El Oso Road

Payson, Arizona

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A thigh-burning climb up a scenic ridge on the east slopes of the Mazatzal Mountains. You'll start in saguaro-studded Sonoran desert and end up in ponderosa pine forest. It's located about 85 miles northeast of Mesa. Tread: Doubletrack. The dirt road, FR 143, starts climbing immediately and continuously, with very few breaks. Of course, you can ride up as far as you like, then turn around for a bomber descent. Just watch for oncoming traffic, especially on weekends. As you start to climb, you pass through Sonoran desert, with its distinctive giant saguaro cactus. Unlike many other doubletracks in the Four Peaks area, the road surface is fairly smooth and rut free.3.8 Whew! The climb moderates for a bit. 4.3 Gear down—it gets steeper.

El Oso Road Professional Review and Guide

"A thigh-burning climb up a scenic ridge on the east slopes of the Mazatzal Mountains. You'll start in saguaro-studded Sonoran desert and end up in ponderosa pine forest. It's located about 85 miles northeast of Mesa. Tread: Doubletrack. The dirt road, FR 143, starts climbing immediately and continuously, with very few breaks.

Of course, you can ride up as far as you like, then turn around for a bomber descent. Just watch for oncoming traffic, especially on weekends. As you start to climb, you pass through Sonoran desert, with its distinctive giant saguaro cactus. Unlike many other doubletracks in the Four Peaks area, the road surface is fairly smooth and rut free.3.8 Whew! The climb moderates for a bit. 4.3 Gear down—it gets steeper."

Activity Type: Mountain Biking
Nearby City: Payson
Distance: 22.6
Elevation Gain: 3,800 feet
Trail Type: Out-and-back
Technical Difficulty: Easy
Physical Difficulty: Difficult
Duration: 5 hours
Season: Year-round, best October to April
Trailhead Elevation: 2,100 feet
Top Elevation: 5,900 feet
Local Contacts: Tonto National Forest, 602-225-5200
Local Maps: USGS Tonto Basin, Four Peaks; Tonto National Forest
Driving Directions: Directions to El Oso Road

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May 2018