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We Three on Thumper Trail February 23, 2009

Posted by Dave Of Prescott in Adventure Recreation, Mountain Biking, trails.
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On Sunday afternoon Mike and I drove over to Cottonwood and met up with Rob and his wife Susie at Dead Horse Ranch State Park so we could ride the Thumper Trail.

Susie decided she didn’t want to ride the loop, and instead she was going to ride the many trials that stayed near the park.

So the three of us started up the Raptor Trail toward Evil Hill.  What’s so evil you ask?  Well it is very steep, but it is also filled with loose dirt and baby heads….none of us cleaned it.  Once we were by that, we continued up Raptor on a bunch of short climbs, each followed by a long nearly level section (repeat as necessary).  Three miles up, we came to the intersection with Thumper Trail, and I took the time for a group photo.

Me, Mike and Rob where Raptor and Thumper Trails meet.

Me, Mike and Rob where Raptor and Thumper Trails meet.

None of us had ever been on these trails before, so we only knew what we had read about them, so we started down Thumper Trail a little cautiously, definitely not slowly, but we weren’t bombing it either.  It started out with a bunch of short drops (a foot or two) and then we came upon a gnarly section with several drops in a row.

The first section of gnarly drops.

The first section of gnarly drops.

There is one nice drop at the top that has a smooth landing area that you can’t see in this photo, but here is a shot of Rob going off of it.

Rob takes one of the drops.

Rob takes one of the drops.

I don’t have much in the way of suicidal tendencies, so I walked down this section.

The Thumper Trail drops into a couple of canyons and then climbs back out to the top of a ridge again, then turns to the SW and back towards the park.

Mike tops out on the trail ahead of me.

Mike tops out on the trail ahead of me.

There were drops scattered along this entire trail, and most were ridable even by me.  Soon enough we came to another gnarly section that the self preservationist in me decided would be better to walk.  Rob on the other hand rode it (he is a little crazy).

The second big section of multiple drops.

The second big section of multiple drops.

A few yards after this there was another 3′ drop and then we met Susie riding up the other way.  She said the trail below was pretty rocky.  We road a flat and fast section until we met with the Lime Kiln Trail.  There were a few drops and rocky steeps on that trail too, but we rode them all.  We had heard that there was one last big drop at the bottom, but somehow we missed it when the trail split just before we got back to the park.

At that point we decided to take another lap and figured that if we rode one of the park trails up around the camping loop, we could miss the dreaded Evil Hill.  That done, we called our spouses to let them know that we would be a little longer than planned because we were going to loop it again.

A lady stopped us and said she had lost her cell phone on the trail and could we look for it.  We said we would and headed back up the climbs-and-flats section of Raptor Trail.  When we crossed one of the fences, Rob heard a phone ringing, and presto….there was the lady’s phone!

We made another loop just like the first one, except now we rode it a little faster.  I still didn’t ride those gnarly multiple drop sections though.  We met Susie back at the cars, and a quick check of the odometer showed we had done 15.3 miles in 1hr 42mins. of riding time.

That is one very fun trail, but I sure wouldn’t want to ride it after a long dry spell, as it would be very sandy in spots.  A couple of days after a rain would be ideal I think.


1. Randy Victory - February 25, 2009

One of the best, if not THE best account of the trip around the Thumper Loop that I’ve read, or heard….. and I’ve read & heard a LOT, since I’m one of the Rangers at the park. I also wrote most of the trail desctiptions on the bike sites on the Net, and I have to admit that coupled with your excellent photos, you’ve really given me a run for my money!! Kudos, Dave!

Oh, by the way, pretty much EVERYONE gets the name of our park wrong – Deadhorse State Park, Dead Horse Park, whatever. I was impressed that you got it right! Dead Horse Ranch State Park – FIVE words!! Thanks Dave.

AR Guide - February 25, 2009

Thanks Randy. I will definitely come back and ride it again, it was a lot of fun.

2. Cynthia lee Cartier - February 23, 2009

Nice blog entry, makes me want to get brave on two wheels, but then I remember I’m a big chicken.

AR Guide - February 23, 2009

Cynthia, I refer you to this blog entry about your big-chickeness

3. Nate Wood - February 23, 2009

That looks like a fun day. Has anybody ventured out to the prescott forrests?

4. Lummer Steve - February 23, 2009

Awesome stuff… We all can’t wait for Prescott to Dry out!

Steve Lummer

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