White Mountains Online

Introduction and General Information on mountain biking in the Alpine District


General Information

Mountain biking is one of the fastest growing recreations on America’s national forests, and the Alpine District is no exception to the trend. In view of the growing popularity of this new and exciting sport, the district has already taken a number of steps to provide areas where mountain biking forest visitors can enjoy themselves without causing undue environmental damage or without resulting in conflicts with other users.

Miles and Miles and Miles

Just looking at the forest map should make it apparent that the opportunities to go mountain biking on the Alpine District are almost limitless. Many of the roads that crisscross the district are made to order for these sturdy all-terrain bicycles that have evolved as a hybrid of the old balloon tired cruiser and the sleek ten-speed racer. There are jeep tracks, logging roads, and little used forest roads where motorized traffic is infrequent enough not to interfere with bike riding. The best way to find these unmarked bonanzas is to get a forest map and start looking for the double dotted lines or unshaded double solid lines that indicate primitive roads or dirt roads. The next step is to pick out the ones which lead to places that look to be of interest to you. If you have the time and inclination, this way of approaching the situation is a bit like discovering the forest all over again and seeing if from a brand new perspective in the process.

We’ve reserved a few of the good ones

If you would rather let someone else do the choosing for you, and thereby run less of a risk of finding out that you’ve pick the wrong route for whatever reason, the district has marked a few rides near areas of high visitor interest to help you out. All of these routes feature the added convenience of having their trailheads marked with international bike symbols and their routes blazed with blue diamond markers. Marked rides include two loop routes in the Alpine/Luna Lake area and one on the Escudilla Mountain. In the Williams Valley area just six miles from Alpine, the district has gone to the extra effort of setting aside a system of trails especially for Mountain bikers. Motorized vehicles are not permitted on these trails, which do double duty as cross-country ski trails in the winter. Hikers and horsebackers are welcome, however. We anticipate that the Williams Valley non-motorized trails will become as popular with mountain bikers as they are with skinny skiers and have laid out the area in such a way that it will be well suited to the holding of rafcfes and other events by bike riding clubs and other groups.

If you don’t see it just ask

Whatever is your pleasure when it comes to saddling up and pedaling into the backwoods we’re sure you’ll find it somewhere on the Alpine District. If you don’t see it in this guide feel free to call the district office and ask us for further suggestions.

What about trails

You’ve probably noticed that we haven’t mentioned riding on forest trails. One reason for that omission is that all or part of the majority of forest trails mentioned in the guide are within the boundaries of a designated wilderness or the Blue Primitive Area. Mountain bikes are not permitted I any of these areas. Although mountain bikes are not excluded from trails outside the boundaries of a wilderness or primitive area, we do not encourage their use off-road because of the environmental damage they cause and because of the potential for user conflict they create.

Who’s got the Right of Way

If you do end up riding on a trail, keep in mind that bicyclists should yield both to horseback riders and hikers. That means when you encounter one of these other trail users, it is up to you to pull over to the side of the trail and stop until you have completely been passed.

And Don’t Forget

When you bring your mountain bike to the Alpine District, don’t forget to bring along all of the support equipment you’ll need to make sure your ride is a pleasant one. First and foremost that includes a helmet. The birds and bears won’t mind how you look, and those rocks are harder than even the most died in the wool anti-helmet wearer’s head. As a matter of fact, it’s so important we’ll list it twice.

  • Here’s what to bring:
  • Helmet and riding gloves.
  • Tool kit, better to carry a kit than your bike.
  • Extra tire tube (or patch kit) and pump, at least one per group.
  • Matches and knife are always a good idea.
  • First aid kit, at least for scrapes and bruises.
  • Water – lots and lots.
  • Sunscreen.
  • Extra clothes, it gets cool up here.
  • Rain gear, late summer brings thunderstorms.
  • Glasses are particularly helpful during the "bug season."

Hannagan Meadow Loop

  • Length: 5.5 miles
  • Use: Moderate
  • Rating: Easy to Moderate
  • Elevation: 8,900' - 9,300'

Williams Valley Loop

  • Length: 5 miles
  • Use: Moderate
  • Rating: Easy
  • Elevation: 8,600'

Terry Flat Loop     

  • Length: 6 miles
  • Use: Moderate
  • Rating: Easy
  • Elevation: 9,600' - 9,900'

Luna Lake Loop

  • Length: 2.5 mile or 8 mile loop
  • Use: Moderate
  • Rating: Easy to Moderate
  • Elevation: 7,900' - 8,300'

Georges Lake Loop

  • Length: 4.5 miles
  • Use: Moderate
  • Rating: Moderate
  • Elevation: 8,000' - 8,500'
Please contact the Alpine Ranger District for current information of trail conditions: P.O. Box 469, Alpine, AZ 85920, (928) 339-4384. For more information, please feel free to contact the USDA Forest Service, Alpine Ranger District.