With today being an off-Friday, it's the perfect day to do trails that are usually crowded on the weekends. I had heard the new Sweetwater trails get busy on the weekend, so that was my destination today. Around 8:30 AM I left the house with my trusty Blur tucked safely in the back of the Jeep, which now has AC again. I took Grant all the way down to Silverbell, then up to El Camino del Cerro, making a left on Tortolita and found the trailhead parking lot at the very end. I had a map of the trails, so how bad could it be? I unloaded the Blur, while 3 other riders got ready for their ride. One of the guys saw my TRIGRRL Jeep and asked if I had gone to the meeting at Bodycentral. No, that had been the first meeting I had missed in 2 years, due to having to tow my Jeep home. Anyways, he worked there and asked if I wanted to ride with them. I politely declined, as I was set on my solo ride. I let them go ahead and waited until they disappeared before I entered the trail through the gate.
I took a sharp right and quickly entered a corridor of saguaros on either side of the trail. Very cool! I continued on, guessing at which trails led to the loops that I wanted to do. I started on the Abracadabra trail and did the Abra and Cadabra loops (I didn't make these names up, so don't blame me). I found myself back on the Abracadabra trail, and decided to do the larger loops. I climbed up the Lost Arrow trail, which had some cool techie rocks in the slight climb. I got to the intersection and decided to go down The Spine and ride the large loop in a clockwise direction. I found the Ocotilla Hill trail, which crossed several washes, then cut over and did the bottom half of the loop before taking a cut over to do an inner loop called "Shazaam!" This one was advertised as being more technical, which just meant some cool rock features and tighter corners. I got back on the main loop and climbed up to the intersection of The Spine again. I took that all the way down to the Red Roller Coaster trail, and back to my car.
Overall, I would rank the trails in this area between Fantasy Island and Starr Pass. More rocks than Fantasy, but no climbs like Starr. I did all the loops and came out at 8.6 miles, so Sweetwater also doesn't have the mileage you can get at Fantasy. But what is nice is that the trails are 2-way, so you can add mileage by going one direction, then the other. They will also be adding the Little Book Cliffs trail, which will add more mileage.
Looking back through the corridor of saguaros on Abracadabra:
No, not Mars, just different lighting the camera phone was seeing:
At the intersection of The Spine, looking down the singletrack:
Behind me, at the intersection of The Spine (again, not Mars):