Thursday, 4 November 2010

The Guindani (Godawful!) Trail - Coronado National Forest

The Guindani (Godawful!) trail in Coronado National Forest is just over 4 miles long, gains about 900ft in elevation and leads into and out of the wash in Guindani Canyon, is (supposedly) easy to follow, well marked and on the information we were given is also a mountain bike route.

We set off from the trailhead where it recommends long sleeves and long pants, but hey it’s a mountain bike route so we weren’t too worried about that after all how bad could it be?

The trail starts off as a single track, after about ¼ mile there is a sign directing you to the right along what looks like an old jeep road.

Not too bad, and it looks rideable on a mountain bike.

After a while the trail dipped down into the wash in Guindani Canyon, where it was definitely not rideable, but hey this was also a mountain bike trail so it wouldn’t last long, would it? Yes that really is the trail.

After all the rain in Arizona this summer it was very overgrown. You would definitely be carrying your bike down here! So it was a case of find the cairn and look for the next one before continuing, trying our best to avoid the mesquite, agave and other prickly stuff, not to mention the grasses all across the trail.

If anything the trail got worse, several times we climbed up out of the wash, the cairns and very faint trail became even more difficult to follow. No way could you ride a bike through this lot. We were getting scratched but imagine pushing through that in lycra, ouch!

Eventually, we climbed higher and thought this is it we’re out of the wash we must be climbing up to the viewpoint. Wrong! Once again we descended back into the wash.

We’d probably only come about 2 miles and were still in the wash! Considering it was supposedly an easy to follow trail there were hardly any trail signs and the trail just appeared to lead further back into the Whetstone Mountains. Lack of any real distinguishing features, apart from the wash didn't help either. It had taken us about 3 hours to reach this point and even though it was still early afternoon this time of the year the sun goes down quickly in these canyons and it is no place to be trying to walk out of in the dark.

So we decided that the best thing to do was turn around and retrace our steps back through all the pesky prickly stuff. That was easier said than done, because of course the trail was just as bad going back.

At one point we did wonder whether we should’ve struggled on, but I think we did the right thing because as we headed back dusk had already fallen in sections of the canyon where the sun had dipped below the top of the mountains. I don’t like the dark!

Once we got back to the jeep road we heaved a huge sigh of relief, we were back in the sunshine and didn’t have far to go to the truck.

It was around 4.30 p.m. when we finally got back to the truck, looking back we could see that the sun had completely gone from the canyon and darkness was falling fast, so we definitely did the right thing when we turned round.

This is a godawful trail/bike route and doesn’t appear to be particularly well walked or well maintained either, as for mountain biking, well maybe if you had a death wish!

We didn’t have fun on this godawful trail and were glad to get back to a nice chilled beer and margarita.

Have fun, we are!


  1. Did this trail on foot today. It is not a bike trail at all IMO. Not bad on foot though. I didn't have any problems following the trail. I did a clockwise loop though which is backwards from most I think.

  2. We agree it is definitely not a bike trail! Glad you enjoyed it although it sounds like the trail has improved since we were last there.