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Best of the Southwest (Danny's Loop Southwest #2)

Intermediate/Difficult
 4.0 (1) RECOMMENDED ROUTE

Try hard not to break something while having too much fun on this route! This should only hurt the legs and lungs...


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Map Key

22.6

Miles

36.3

KM

5%

Singletrack

2,122' 647 m

High

1,743' 531 m

Low

955' 291 m

Up

953' 290 m

Down

2%

Avg Grade (1°)

10%

Max Grade (6°)

Dogs Unknown

E-Bikes Unknown

Overview

This route includes some varied terrain as is typical of the area - sandy hardpack to loose rocky bajada slopes to loose sand wash crossings. Most of the trails included in this route can be ridden fast, albeit with some care through wash crossings and around corners to prevent front wheel washout.

There are many alternative trails here that may be more appropriate depending on what type of bike you have (e.g., gravel bike vs. fatbike vs. anything else); I've routed this to cover most of my favorite trails SW of Ajo.

Need to Know

There are several great coffee stops in Ajo, including Curley Coffee and Oasis Cafe. There are several local eateries in town, hotels, RV campgrounds, and primitive tent camping is allowed on most of the BLM surrounding Ajo. There is sparse cell phone service in this area SW of town, so bring plenty of water and tools, and have a plan in case you need help!

Description

See overview for the gist. Not much else to add honestly, other than this can be ridden by anyone with at least intermediate ability and the gumption to ride more than 10 miles in the desert. Much of this could be toured by beginner riders also, although if that is you, I'd suggest starting early as you may feel more comfortable walking some sections.

The most technical parts of this trail include local favorite (for those with a deathwish) Ed's Trail (Pinnacle) - be sure to drink your coffee before starting down this one! Slogging back up at the end will be a challenge, as you must muster the focus to pick good lines (thank Clif for doubletrack choices!) and enough energy to roll over the tough rocky bits (i.e., much of the climb). If you find yourself dabbing, take consolation that many great riders rarely clean this climb. Just don't hurt yourself. Helicopter rides to the nearest hospital are not inexpensive.

Don't skip Centruroides. It is worth the deviation if you like fast hardpack.

Lagarto is quite fun to race up the west side heading north; the 1-3% grade makes it still fun for those who enjoy getting their heart rates elevated while rolling out those pedals out of the saddle around slight corners. Don't forget to breathe. Beware that desert air will make your lungs want for Kansas or some other place with some element of humidity to ingest.

I've ridden almost all of this on a gravel bike with knobby, 40+ cm tires, a rigid fatbike with 26x4" tires, and an older 650B steel hardtail. All are fun, but I have the most fun on the extremes... gravel bike for a technical challenge and the fatbike for speed over the varied terrain. Would love to hear what you think of this route in the comments, and what kind of bike you used. Enjoy!

History & Background

There are many historical copper mines in the area, including some still visible near these trails. Check out the Ajo Historical Society in Ajo for more information. This land is also part of the Tohono O'odham traditional lands, and parts of this area are still important to the TON. See tonation-nsn.gov for more information on the TON.

Contacts

Local Club: Bike Ajo

Land Manager: BLM - Lower Sonoran Field Office

Shared By:

Danny Martin

Trail Ratings

  4.0 from 1 vote

#2

in Ajo Trails

#2841

Overall
  4.0 from 1 vote
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#111

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Photos

Current trail conditions, trail is scratched in.
May 28, 2018 near Ajo, AZ
Looking north from the north end of Largarto, not too far from where the turn down to Fattie's Delight begins. Note Locomotive Rock in the distance, center right, just right of where the trail disappears in the photo.
Mar 22, 2021 near Ajo, AZ
Heading out to North Ajo Peak on Piece of Pie.
Dec 23, 2016 near Ajo, AZ
Piece of Pie, maybe?
Dec 23, 2016 near Ajo, AZ
Heading out to North Ajo Peak.
Dec 23, 2016 near Ajo, AZ
Up and down one of the many roller-coaster like hills.
Dec 23, 2016 near Ajo, AZ

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