The Hart Prairie loop is an easy to moderate 14.7-mile ride entirely above 8,000 feet. The ride takes you through some of the most scenic landscapes of the Northern Arizona.
The ride described here is a loop in the counterclockwise direction. The loop can be completed in either direction, but if you ride counterclockwise you'll get the uphill/dirt road section done with at the beginning and finish with a sustained downhill on the Arizona Trail.
The ride starts at a parking area at the intersection of Hart Prairie Road (FR 151) and (FR 418). From here you ride south on an unpaved road (FR 151) through a forest and past the Bismark Lake Trailhead and Hart Prairie Reserve. Turn left on FR 9215B at an unsigned intersection before a big downhill. After passing through a cattle fence, continue on this road up toward a beautiful stand of aspen. As the road curves south, take a trail with a “Closed to Motor Vehicles” sign toward a large cattle tank (Alfa Fia Tank). Continue on this trail until you reach a junction with the Arizona Trail. Turn left, and head north from here. Take the Arizona Trail north through flower studded meadows, mixed conifer forests, and several photogenic stands of aspen surrounded by waist-high ferns. Turn left again once you reach FR 418 and head west on that road back to the parking area.
While the section of this trail on FR 151 and FR 9215B is not a spectacular ride, it does offer some great views, and the dusty uphill road section is the price of admission. After that you are rewarded with a fun downhill on gorgeous singletrack with stunning views of Hart Prairie. It is all well worth the struggle. Watch out for hikers; this section of the Arizona Trail is a popular day hike from nearby Arizona Snowbowl. Early morning and late afternoon are the best times for this ride. FR 151 is unpaved but passable by two-wheel drive passenger cars most of the year. This road is unplowed and may be closed during the winter.