2013 Winter Destinations: Scottsdale, Arizona

Winter is great, except when you’re holed up with no sun all day. Take your weekends back with one of these fresh, easy adventures.

2011 south mountain phoenix arizona single tracking sonoran desert

Singletracking in the Sonoran Desert outside Scottsdale, Arizona.     Photo: Sterling Lorence

The Sonoran Desert surrounding Scottsdale is a sandbox full of undulating terrain, decomposed granite, and saguaro cactus under a 70-degree winter sun. In other words, it’s the perfect place to go mountain biking. Sign on with Arizona Outback Adventures for a three-day survey of the 50-plus miles of singletrack in McDowell Mountain Regional Park. The outfitter has your gear needs covered (Trek Super-fly full-suspension 29er, helmet, gloves, and camping gear), provides a short shuttle ride to showers, and cooks up veggies, chicken, beef, and quinoa for a hearty campsite dinner ($600). Your first day calls for a 15-mile twisting ride, so you can acclimate to loose sand beneath your wheels. Follow it up with a day of laps on the park’s trio of racing trails—one-way tracks with big downhills and hard corners where riders reach top speeds of 30 miles per hour.

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