A challenging climb into the Franklin Mountains, followed by a long descent through technical trails and flowing singletrack, finished with a fun, sandy ride back to the start. Bring water and spare tubes.
This loop is within the State Park fee area. $5 for day use or a $70 annual pass will ensure you are supporting this great trail system.
Enter the trailhead at Chuck Heinrich Memorial Park and start climbing Old Tin Mine Road
. This rocky route feels never ending but keep climbing past all the turnoffs and head up into the mountains. When the trail finally comes to a T intersection with Mundy's Gap East
on the left and Scenic Drive
on the right, turn right and head north along the mountain.
This starts a bit of downhill but don't let up yet. Scenic Drive
still has some uphill left before you're out of the woods. This trail is a mix of overgrown jeep trail and singletrack with absolutely spectacular views. The final climb ends at a beautiful bend with an outcropping and overlook with sotol and ocotillo.
Round the corner and begin the downhill, with some short, rocky drops. The trail is wide enough where the risk of falling isn't too great but do use caution for this section. As the red earth section of the trail ends, you'll bust out on a very rocky straight descent that will test your suspension and body. Ride this until the marked turnoff on the left for Sotol Forest
. There's a wooden sign and it's impossible to miss.
Navigate the super technical Sotol Forest
as it winds through rocky valleys and desert plants. This is one of the most lush parts of the Franklin Mountains and can even showoff some rare desert green during the monsoon season. The rocks on this trail can chip away at your pedals if you're not careful.
After finishing the rocky sections, you'll come to the turnoff with Boulder Dash
, but keep heading a bit further down the trail until you come to a rocky drop and then sandy intersection that leads into Coyote Ugly
This starts the super fun and fast singletrack downhill that is Coyote Ugly
. This is a fun and winding bit of mainly smooth trail where you can pick up speed easily as you fly downhill. The trail steepens near the end and then has a brief climb before dropping you at Bowen's Ranch.
After passing through the ranch, find Lazy Cow
on the southwest side and ride this smooth sandy trail all the way back to Old Tin Mine Road
. When the trail ends, you'll find yourself on the rocky road that leads back to the parking lot at Chuck Heinrich Memorial Park.