Historic Route 66 Mountain Bike Tour does not offer reservations through Recreation.gov. Please take a look at the area details below for more information about visiting this location. Enjoy your visit!
These abandoned sections of America's most famous highway are ideal for sturdy all-terrain bicycles. There are two loop trails, one at the bottom and one at the top of one of the steepest stretches on all of Route 66.
Each loop begins on the original Route 66. Built in 1922, when the science of highway engineering was still in its infancy, this narrow, unpaved roadway twists and turns as it clings close to the canyon wall. Where the roadbed was cut by washes and gullies, local workers built rock-walled culverts to bridge the gap. The return ride on each loop follows the 1932 roadway. The original pavement, crumbling from decades of use, still remains in place.
Concrete culverts and guard rails had become standard features by then. Route 66 was in its heyday during the years that traffic rumbled down this road. Even the improved highway up Ash Fork Hill eventually had to be replaced. In 1950, engineers abandoned this section and built a new, more expensive road straight up the hill. It is now covered by Interstate 40.
Ash Fork Hill Trail - Approximate riding time: 60 minutes • 6 miles
This 6-mile-long loop features wide open vistas, with Picacho Peak and Mount Floyd on the western horizon and Bill Williams Mountain to the east. The 1922 section stands in startling contrast to nearby Interstate 40. The rough ride down this road is followed by a smoother, but steep return up the 1932 roadway. You may choose to continue riding north on Forest Road 6 for another 2 miles to Johnson Crater, a huge natural depression. As you ride, you’ll notice clearings in the dense pinyon-juniper woodland. The Forest Service created these in the early 1960s to provide forage for livestock and wildlife. Watch for deer, antelope, jackrabbits, red-tailed hawks, golden eagles, and other wildlife.
Although it’s an average 5,500 feet above sea level, the Ash Fork Hill Tour can be hot during summer months. Wear a hat and use sunscreen.
Devil Dog Trail - Approximate riding time: 30 minutes • 5 miles
This 5-mile loop winds through the cool ponderosa pines at the top of Ash Fork Hill. From the parking area, ride south on Forest Road 108 for .3 mile and make a left onto the 1932 alignment (still Forest Road 108). Travel .4 mile on Forest Road 108 and turn onto Forest Road 9223, which is the 1922 roadway. You will need to ride around a “road closed” gate in order to continue on the bike tour.
From this section of the ride, you may decide to choose a challenging side trip on Forest Road 45 to Bixler Mountain. The ride loops back via a 1932 stretch of Route 66 (Forest Road 9217E) from which the pavement has been removed. Notice how engineers had to make deep cuts into the hills in order to provide for a smoother road. The ride then returns to the starting place via Forest Road 108. The origin of the name Devil Dog is lost to history.