Antelope Peak Challenge


The start of the Arizona Trail with Antelope Peak in the background.

The Antelope Peak Challenge is to ride the Arizona Trail from Oracle, AZ to Antelope Peak, which lies in the middle of a remote piece of the Sonoran Desert. A time bonus is given for optionally reaching the summit of the peak (which has no trail). Then ride back using a combination of dirt roads, cattle trails and the 24 hour course.

Course Information

Saturday January 20, 2018 – 8:00am.

We’re back to the APC roots this year!  The loop will be ridden counterclockwise.  We will stage at a parking area on the west side of Willow Springs Road – about 6.5 miles north of 77. Click here for google maps. A State Trust Land permit is required to ride trails (except for the AZT) in the area, and to park or camp at Willow Springs (where we stage). Permit information available here. Permits are available by mail and also online now, so make sure you send in your application early.


2018 route has new entrance to Painter Boy.

See TopoFusion’s Tutorial on uploading GPX tracks for help loading these files onto your GPS.

Time Bonuses:
75 minutes — Reaching the summit of Antelope Peak (~0.5 miles and ~400 feet off route)

60 minutes – for riding a partial loop of the 24 hour course, from where Painter Boy joins the route to Willow Springs. That is, when you get to the start/finish area of 24 hour town, you head out towards ‘the bitches’ and complete a lap to Willow Springs, rather than following the GPX, which cuts to the His/Hers trail directly.

120 minutes – for each additional lap of the 24 hour course — NO LIMIT on the number of extra laps a rider can log!

Route caution: There is a high probability that you will get more than 1 flat during the ride. Tubeless with fresh sealant is highly recommended. If you are running tubeless or tubes, make sure to plan accordingly with 2-3 spare slime tubes. Sealant is highly recommended in all tubes.

Course Map :


Route Description:

From Willow Springs Road, ride south toward 77 in a neutral start. Continue the neutral start east on 77, past Oracle to Tiger Mine Road. At the start of Tiger Mine Road the race officially starts. Head north on Tiger Mine to the Arizona Trail – about 1.5 miles. Ride the AZT some 30 miles, past and around Antelope Peak (optional stop to climb the peak on foot – good for time bonus but there is no trail — figure out your own route!) to Freeman Road. Take Freeman Road West to Willow Springs / Barkerville Road. Continue South on Willow Springs Road to the Painter Boy trail, 24 hour downhill, to 24 hour town, then His/Hers trails. His/Hers will dump you out into the finish.

This race has been made available largely in collaboration with Scott Morris of


Back by popular demand (ok one person asked about it) is the mega APC loop. Essentially it is the usual APC course with a little jaunt to the Ripsey trailhead added in. Is it long? You betcha. Will it hurt? Oh, it will. On to details.

January 20, 2017 – 5:00am.

Same place as the “short” loop.


Course Map :


Click here for results

Use the comment section below to ask questions or write comments. 


42 responses to “Antelope Peak Challenge

  1. when is this race for 2017? filling out work schedules no, and i want to partake. thanks

  2. Same question here: Are you aiming for weekend of 21st or 28th Jan 2017? As pointed out above, work schedules may need advance notice. Thanks.

  3. Now that Gila and APC are on different dates, any chance/interest in bringing back the APC long course?

  4. FYI… State land permits are now available online, and you are able to print them immediately!

  5. I’m in.

  6. Courtney Phillips

    Count me in. I’ll have a go at the long route, and hope to finish before all the beer is gone.

  7. In for the short route

  8. Has anyone used one of the cutoff roads from Hwy 79 to approach the camping area? When coming down from Florence, there appears to be two roads that would cut over to the camping area: E. Britton Way and E. Willow Spring Dr. Are either of these good enough roads to make them worthwhile? Thanks, Rick H

    • You can take freeman which is pretty smooth to willow springs. Probably not any quicker than taking the highway though

    • Tried following Google maps one time heading out that way when leaving the 24HOP. You’ll find nothing other than locked gates and no trace of a road where the maps show one. If you want to take a ‘shortcut’ you can take Freeman Rd. from SR-79 to Willow Springs Rd. and then take Willow Springs Rd. south. It’s shorter distance wise, but will likely take longer than the normal way to 24HOP-town.

  9. In for the long route.

  10. Anyone planning on dropping water at the Freeman Road water cache?

  11. Weather appears to possibly be an issue. Is this a rain or shine event???

    • I’m wondering the same thing. is showing a pretty substantial winter storm hitting the area on Friday and Saturday.

  12. It seems like the prudent thing to do is to delay until Sunday. We are strongly leaning that way. I’m sure some won’t be able to make it, but with more than an inch of rain predicted Friday, even the road out to the start/finish may be too bad to drive. We don’t want to trash the trails, either.

    Sunday’s weather looks good. Hopefully if it clears later on Saturday, that’ll give it some time to dry out.

  13. Let’s make it official. We’re moving to Sunday the 22nd. All other details the same. Spread the word.

  14. Everyone who knows me knows I’m directionally challenged so don’t laugh but once we leave Freeman on thong route do we stay left and take Kelvin hey to trailhead or do we go right when we get to the split?

  15. Courtney Phillips

    I’m going to opt out of the long course; still in for the standard lap. Cheers!

  16. Are we still on for tomorrow?? Pretty wet at my place off of barkerville road and it’s normally worse out by Freeman.

  17. in for standard loop

  18. We’re still on. Hoping for drying overnight. If the Willow Springs rd is a mess, we can always start from the highway, forgoing driving on the road, and give it the day to dry before riding it at the end of the loop.

  19. But we’ll see what it looks like in the AM…

  20. Freeman water stach is full..freeman rd and willow spring are very bumpy and some wash outs.

  21. Hey Scott,
    Thanks for organizing this. fun ride in the desert.
    If anyone is keeping track of finishing times, put me down for before noon because it’s always before noon somewhere. Ok how bout 4 sans antelope.

    • Right on Chris, 4 and no antelope. I was hoping to track you down to get your result.

      Thanks everyone for coming. It turned into a superb day to be out there. Trails were dry and in great shape. Little bit of mud on Willow Springs, but not enough to worry about.

      Results coming soon.

      • Agreed, trail and cool temps were perfect Now if we could just get someone to clear off those softball sized rocks and catclaw. I did my part.
        Hopefully see you out on the trails again.

  22. Planning to do this as an ITT Sunday 1/29.So what is feedback in painter boy? Saw something about signs, but I though the entire area was state trust land not private. Am I wrong?

    • Hey Joe. We thought it was all State Trust as well, but our old entrance is signed private now.

      I scouted a new route today. It’s a little longer, but avoids the worst “vagueletrack” and bushwhacking, so is probably about a wash, time-wise. Posting new 2018 file now. Check this page.

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