Author Topic: Claypool Tunnel, Old US 60  (Read 3332 times)

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Offline TCS

Claypool Tunnel, Old US 60
« on: October 24, 2021, 11:04:55 am »
Hey, juuuuust wondering:  Adventure Cycling Southern Tier, Section 2, US 60 between Superior and Globe - is Old US 60 and the Claypool Tunnel still bikehike-able?

This section of US 60 and the Claypool Tunnel were replaced by the Arizona Highway Department with the Queen Creek Tunnel in 1952 and the whole shebang was routed around by Adventure Cycling with a long detour through Jake's Corner and Punkin Center to, I was told, keep from riding through the Queen Creek Tunnel (which seems like a worthy goal).

Information on the 'net dating from 2015 indicates the Claypool Tunnel route was bikehike-able.
"My name is Pither.  I am at present on a cycling tour of the North Cornwall area taking in Bude and..."

Offline John Nettles

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Re: Claypool Tunnel, Old US 60
« Reply #1 on: October 24, 2021, 01:48:44 pm »
I don't know but I have wondered the same thing.

Offline canalligators

Re: Claypool Tunnel, Old US 60
« Reply #2 on: December 15, 2021, 07:04:39 pm »
I just took a look on Google Maps.  Too bad about the dangerous tunnel, the scenery on US 60 is stunning.

Offline staehpj1

Re: Claypool Tunnel, Old US 60
« Reply #3 on: December 16, 2021, 07:42:59 am »
I just took a look on Google Maps.  Too bad about the dangerous tunnel, the scenery on US 60 is stunning.
I assume that would be the tunnel I encountered on the day I rode from Superior to the Apache Gold Casino.  That was 2012 when I was there.  I remember the approach and tunnel as being kind of intimidating with no shoulder and close fast traffic buzzing by.  I don't think it would be as bad on an E-W ST but W-E it was a steep uphill so you couldn't even go fast to try to keep the speed difference with traffic down.  We just gritted our teeh and rode the section, but it was one of if not the most intimidating of the entire ST.  Much worse that others that folks complained more about IMO.  When did the ACA route away from it?

There is more recent stuff online about folks hiking the old route and to the old tunnel.  I bet you could find a lot more info on hiking sites.  It may not be touring specific, but you could most likely find people who hiked it who would be able to advise.  It may be a bit of effort, but if you are in to abandoned tunnels and roads (I kind of am) that might be a bit of a bonus and be considered a worthy side trip rather than just a detour.

Offline John Nettles

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Re: Claypool Tunnel, Old US 60
« Reply #4 on: December 16, 2021, 08:57:27 am »
I just took a look on Google Maps.  Too bad about the dangerous tunnel, the scenery on US 60 is stunning.
When did the ACA route away from it?
Not positive but I think it was about three years ago.  The pandemic has really thrown off my "in the past calendar" since we basically missed 1+ years.

This journal over on CrazyGuy https://www.crazyguyonabike.com/doc/page/?page_id=183184#:~:text=Claypool%20Tunnel%20-%20The%20Claypool%20Tunnel%20%28named%20for,replaced%20by%20the%20Queen%20Creek%20Tunnel%20in%201952 shows how you can take the bypass.  The article states you can not access the bypass/old road from the west end of the tunnel but looking at satellite photos, I would think you could at the entrance to the runaway ramp which is about 1/4 mile to the west of the west tunnel entrance.

I wished the state would have just put up one of those "Bikes in Tunnel" flashing signs like they have in Oregon.  Now it is a much longer "detour".
 

Offline staehpj1

Re: Claypool Tunnel, Old US 60
« Reply #5 on: December 16, 2021, 09:09:27 am »
I wished the state would have just put up one of those "Bikes in Tunnel" flashing signs like they have in Oregon.  Now it is a much longer "detour".
That would be helpful.  It is a pretty nasty tunnel.  Some of the approach is kind of unpleasant too, but flashing sign like you mention would alleviate the worst of the hazzard.

If I were going again I'd look at the cgoab link you provided as well as others and see about using the old tunnel even if it meant a lengthy hike.
« Last Edit: December 16, 2021, 09:14:46 am by staehpj1 »

Offline staehpj1

Re: Claypool Tunnel, Old US 60
« Reply #6 on: December 16, 2021, 09:43:22 am »
This journal over on CrazyGuy https://www.crazyguyonabike.com/doc/page/?page_id=183184#:~:text=Claypool%20Tunnel%20-%20The%20Claypool%20Tunnel%20%28named%20for,replaced%20by%20the%20Queen%20Creek%20Tunnel%20in%201952 shows how you can take the bypass.  The article states you can not access the bypass/old road from the west end of the tunnel but looking at satellite photos, I would think you could at the entrance to the runaway ramp which is about 1/4 mile to the west of the west tunnel entrance.
It looks pretty steep there.  Might be hard to get down to the old road even though it is real close.

It does look like you could walk/ride right up the old road from Superior.  On google maps it looks like you can get on at S Magma and W Heiner.  From there it looks like a couple miles to the old tunnel.  It looks like a fun detour, if you are in to that kind of thing.  I actually wish I had been aware of that option when I was there.  Even if I would have had to carry the bike part of the way it wouldn't have been bad.  It would have been maybe 40 pounds even with full water bottles and I bet I could have ridden some of it even on the skinnt tires I had, pushed most of the rest and maybe carried over just a few short patches if any that I had to.  As long as I dn't have to resort to actually climblig that required using my hands, carrtying would be doable

Offline John Nettles

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Re: Claypool Tunnel, Old US 60
« Reply #7 on: December 16, 2021, 09:52:55 am »
It looks pretty steep there.  Might be hard to get down to the old road even though it is real close.
I based my thinking on this streetview: 
https://www.google.com/maps/@33.3026954,-111.0900367,3a,55.5y,70.79h,92.59t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1sPkjtrkNg1FK0SjEQ_On5Xg!2e0!7i16384!8i8192!5m1!1e3
 
If you look at the photo, you can see the old road curve to the right (going up hill).  If you see where it just starts to curve left around the "hill", you will see another access road coming down from the new road.  According to the overhead satellite view, this access road is just at the entrance to the truck runaway ramp.  I don't think it is that steep but even if it is or is loose, sandy, etc., the walk is fairly short (about 330 feet according to Google).

I'm like you.  I like a little "adventure" occasionally. 

Offline staehpj1

Re: Claypool Tunnel, Old US 60
« Reply #8 on: December 16, 2021, 10:21:49 am »
It looks pretty steep there.  Might be hard to get down to the old road even though it is real close.
I based my thinking on this streetview: 
https://www.google.com/maps/@33.3026954,-111.0900367,3a,55.5y,70.79h,92.59t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1sPkjtrkNg1FK0SjEQ_On5Xg!2e0!7i16384!8i8192!5m1!1e3
 
If you look at the photo, you can see the old road curve to the right (going up hill).  If you see where it just starts to curve left around the "hill", you will see another access road coming down from the new road.  According to the overhead satellite view, this access road is just at the entrance to the truck runaway ramp.  I don't think it is that steep but even if it is or is loose, sandy, etc., the walk is fairly short (about 330 feet according to Google).

I'm like you.  I like a little "adventure" occasionally.
I saw that but thought it might drop 8-10' over big rocks or boulders and might be a little hard to scramble over with a loaded bike.  That is if you are talking about the access coming out of the pull out 90 degrees to the highway:
https://www.google.com/maps/@33.3033483,-111.0878712,99m/data=!3m1!1e3!5m1!1e3

My thought was that bike.hiking 2 miles of abandoned old rt 60 from Superior might be easier.  It is hard to really evaluate either option from google maps though.  To me the hike looks like it is almost certainly doable,  The entrance from the pullout might be easier or might be tough.  Given that that section of the highway was pretty unpleasant traffic-wise climbing out of Superior any way I still think I opt for just hopping on the old road at Superior in either case.  I'd just consider it part of the outing.

As far as the adventure.  That is a good choice of words.  I seldom take the ACA optional spurs, but I do like to discover cool stuff like an old abandoned section of road and a tunnel, a ghost town, a hot spring, or something else interesting, especially if they are not on the ACA maps.  It is especially fun if I learn about it by word of mouth from the locals or another tourist while I am on the road.

Offline John Nettles

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Re: Claypool Tunnel, Old US 60
« Reply #9 on: December 16, 2021, 10:52:57 am »
Since I have not actually ridden it and you have, I will defer to your judgement. 

With the updated route it goes now from Tempe to the junction of AZ-87 & AZ-188 then back down to Globe.  I think a cool alternative (with some gravel) would be taking AZ-88 via Tortilla Flats to AZ-188 then back to Globe. 

NOTE: AZ-88 is currently closed to all cars (bikes allowed) due to a road washout due to a fire scar and rain.  This would definitely be more of a self contained way but it is scenic and there would be no traffic for a decent amount of the ride.  And you would have to hike-a-bike in a couple of places over the washout.  It is anticipated that the road will reopen around October 2022 to cars.  Who knows if they will pave it at that point.  Regardless, once reopened, it would be a nice ride and would save about 40 miles with little traffic but would have about 15 miles of gravel.

Offline staehpj1

Re: Claypool Tunnel, Old US 60
« Reply #10 on: December 16, 2021, 11:06:04 am »
Since I have not actually ridden it and you have, I will defer to your judgement. 
My judgement is only of any help in that I have some experience in evaluating the unpleasantness of the traffic on that section and just maybe a fading inpression of what the area looked like.

Quote
With the updated route it goes now from Tempe to the junction of AZ-87 & AZ-188 then back down to Globe.  I think a cool alternative (with some gravel) would be taking AZ-88 via Tortilla Flats to AZ-188 then back to Globe. 

NOTE: AZ-88 is currently closed to all cars (bikes allowed) due to a road washout due to a fire scar and rain.  This would definitely be more of a self contained way but it is scenic and there would be no traffic for a decent amount of the ride.  And you would have to hike-a-bike in a couple of places over the washout.  It is anticipated that the road will reopen around October 2022 to cars.  Who knows if they will pave it at that point.  Regardless, once reopened, it would be a nice ride and would save about 40 miles with little traffic but would have about 15 miles of gravel.
That sounds interesting.  Probably not too desirable with the tires I was using on that section though.  I started the ST using 23mm gatorskins to wear out what was on the bike and later put on some 25mm gatorskins in east Texas.  The 23mm likely would have been pretty unpleasant on the gravel, maybe requiring a lot of walking depending on the surface.  Even the 25mm would be iffy.  If one were using tires suitable to the gravel that sounds like a nice option though.  With the bike I was on I probably could have run 28mm and been okay for that option.