Terry Flat is a large meadow in the shadow of Escudilla Mountain, Arizona's third highest peak at nearly 11,000 feet. This is a very scenic and quiet ride on a little used forest road.
Once you depart the parking area that also serves as the Escudilla Wilderness Trailhead, you will likely have the trail to yourself. These high meadows offer a wonderfully scenic ride without any fierce climbs, making it great for riders of all levels.
Elk, mule deer, coyotes and black bear can be seen in this area occasionally. The bordering Escudilla Wilderness was home to Arizona's last grizzly bear as well. But don't worry; no grizzly bears have lived in Arizona since "Big Foot,"-the moniker for the last bear holding out on Escudilla-was shot in 1939. Aldo Leopold gives a famous account of the big bear on Escudilla in "A Sand County Almanac." Upon your ride's end, you can impress your friends with your story of riding through "Big Foot's" former territory.
Terry Flat Loop begins as the road forks to circle the large meadow of Terry Flat. Most riders start to the left. Watch for several spur trails that lead to scenic views off the plateau rim. These are great places to take a break for lunch, a rest, or just to take in the sights.
To add miles to your ride or to feel your lungs a little more, consider riding Forest Road (FR) 8056 from the highway. You'll be climbing 1,400 feet from the highway to the elevation of Terry Flat where you can ride the loop and then bomb your way back down FR 8056 to US 180/191. Be careful though, Escudilla is one of the most popular trails for hikers and there is likely going to be automotive traffic on the road. Be alert and especially cautious around curves where visibility is limited. Drivers are not always expecting to see a bicycle on the road.
Please note that all motorized use and mechanized transport (including mountain bikes) are prohibited anywhere within the Escudilla Wilderness, and on the Government Trail # 119 and Escudillla National Recreation Trail # 308.