Local Rides

Looking for some great local trails…..

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MORE LOCAL RIDES

Places to Ride in Arizona

In the Phoenix Metro Area:

South Mountain Park/Preserve

(Trail Guide)

At over 16,000 acres, South Mountain Park/Preserve often is referred to as the largest municipal park in the country. It boasts 51 miles of primary trails for horseback riding, hiking and mountain biking for all ability levels. The park/preserve’s main entrance is open from 5 a.m. to 10 p.m. Hours vary at other trailhead locations; check the hiking map for specific hours.

*The Fact that it is a preserve means YOU MUST STAY ON DESIGNATED TRAILS !

The creation of “spider trails” — trails off the designated trail — is not allowed.  This is becoming a concern on the widely used National Trail. Ride the trail the way it was designed to be ridden.

North Mountain Park

(Trail Guide)

At 2,104 feet, North Mountain is a landmark Phoenix peak in its own right. The North Mountain area offers more than summit climbs; an array of trails of all levels of difficulty offers something for everybody. North Mountain Park is open from 5 a.m. to 11 p.m. and offers trailhead parking and reservable picnic ramadas. Check the trail guides for hours at specific trailheads.

Papago Park

(Trail Guide)an MBAA racing venue

With its otherworldly sandstone buttes, Papago Park has graced the city of Phoenix park system since 1959. Papago’s trails are generally easy treks with little elevation gain making it a great place for a family hike or to hone your mountain biking skills. The park is open from 5 a.m. to 11 p.m.

Short Track At Papago — Good practice for the Cross Series and the Papago Peddler

May 1 – August 31. Every Tuesday night throughout the summer there will be a chance to race with your friends and neighbors in a free, semi-competitive friendly mountain bike ride. We meet at the footbrige in Papago Park at 6pm. Expect to ride hard for about 30 minutes. The design of the courses allows for all skill levels, with a minimal chance of getting lost. After that, we retire to a local Tempe watering hole and drink a beer or two.

Races: Every Tuesday (rain or shine… or should I say during monsoons or heat advisories)

Course: To be anounced through e-mail list ( join e-mail list)
Start is at the footbridge: be there by 6:30pm. Start time is 6:35.

The Courses: Lopiano Loops, PapagoGo Out’n Back, Coyote Grande, Tempe Long Loop 

White Tank Mountain Regional Park

(Trail Guide)an MBAA racing venue

Nearly 30,000 acres makes this the largest regional park in Maricopa County. Most of the park is made up of the rugged and beautiful White Tank Mountains on the Valleys west side. The range, deeply serrated with ridges and canyons, rises sharply from its base to peak at over 4,000 feet. Infrequent heavy rains cause flash floodwaters to plunge through the canyons and pour onto the plain. These torrential flows, pouring down chutes and dropping off ledges, have scoured out a series of depressions, or tanks, in the white granite rock below, thus giving the mountains their name.

Competitive Track

White Tank Mountain Regional Park offers an approximately 10-mile Competitive Track in addition to its trails. The Competitive Track is designed to provide challenging, strenuous, and high-speed outdoor recreation for individuals, groups, and organized events. All competitive tracks are multiple-use. They are designed for cross-country runners and joggers, fast bicyclists and racers, and trotting/galloping equestrians and endurance riders.

Trails

White Tank Mountain Regional Park offers approximately 25 miles of excellent shared-use trails , ranging in length from 0.9 mile to 7.9 miles, and difficulty from easy to strenuous. Overnight backpacking, with a permit, is allowed in established backcountry campsites. Day hikes can provide some breathtaking views of the mountains and panoramas of the valley below. Horseback and mountain bike riders are welcomed, although caution is stressed as some of the trails may be extremely difficult.

Estrella Mountain Regional Park

(Trail Guide)an MBAA racing venue

These 19,840 acres of desert and mountains became the first regional park in the Maricopa County Park System in 1954. Located near the meeting of the Gila and Agua Fria Rivers in the southwest Valley, the park includes a large wetland, or riparian, area. The majority of the park remains pristine desert, very similar in appearance to the landscape seen by the first settlers and explorers. The Sierra Estrella range, or Star Mountains, was once within the Mexican border, and remained so until the Gadsden Purchase in 1853. Today, many amenities are available to visitors, including the only grass picnic area in the Maricopa County Park System.

Competitive Track

The third competitive track in the Maricopa County Regional Park system, located in Estrella Mountain Regional Park, was completed in February 2000. The track consists of two loops totaling 13 miles. The long loop is 8 miles and is challenging, but may be used by persons of all skill levels. The technical loop is 5 miles and is recommended for experts only.

All of the competitive tracks are primarily used by Mountain Bicyclists, but are also used from time-to-time by cross country runners and “endurance” horse riders. The tracks are designed for high speeds, racing events and fun. They feature steep climbs, and drops, fast corners, twists and turns and rugged rocky terrain.

Development of the Estrella Track was made possible through a partnership with Phoenix International Raceway. Construction crews from PIR built access and service roads, parking lots, and a nearby Group Campground.

Competitive Track Map  (467 kb)

(Always check with the Park Office for camping reservations.)

Trails

Estrella Park offers over 33 miles of trails for hiking, mountain biking, and horseback riding. Park Trails range in length from 2.3 miles to 8.8 miles and range in difficulty from easy to strenuous. If you are looking for an easy, relatively short hike, the 2.4 mile Baseline Trail is recommended. If you are looking for a long, all day hike, the Pederson Trail encompasses 8.7 miles.

Hiking and riding trails are easily accessible via trailheads located at the arena and amphitheater. A mountain bike trail brochure that categorizes trail difficulty is available at the park office. Visit Estrella’s Trails page for a complete list of trails and distances.

All trails are multi-use unless otherwise designated. All trail users are encouraged to practice proper trail etiquette.

Always remember to carry plenty of water and let someone know where you are going.

McDowell Mountain Regional Park

(Trail Guide)an MBAA racing venue

Nestled in the lower Verde River basin, the 21,099-acre park is a desert jewel in the northeast Valley. Elevations in the park rise to 3,000 feet along the western boundary at the base of the McDowell Mountains. Visitors enjoy a full program schedule, over 50 miles of multiuse trails, and spectacular views of the surrounding mountain ranges. A stroll through the park will allow visitors to likely see deer, javelina, birds, and coyotes.

Competitive Track

On January 10th 1998 McDowell Park opened the 1st of 3 loops of a new competitive track at the park. Today, the track offers three loops totaling 15 miles: one for the experts, one for intermediate riders, and one for the average rider. Each loop offers a variety of obstacles to test the riders skills. The track consists of steep inclines, swooping turns, technical descents, and rugged terrain. This competitive track is geared for mountain bikers who want to test their skills as riders. Joggers and equestrian riders are welcome to give the track a try too. The Long Loop of the track was designed for the average rider but is used by all. The Sport Loop is for intermediate riders and experts. The Technical Loop is for the expert rider. This portion of the track offers swooping turns, very technical descents, and steep inclines.

Construction of the track began with a generous donation from Specialized Bicycle Components, Inc. Numerous volunteer groups including the Mountain Bike Association of Arizona, Boy Scouts of America, Girl Scouts of America, Greenway Middle School National Honor Society and various other volunteers have worked to construct the track loops. The Parks and Recreation own construction crew installed the parking lots, access roads and other support facilities.

The McDowell Mountain Competitive Track was the site of the 1998 and 1999 Cactus Cup Race. Over 2,500 racers participated in the 1998 Cactus Cup race. Over 30,000 spectators watched the event. The track will continue to be the race site of many competitive events each year.

Trails

McDowell Mountain Regional Park offers over 40 miles of hiking, mountain biking, and horseback riding trails. Park Trails range in length from 0.5 miles to 15.3 miles and range in difficulty from easy to strenuous. Those looking for an easy hike should try the North Trail at 3.1 miles. Those looking for a good workout for themselves or their horses should try the Pemberton at 15.3 miles. Always remember to carry plenty of water and let someone know where you are going.

All trails are multi-use unless otherwise designated. All trail users are encouraged to practice proper trail etiquette.

Always remember to carry plenty of water and let someone know where you are going.

Usery Mountain Regional Park

(Trail Guide)

Located on the Valley’s east side, this park takes in 3,648 acres set at the western end of the Goldfield Mountains, adjacent to the Tonto National Forest. The park contains a large variety of plants and animals that call the lower Sonoran Desert home. Along the most popular feature of the park, the Wind Cave Trail, water seeps from the roof of the alcove to support hanging gardens of Rock Daisy. The Wind Cave is formed at the boundary between the volcanic tuff and granite on Pass Mountain. Breathtaking views from this 2,840-foot elevation are offered to all visitors.

Usery Mountain Regional Park offers over 29 miles of trails for hiking, mountain biking and horseback riding. Park trails range in length from 0.2 miles to over 7 miles, and range in difficulty from easy to difficult.

If you are looking for an easy, relatively short hike, the Merkle Trail is berrier-free. If you are looking for a long more difficult hike, try the 7.1-mile Pass Mountain Trail. Another visitor favorite is the Wind Cave Trail, that reaches high onto the mountain side and allows hikers onto the adjacent Tonto National Forest.

The trails within the Usery Mountain Regional Park are very popular because they have enough elevation to offer spectacular vistas of surrounding plains. Whether you are looking across the plain, flat land, south of the recreation area, or to the west or north great distances or surrounding mountains can be seen and enjoyed.

All trails are multi-use unless otherwise designated. All trail users are encouraged to practice proper trail etiquette.

Always remember to carry plenty of water and let someone know where you are going.

San Tan Mountain Regional Park

(Trail Guide)

Consisting of over 10,000 acres, the southeast Valley park is a fine example of the lower Sonoran Desert. The park ranges in elevation from about 1,400 feet to over 2,500 feet. Goldmine Mountain is located in the northern area, with a spectacular San Tan Mountain escarpment in the southern portion of the park. The vegetation changes from creosote flats to dense saguaro forest. Various types of wildlife may be observed, including reptiles, birds, and mammals. Amenities are slated for future development.

San Tan Mountain Regional Park also has a Visitor’s Center. Don’t forget to stop by the Visitor’s Center to pick up educational tidbits, purchase souvenir items, visit with park staff, and see the wildlife exhibits or tortoise habitat. Restroom facilities are available and additional amenities are slated for future development.

San Tan Mountain Regional Park offers over eight miles of trails for hiking, mountain biking and horseback riding. Park trails range in length from 1.1 miles to over 5 miles, and range in difficulty from easy to strenuous.

If you are looking for an easy, relatively short hike, the Moonlight Trail is the perfect choice, as it provides a scenic and rather mild hike for all to enjoy. If you are looking for a longer more difficult hike, try the 5.1-mile San Tan Trail. This trail winds you through the Broken Lands and Central Valley portions of the park to the top of the Goldmine Mountains. In addition to its length, some may consider the San Tan Trail some areas due to washes, soft soil and slick or rocky steep mountain slopes. We encourage hikers, mountain bikers and horseback riders to use extreme caution in these areas. Another visitor favorite is the Malpais Hills Trail as it displays a unique perspective of Rock Peak and the Malpais Hills. Don’t forget to keep an eye out for wildlife such as javelinas, coyotes, and Gila Monsters!

The trails within the San Tan Mountain Regional Park are very popular because they offer a unique perspective of the lower Sonoran Desert with wonderful wildlife, plant-life and scenic mountain views. Whatever your heart desires, San Tan Mountain Regional Park has a trail to fit your hiking, biking or horseback riding needs.

All trails are multi-use unless otherwise designated. All trail users are encouraged to practice proper trail etiquette.

Always remember to carry plenty of water and let someone know where you are going.

Cave Creek Regional Park

(Trail Guide)

Located north of Phoenix, this 2,922-acre park sits in the upper Sonoran Desert. Ranging in elevation from 2,000 feet to 3,060, this desert oasis provides any hiker and equestrian majestic views. The Go John Trail loops around a mountain to provide the illusion of being miles away from civilization. In the 1870s, fever stricken gold seekers staked their dreams on the jasper-studded hills. Guided trails to these sites give visitors an opportunity to travel back in time.

Cave Creek Regional Park offers over 11 miles of trails for hiking, mountain biking and horseback riding. Park trails range in length from 0.2 miles to 4.8 miles and range in difficulty from easy to difficult.

If you are looking for an easy, relatively short hike the Cholla or Jasper Trail is recommended. If you are looking for a long more difficult hike, try the 4.8-mile Go John Trail.

The trails within the Cave Creek Regional Park are very popular because they have enough elevation to offer spectacular vistas of surrounding plains. Whether you are looking across the plain, flat land, south of the recreation area or looking to the west or north great distances or surrounding mountains can be seen and enjoyed.

All trails are multi-use unless otherwise designated. All trail users are encouraged to practice proper trail etiquette.

Always remember to carry plenty of water and let someone know where you are going.

Spur Cross Ranch Conservation

(Trail Guide)

The newest addition to Maricopa Countys Regional Parks System, the conservation area encompasses 2,154 acres of diverse, rugged upper Sonoran Desert. The north Valley location contains fascinating archaeology sites and lush riparian areas along Cave Creek, which flows throughout the winter months. Remnants of early mining and ranching, from which the park gets its name, are still apparent in the park. This area is a must see for all wildflower lovers in the spring. The abundant vegetation present in the conservation area provides a rich habitat for a diverse assemblage of wildlife.

Spur Cross Ranch Conservation Area offers over seven miles of trails for hiking, mountain biking, and horseback riding. Park trails range in length from 1.2 miles to 4.6 miles and range in difficulty from easy to difficult.

A scenic, but difficult trail, is Elephant Mountain. Designated for hikers and equastrians, this trail leads visitors to the adjacent Tonto National Forest.

The trails within Spur Cross Ranch Conservation Areaare very popular due to the high elevation and dense vegetation.

All trails are multi-use unless otherwise designated. All trail users are encouraged to practice proper trail etiquette.

Always remember to carry plenty of water and let someone know where you are going.

Black Canyon Trail System

(Trail Guide)

A world-class multi-user trail system under development in the Bradshaw Mountain foothills of central Arizona.  Many miles of existing trails are currently shared by motorized and non-motorized users.  The non-motorized trail is being separated from the motorized double-track trail, after which both the motorized and non-motorized trails will be managed as part of the overall trail system.

The non-motorized, single-track trail under construction is designed for use by equestrians, hikers and mountain bikers.  It is approximately 62 miles long, stretching from the Carefree Highway (AZ Highway 74), northward along the base of the Bradshaw Mountains, beyond highway 69 near the town of Mayer to the Prescott National Forest.

There will be ten trailheads conveniently spaced to allow easy access. Several loop trails will provide short duration excursions for users with limited time.  Trail users are constantly rewarded with breathtaking scenic vistas and glimpses of the varied historical activities that have echoed through these hills.

Hawes Loop Trail System

(Trail Guide)

Singletrack trails designed with the mountbiker in mind. There’s nothing too steep or technical about it, it’s just great x-country desert riding. The Mine Loop portion has a bit of climbing, but it’s nothing to fear.

The beauty of this trail is that there are several interconnecting loops…There’s Hawes Trail No. 52, Ridge Trail No. 59, Granite Trail No. 54, Saguaro Trail No. 50, and Saddle Trail No. 51. These trails make up the main body of the system. For some additional adventure you can ride the Twisted Sister trail and the Wild Horse trail. These trails are currently unmarked and are part of the Sonoran Desert Trail System Expansion Project that will designate them as official trails that connect Hawes to Pass Mountain.