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Group Ride on Thumper Loop February 20, 2010

Posted by Dave Of Prescott in Adventure Recreation, extreme sports, Just Stuff, Mountain Biking, trails.
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Yesterday a group of us drove over to Cottonwood and into the Dead Horse Ranch State Park to ride a trail people call Thumper Loop.

There are 120+ members of the Prescott Mountain Biking facebook group now, so when a group ride event is posted, someone always shows up!  Yesterday was no different.

Some of us carpooled, and others just met there at the park.  When we got there, the Park Ranger who built the Thumper Trail met us and directed us up to a different trailhead.  This caused some confusion, and we found out later that some of the group didn’t find us.   All in all we had about 17 or 18 people show up to ride.

Prescott Mountain Biking Group Ride

The Thumper Loop Ride is really made up of 3 trails.  The Lower Raptor Trail is a 2 mile climb out of the Verde River valley up onto the plateaus to the northeast.  Then it connects to the Thumper Trail which is a raucous romp southward that has multiple small drops and one section of rowdy drops.

Then we turned onto the Lime Kiln Trail and headed back down toward the Park.  This trail has a few really fun drops and surprises in store as well, including some crazy exposures and one last big drop right before the road.

Steve on the last drop

We took a Park trail back up to the trail head where the loop began, regrouped, then did the whole loop again!  Awesome!

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.