Playa Ponderosa

5 Star Route / Ridden & Reviewed by JoshV

This is a 5 Star Route. Highly curated, fully documented and a great ride!

We feel a need for speed. Fast, smooth gravel roads that rip you through an abandoned historic logging road. All to take you out to the largest lake in Arizona (when it has water): Mormon Lake. Toss in Playa Ponderosa, a beachy area that is known for music festivals. There’s also a few spooky houses along the way and plenty of wildlife. (The deer, antelope kind, not the kind hanging out at the music festivals.) But oh, speedy one, we did toss in a primitive road, just to slow you down and keep you honest. 

Adventure / Gravel Route

Lollipop: 44 miles / 2400 ft gain
– Surface: ~ 80% gravel, 10% dirt-primitive road, 10% paved
eBike Friendly: Yes
– Location: ~ Flagstaff, AZ
– Published: October 2020

Technical Difficulty & Risk [what this means …]

Moderate-. The roads are beautiful and smooth and cell service is available throughout most of the route.

When we like to ride this …

This route should be ideal from April through September. Spring can be spectacular when the lake has water and the colors are vibrant.

The Start

Raymond County park. Flush Toilets. Water.
Lat / Long: 35.091999, -111.687788

Alternative Start:
Dirt pull out at the start of FS 700. This avoids the Kachina Village congestion, but has no restroom facilities.
Lat / Long: 35.088948, -111.682957

Food / Water

At ~ mile 20.5 go right on Mormon Lake Road to Mormon Lake Lodge, they have a convenience store with water, gatorade, etc. It is about 2.5 miles out of the way (one-direction).

Go Local

Kachina Village, at the start, has a convenience store and such. But if you’re looking for a more local vide, check out the small town of Mountainaire, just a mile and a half east [from the start] on Mountainaire Road. They have a country store and a tavern! (There may even be a way to start from here and take gravel / dirt roads to the route via a connection at the end of Osage street.)

Ride Details

**Click to Read More


Wahoo / Garmin Direct Download
Cue Sheet / GPX file / TCX file


Red = paved road
Brown = gravel / dirt road

For help with GPS files, the RideWithGPs mapping app and to learn how to download our routes for free, see the “Using Our Rides” page.

Ridden and Reviewed by …

JoshV / Team Dirty Freehub

I was born and raised in Grand Rapids, Michigan but now call the Valley of the Sun home. When I’m not riding, I enjoy reading, golf, camping, and spending time with family and friends. Always looking towards the next adventure and exploring more of the Southwest!

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