Hard Climb, Amazing fast descent. Beware of others on the road and Wear Pads for decent.
This is a dirt passenger vehicle access road to a beautiful water reservoir. Starting from the beginning of Fry Mesa Road you can ride gradually uphill starting at 3040 ft and slowly gaining an elevation of 3520, a total gain of 480 easy feet. The road is flat and well used at these points. Many pull off's exist where people target practice and build bonfires. If you leave the road, beware of the broken glass.
If you just want to get to the fun stuff and climb you can drive your truck up to large parking area found at 4.5 miles. Here you will have the ability to leave your truck "LOCKED" and ride a grueling ascent, starting at 3520 ft, you'll climb to a max elevation of 4960, within 3.1 miles for a total gain of 1440 feet!! This uphill is slow going and a great workout. The road has many wide switchbacks and rolling mounds (used for drainage). Being mostly gravel and packed dirt you won't have an issue with traction. Take a few breaks along the way and enjoy the spectacular view of the Gila Valley. Upload your photos!!! You will earn every pedal stroke!!!
At the top, you will turn left through a cattle gate, often left open. Bask in the sight of a medium-sized reservoir and it's occupying concrete dam. Get ready for steep 1000ft technical downhill with scattered boulders and ruts created by 4x4s.
At the bottom, you will enjoy cool water and many other opportunities, such as hiking, photography, fishing, and swimming. If you choose to hike you have 2 routes. 1 for the brave and stupid (myself included) is across the dam and over the ledge to follow the creek that feeds the dam to find some slick rock waterfalls. You can also take an alternative and MUCH safer route around the outside edge of the water to get to the same falls. If you are ok with highths you can also find your way down the STEEP and WET metal staircase built to access the bottom of the dam. be careful not to slip... it is a deadly fall. but the waterfall selfie is worth a calf-burning slow and safe climb down and back up.
Now for the Fun! You earned the decent and you will be paid back tenfold for your climb!!!
You will decend over 1800 feet with flowing double track, tight turns and lots of opportunities to catch airtime on those drainage mounds. Keep in mind this public road is sometimes busy for people who want to enjoy the reservoir by truck or jeep. Although they will be going slow there isn't much room for error when speeding down the dirt road. My advice... Stay on the hillside of the road and not the cliff side. It is a nasty fall through boulders and cactus if you make the mistake of catching that edge.
Be sure to upload your Strava details, photos and thoughts on this Earned Climb!!!
More Stats for Fry Mesa Access Road mountain bike route
Altitude min3,015 ft
Altitude start3,015 ft
Altitude end4,828 ft
Distance climb7 miles
Distance down1,203 ft
Distance flat426 ft