, providing a visually refreshing ride.
Key Advice from Fellow Cyclists
- Preparation: For those unfamiliar with Arizona terrains, GPS is a must due to the numerous branching paths and off-road vehicle trails.
- Safety Gear: Considering the abundance of cacti, carrying a comb for needle removal and extra tubes (especially slime tubes) is advised. For protection against cactus and branches, wearing long sleeves and leg armor is highly recommended.
- Hydration: Water is essential, with some riders using up to 3L on their journey. Make sure to pack more than anticipated.
- Wildlife: If visiting in March, brushing up on rattlesnake knowledge could be useful. Several riders reported close encounters with the reptiles.
Recommendations and Feedback
A significant portion of riders suggest skipping the Little Pan Loop, given its overgrown state. However, many applaud the main Black Canyon Trail for its design, flow, and scenic beauty. One can't complete their journey without stopping at Rock Springs Cafe, where an indulgent piece of Jack Daniels pecan pie awaits as a post-ride treat.A few found the turns tight, and while the trail has its admirers, it's crucial to remember its challenging nature, especially for newcomers. Hence, its difficulty level is aptly marked as 'Difficult'. Some riders even dubbed it as the best trail south of Sedona.
Table Mesa and the Black Canyon Trail undoubtedly offer a quintessential Arizona biking experience. While it presents its set of challenges, the scenic rewards, coupled with the exhilarating rides, make it a must-visit loop for every biking enthusiast. Just be well-prepared, and the desert will offer an unforgettable journey.