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High Desert Trail System

Average Rating:    (4.45 of 5)

No. of Reviews: 11

A new stacked loop MTB trail system on the mesa tops northwest of Gallup. Many magnificent panoramic views along the rim, a few moderate technical challenges, several megalithic stone switchbacks constructed by YCC crews, a short dance with the hoodoos, plenty of speed oportunity.
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Latitude
35.54095675892504
Longitude
-108.75992774963379
Trail Directions
Take Rt. 491 (old Rt. 666) north from I-40 Exit 20 for 2 miles. Turn left on Chino Loop at the traffic signal and look for the gravel parking lot on the left just after the curve. Turn left at the gravel road and cross the cattleguard to the trailhead.
Trail Length
20 miles
Trail Level
Intermediate
Trail Type
Singletrack
City/County
Gallup
Zip/Postal Code
87301
Country
USA
   


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Reviews 1 - 5 (11 Reviews Total) View All | Next 5

Review Date
October 13, 2013

Overall Rating
 5 of 5

Aerobic Difficulty
 3 of 5

Technical Difficulty
 2 of 5

Ridden Trail:
Ridden Once

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Reviewed by: EnderWigginDA ,  Cross Country Rider

Summary:
Trail is well marked singletrack. It's fast, and flowy from east to west. I rode in October 2013 from east to west. My biggest regret is that I didn't know the trail well enough to ride it faster as I wanted to avoid blowing corners.

Recommended Route:
East to west to start with a grin inducing downhill OR start west to east to finish with the downhill.
For the THIRD MESA LOOP, go clockwise to have a more technical descent or reverse the direction for a more technical climb. To clarify, the southern part of the loop is the short, punchy, technical portion. The northern part of the loop is gradual and longer. It's really not that technical, just MORE technical.

Other recommended trails in the same area:
Zuni Mountains, Milk Farm>Quasimoto>Berma.



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Review Date
September 6, 2012

Overall Rating
 4 of 5

Aerobic Difficulty
 2 of 5

Technical Difficulty
 2 of 5

Ridden Trail:
Ridden Once

Visitors rate this review
3.67 of 5, 3.00 votes

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Reviewed by: bmeston ,  Cross Country Rider

Summary:
My wife and I rode this system over Labor Day weekend, 2012. We went to the east TH, and yes it seemed a bit sketchy. At 8:30am, 2 young fellers were both laying back in the same small car, most likely NOT taking a nap. We chose to park at the restaurant about a mile south. I almost felt bad about interrupting them.

As for the trails, I rather enjoyed them. They are good single speed trails, since there is very little climbing, and lots of fast, flowy desert single track. You can rip them up! The signs at all the intersections are fantastic. Many thanks to Gallup Trails 2010! Be forewarned, though, that the one mile climb out of the southwest TH is quite punishing.

If you are passing through Gallup, check these out. But I would not say that they are a destination trail system. The city of Gallup is a dump, but the riding in the area is pretty darn good. And since very few residents of Gallup ride (or even seem to exercise), you will probably have the trails to yourself.

Recommended Route:
Probably better to park at the SW TH, and ride them generally in a counterclockwise direction (similar to the 12-hour race). But take the time to ride the single track that heads toward the east TH.

Other recommended trails in the same area:
Zuni Mountain Trail system east of town. Seriously good stuff!



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Review Date
May 5, 2009

Overall Rating
 4 of 5

Aerobic Difficulty
 4 of 5

Technical Difficulty
 3 of 5

Ridden Trail:
Ridden Once

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Reviewed by: njoehawkeye ,  Cross Country Rider

Summary:
Whatever you do, do not park at the eastern trail head. Roommate and I met his brother there on first afternoon of our trip down from denver. Had all our stuff stolen from the Jeep with the help of a new mexican rock through the window, SWeet! Park at the chinese restaurant down the road or Safeway. It's only a mile or so to the trail head.

Granted we should've known better when we saw broken glass in the lot, but why didn't somebody post something in the trail map display?

Burglary aside, these trails are sweet. We rode everything but the western loop and had a great time on the flowy rolling single track. I think we saw two other riders the entire weekend. These trails are also nice for singlespeed, I rode my rigid niner and had a hoot. Although I think I would've liked to have had a little taller gearing than 32-20. An 18 in back would've been perfect.



Comments
bsieb (11/12/2009)
The Sheriff's Dept. staked the trailhead out and caught the guy soon after this unfortunate event. He is in jail and there have been no more problems.
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Review Date
May 27, 2008

Overall Rating
 5 of 5

Aerobic Difficulty
 3 of 5

Technical Difficulty
 3 of 5

Ridden Trail:
Ridden Once

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Reviewed by: uofabill ,  Cross Country Rider

Summary:
My riding buddy and I just got back from a riding trip to Gallup last night. I can't say enough good things about the High Desert Trail System. I am sure not the best rider in the world but I have been on a lot of trails in a lot of places and have done a lot of trail work myself, these are some of the best trails I have ever ridden.
I don't know who designed/surveyed/laid out the trails but I would like to. Whoever it was sure knows that they are doing. Perfect grades IMHO. The construction of the trails is exceptional. We had read quite a bit about the riding scene that the Gallup Mayor and mtn biking community are working on developing and they have done a fantastic job.
When you go, get the Gallup Waypoints by Stan Smith, I think he had a role in laying out the trails and his book is right on the money. Follow his recommendation on which direction to ride and you will enjoy it. If you go the opposite direction it will be much more "challenging."
The High Desert trails are in the scrub cedar and brush country and most of the area is sandy. We were there just after some slow rain and they were perfect. I can see how when it dries out that some places would get very sandy (soft.) Being the kind of vegetation that it is, you are in direct sun most of the time and in hottest part of the year you would be well advised to ride early or late.
The trails climb up to and then follow the rim around three mesas giving you some spectacular views of the entire area.
There is some slick rock in places and some interesting switchbacks up and down some of the rimrock.
You can tell that a "lot of love," went into building these trails. There are silhouettes of animals scattered around the system to catch your attention as you ride. There are also some very cool petroglyph figures on the bike cattle guards installed in the fences that are crossed.
If you are travelling anywhere near Gallup it would be a waste not to stop and ride these trails. There is a lot of other riding in the area that is described in the Gallup Waypoints Guidebook.

Recommended Route:
Get the Gallup Waypoints Guidebook and do what it says.
We rode 1st Mesa the first afternoon which is an eight mile out and back kind of loop and was a perfect warm up ride.
We rode Dawn to Dusk the next morning and it is 13 miles.
Riding both of those in a day would be a pretty full day's ride for most people.

Other recommended trails in the same area:
Quaking Aspen



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Review Date
October 20, 2007

Overall Rating
 5 of 5

Aerobic Difficulty
 2 of 5

Technical Difficulty
 3 of 5

Ridden Trail:
Ridden Once

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Reviewed by: jane ,  Cross Country Rider

Summary:
These trails are rippin' twistin' amazing flat out xc FUN! SINFULLY fun. WICKEDLY fun. Get it?

Recommended Route:
First purchase a copy of Mr. Smith's "Gallup Waypoints" online or at the LBS. Follow his directions for "Dawn til Dusk" (2nd and 3rd Mesa Loops). I recommend adding the "lollipop" of the 1st Mesa loop for a satisfying number of miles, so at Post #5 TURN LEFT onto the connector then straight passing by the flags on your left then slight right at the quick fork for the loop. At the flags return the way you came to Post #5 and TURN LEFT to complete the circuit as written. (All you'll miss of the 1st Mesa is the stem of the lollipop--R at the flags--over to the Gamerco Trailhead which, though plenty fun as a speedway, is relatively nondescript.)



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Reviews 1 - 5 (11 Reviews Total) View All | Next 5
 


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