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Ridge Trail is one of the Hawes System's staple trails because it seems to have something for everyone. From rocky, open face descents to steep single track climbs, this trail should not be taken lightly. Many people would suggest that before you try to tackle ridge, you should definitely have a few rides under your belt.
This trail begins with a slight downhill that is extremely rocky. You should take this part of the trail slowly if this is your first time as the right line to pick is sometimes hard to see. A mistake on this section could send you toppling off the side of the hill. If you are a seasoned rider however, this part of the trail can be done quickly as riding rocky sections faster can make up for poor line choice. Once the red rock is cleared you begin the ascent to the peak of Ridge Trail. This climb will hopefully cool down your body and relieve some of your tension from the section before it. At the summit the views of Tonto National Forest and Fountain hills are absolutely stunning. The trail then begins to slope down through tight single track. This part of the trail is less technical and caters to riders with a little less experience but, it can be made as difficult as you like. Not using your brakes through the turns and rock drops can even make a veteran rider cringe. The end of the downhill will be marked by a rutted out descent into a wash (be careful here after a long rain. The wash can turn into a river if there is water runoff this can make it hazardous to cross). On the other side of the wash lies the physically difficult part of the trail with some steep climbs back out to power road. Be prepared to gear down and stay in the saddle to keep traction on your back tire as this can be extremely slippery at times.
This trail is a favorite among the people who I frequently ride with. For improving your technical skill or your climbing ability Ridge is a great trail to practice on. Once you have mastered this try moving on the trails like Mine (also in the Hawes System) and Pass Mountain (Usery Mountain Park). If you are looking for adventure and an epic mountain biking experience, the Hawes Trails, particularly Ridge Trail, may be your answer. Remember to always bring a buddy, a spare tube, and a great attitude.
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