Bikepacking the Queen’s Ransom (Video)

As a way to escape a wet Pacific Northwest winter, Chris Wilson packed his things for the Queen’s Ransom route outside of Phoenix, Arizona, his first bikepacking trip of 2023. Watch a video he filmed along the way here…

Escaping winters in Canada for warmer climates is something many of us can relate to. There’s nothing longer than a wet winter in the Pacific Northwest, and our friend Chris Wilson took the opportunity to travel south to Arizona for a solo trip on the Queen’s Ransom route.

The Queen’s Ransom is a 227-mile bikepacking route around the greater East Valley of metro Phoenix, Arizona. It weaves together many of the area’s popular singletrack trail systems, regional parks, and the Arizona National Scenic Trail amid stunning topography, rolling dirt roads, and challenging terrain. Route creator, John Schilling describes it as a warmup ride for the full Arizona Trail, so it’s no walk in the park.

Chris tackled the route in five days this winter, and he put together a detailed trip video that is incredibly useful for anyone considering it themselves. You can watch the full 34-minute video below, followed by a handful of still images, some words from Chris, and a selection of related posts to learn more about the route.

  • bikepacking queens ransom video
  • bikepacking queens ransom video

Words and photos by Chris Wilson

During the wet and dreary winters in the Pacific Northwest, I find myself day dreaming of riding in the desert. For the first trip of the new year, I wanted somewhere dry and relatively warm, and I was looking to challenge myself by choosing a more singletrack-oriented route. I landed on the Queen’s Ransom, which checked all of my boxes with the added bonus of connecting with the Arizona Trail for a short period, something I have wanted to ride for ages.

bikepacking queens ransom video
  • bikepacking queens ransom video
  • bikepacking queens ransom video
  • bikepacking queens ransom video

Doing this route in January, I was met with an abundance of water and overnight lows in the 20s. I can handle some cold; it’s the heat and the wet that can really get to me. The route had me weaving through towering saguaro cacti, ripping down smooth and flowly singletrack, slowly grinding up rocky terrain along The Arizona Trail, and so much more.

In my experience, this route challenged me in all the right ways. It was the perfect trip kick off the new year. I hope the above video documenting my experience inspires folks to embark on their own challenging adventures. And, for those that have done the route, I hope it brings back fond memories!

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