Well, it’s been 3 weeks since Evie and I moved to Pinetop, AZ. We’ve had a little time to explore some of the area and all I can say is YEAH! This place is awesome!
When you see a new part of the country for the first time or visit a small town during a bike race it always seems like it’d be a great place to live, but it’s always in the back of your mind as to what’s this place really like without a big festival going on, or when I’m not visiting on vacation. Pinetop was kind of the opposite…
Upon our first visit to the town of Pinetop-Lakeside (it’s actually two towns that merged), we were not overly impressed. Once we met a few of the locals and began to explore the area more boy were we blown away! This is a total mtbers training ground paradise! More on that later.
Move-in Day and a Bike Race
We arrived in Pinetop on Oct 1 and got the keys to our new place that we’re renting. Our house sits just behind Woodland Lake Park, a really quaint little park about 1 square mile that has a small lake and some really cool mountain bike trails. So far Evie’s commute consists of a 20-min ride on singletrack!
Luckily we didn’t have to drive the moving truck out, that arrived on Friday (along with TJ and Chloe) who came to stay for the weekend and ride in the Tour of the White Mountains, a race put on by Epic Rides, the same people who put on the Whiskey 50, Grand Junction Off-road, and 24-hrs in the Old Pueblo.
A course marking error sent the lead 12 or so guys the wrong way, so once we all stopped to chat with race officials we decided to just cruise and enjoy the ride. It turned out to be a great day! I didn’t really have any expectations, just a good way to checkout the local trails.
A Mountain Biker’s Dream
So Pinetop is a lot like Bend, OR, only a little higher in elevation (Pinetop sits at 7000′). The trails are a mix of rocky technical slow sections and fast smooth twists through pine trees. There’s a good amount of elevation gain, about 1000′ per hour when you’re just out riding.
Since Pinetop sits on the edge of the Colorado plateau (right on the Mogollon Rim) you can head south and begin to drop in elevation really quickly. There are a half dozen or so Cat 2 climbs to be had within a 50-mile ride, lots of clean roads, endless gravel fire roads, and about 200-miles of connecting mountain bike trails.
With a little cold and snow in the winter means you’ll keep your toughness, while still being able to ride year round. Plus if you do wanna wimp out, it’s only a 3-hr drive to Phoenix and 4-hrs to Tucson. Not to mention you ride 30-miles south and it warms up 20 degrees as you drop off the rim!
Climate & Seasons
Thus far it’s been in the 40s in the morning and 60s/70s during the day. Winter’s can dip down into the 20s at night, but then back up into the 40s and 50s during the day. Summers in the 70s and 80s, but dry, and NO BUGS!
We’ll see some snow in the winter, but not a ton, and any snow that does stick won’t last too long since it warms up during the day. Sunrise Ski resort is about 25-miles to the east of town and rises another 2000′ so the base is at 9,000, summit at 11,100.
We went over there a few weeks ago to hike and checkout the fall colors, along with the downhill mountain bike trails! In the summer they run lifts so get ready to do some big hitting! We walked some of the DH runs and they were sweet! They have a really neat Whistler vibe. Trees, roots, big boulders, etc. Can’t wait to ride ’em.
Thinking I Might Stick Around – So Come Visit!
Evie started work on the 15th and I’ve been busy finishing up a new project for some friends of mine who opened a new bike shop in Fountain Hills, McDowell Mountain Cycles. We’ve had a chance to meet a lot of people in town and are looking forward to more exploring!
For a town of 5000 they sure have a lot of awesome restaurants and cool little shops. With the endless system of trails and so many other cool places nearby like Flagstaff, Phoenix, and Durango I could see calling Pinetop my home for a long time so come visit! We have a spare bedroom waiting!