Plaque at the alleged UFO crash site on the Alien Run trail in remote northwest New Mexico

A gorgeous rimrock ride awaits those who venture into remote NW New Mexico to ride the Alien Run trail (photo: Fatbike1)

Early in my career as an Air Force officer, I received some very useful advice. My colonel told me, “Lieutenant, don’t just bring me a problem, bring me a solution as well.” This wise philosophy applies to just about everything in life. Yesterday, I told you about 10 trails that are grossly overrated and worthy of you keeping your expectations in check should you still bother to seek them out. In the interest of providing other solutions, today I will tell you about alternatives you may wish to seek out should you be looking for a hidden gem rather than an overworked old horse.

Granite Basin, Prescott, AZ

Miniskibum aims for a small creek crossing in the Granite Basin network above Prescott, AZ

Miniskibum aims for a small creek crossing in the Granite Basin network above Prescott, AZ

Arizona has no shortage of great mountain biking destinations.  Most mountain bikers have heard of the glories of Sedona, the many offerings around Phoenix, the year-round riding around Tucson, and the cool mountains of Flagstaff. Meanwhile, equally well endowed Prescott seems to get slighted time after time. The quantity, quality, and variety of singletrack surrounding this unfairly neglected destination is actually quite astounding.

Among the many offerings is the Granite Basin trail network, a gorgeous intermediate paradise of trails looping through scenic forests and rock formations. A confident novice can come here and have a marvelous time while a hammerhead can put on some mileage in the most pleasant of surroundings, and both will love the topography. This is the perfect introduction to riding the paths less traveled in northern Arizona.

# Comments

  • mongwolf

    Agate Creek, Fancy Creek and Granite Basin are all potentially “on the way” for me in my various travels. Looking forward to checking them off the wish list someday. I hope to make a trip to South Dakota someday and do the Centennial Trail and now Rimrock/Little Spearfish.

  • Michael Paul

    I disagree John. Agate Creek is quite possibly the worst descent off of the MCT. The initial descent is a blast–arguably one of the best 5 minutes of my life…followed by a boring, lifeless ride just to get out of there 🙂 I know why some people like it, but I think Greens and Fooses are far better, easier to shuttle, and more scenic. Just my humble opinion.

    • John Fisch

      Certainly understandable. I enjoy all the creek crossings as well as the top section. That last little climb to get back to the road does take some of the fun out of it.

      And yes, Greens is my fave, but the cat’s already out of the bag on that one. Part of the joy of Agate is it’s also the one descent you’re likely to have to yourself.

  • Zoso

    I’m with you full bore on Rockstacker! LOVE that trail!
    But over 1/2 of everyone I’ve taken on it won’t do it again. I think it’s because they think it’s gonna be a DH and they get worked on it.
    I love that I’ve cleared everything on it, but never on the same ride–there’s always a challenge there.

    • John Fisch

      Yeah, that’s the thing–no one obstacle is too tough, but stringing them all together into a single continuous, clean ride is!


    Good call on the Black Hills region of SD. Definitely highly overlooked, and close to the same distance from Minneapolis as some of the better riding in Michigan’s UP.

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