The 5 best mountain bike trails in Phoenix, Arizona

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Discover the best Phoenix mountain bike trails to ride around the city from beginner-friendly cross-country singletrack to expert-only routes.
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Full transparency: I have not ridden every mountain bike trail in Phoenix because that would take weeks or even months (did you know that Phoenix is literally surrounded by singletrack???). So that being said, this post is not the end-all-be-all of the best Phoenix mountain bike trails. However, I have ridden close to 60 miles of trail in and around the city so I have a pretty good idea of which ones deserve a shout-out.

Phoenix is pretty underrated when it comes to awesome mountain bike destinations. It’s got everything from high-speed purpose-built flow trails to ridiculously techy rock gardens to jump lines, rock slabs, and epic backcountry riding. And did I mention that the landscape around Phoenix is beautiful? Just watch out for the chollas…

To help you make the most of your trip, here are what I consider the 5 best Phoenix mountain bike trails (I’ll keep updating it as I explore Phoenix further!)

Map of Phoenix Mountain Bike Trails

Best Mountain Bike Trails in Phoenix

1. Diablo North + South

Diablo North and South are arguably the ‘highlight’ trails in the Brown’s Ranch network north of Phoenix. They are cleverly routed to incorporate cool rock features, rollers, and flow. They are rated black on TrailForks, but if you’re an adventurous intermediate I’d say go for it! There might be a few features that you need to walk, but there is nothing extremely high stakes.

The Diablo trails can be ridden in either direction but they’re very different depending on which direction you choose:

South to North = descend most of the features
North to South = climb most of the features

How to link up Diablo North + South

Best of Brown’s Ranch Loop
  • Route difficulty: Intermediate/Expert
  • Mileage: 22.2 miles
  • Elevation gain: 1,371 ft
  • Route directions: Park at Pima Dynamite Trailhead then Pedal up Hawksnest to Buckshot and High Desert Trail. Drop into Diablo North + South then return via Brown Mountain (optional – it’s a big climb), Cloudburst, and Dare A Sarah.
  • GPS/Map: TrailForks

***Note: If you’d rather ride the Diablo Trails south to north (which means descending most of the features), then continue on Divide to the start of South Diablo. Then connect back to the route by taking Stagecoach to Cholla Mtn. Loop.

2. National

This is THE mountain bike trail to do in Phoenix. I wrote up a big post on National here, so be sure to check that out before committing to this ride. One thing to note is that the iconic National trail is only a small portion of the whole National trail. The easternmost three-mile section is the ‘fun’ part.

Riding National does require a pretty hefty climb to the top (about ~1,200 feet), but the descent is worth it! It’s definitely an expert trail, though, so expect some technical rock gardens and plenty of places to go over the bars.

How to link up National

SOMO Rolling Pin
  • Route difficulty: Expert
  • Mileage: 10 miles
  • Elevation gain: 1,446 ft
  • Route directions: Park at Beverly Canyon (or Pima Canyon) then pedal up Javalina Canyon to the Mormon Loop. Take Mormon all the way up to where it connects back into National. Finish climbing up National to Buena Vista Lookout (not the parking lot unless you want to hike-a-bike back up). Then let it rip down National back to the car!
  • GPS/Map: TrailForks

3. Mine

This was an awesome and unexpected find. The Hawes network is still a little bit under the radar, but it’s definitely up-and-coming for superb purpose-built mountain bike singletrack. There are over 50 miles of trail in place already and tons more in the works that should be open to the public within a year or two.

My favorite trail in Hawes is Mine. It starts off with a bit of a climb up and around a rocky crag (that used to be a mine) and then it opens up into amazing views and a steep DH switchbacked descent down to the Salt River. Watch your speed, though, because it’s a popular hiking trail and there are also some tricky turns that come up fast!

How to link up Mine

Hawes Classic CCW
  • Route difficulty: Intermediate/Expert
  • Mileage: 8.3 miles
  • Elevation gain: 1,254 ft
  • Route directions: Park at the North Power area then pedal up Hawes to Saddle or Secret (both good options). Take Saddle up to Mine Shaft then let it loose! To return, connect into Ridge and climb a short way back to the car.
  • GPS/Map: TrailForks

4. K-Trail

The K-Trail: it should be called the U-Trail because there are so many u-shaped turns that sweep in and out of washes and ravines. At first, I didn’t love the K-Trail, but it kind of grows on you. It’s the kind of trail that is best ridden a couple of times before it gets ‘really’ fun.

There are actually two sections of the K-Trail. The northernmost is the ‘black’ rated K-trail, but it could be ridden by an adventurous beginner with a few features walked. The lower K-Trail is blue and suited for all levels of riders – it’s fast and flowy and has a few features on the side to play around on to keep things interesting.

How to link up K-Trail

Gold Canyon Tour de Tech
  • Route difficulty: Intermediate/Expert
  • Mileage: 12.5 miles
  • Elevation gain: 1,188 ft
  • Route directions: Park at Gold Canyon Parking and pedal into Cougar. Either take Cougar all the way up to Lost Goldmine OR get on 2Doo and take a stab at HooDoo IF you are an expert rider. Either way, take Lost Goldmine to K-Trail then hit up Phantom and Tech Loop before dropping back down on K-Trail and Holy Hill back to the car.
  • GPS/Map: TrailForks

5. Hawknest

This is a really great beginner mountain bike trail in Phoenix that passes through amazing terrain in Brown’s Ranch with beautiful views of the surrounding mountains and desert landscape. It’s not a technical trail, but it rolls well which keeps things engaging and interesting even for an advanced rider.

You could ride Hawknest as an out-and-back or there are myriad ways to turn it into a loop. Hit this trail a few days after a rain and it’ll be stunning!

How to link up Hawknest

Hawknest Up Latigo Down
  • Route difficulty: Beginner
  • Mileage: 12.5 miles
  • Elevation gain: 1,188 ft
  • Route directions: Park at Pima Dynamite Trailhead and start pedaling up Hawknest. Take a breather at the Basalt Ridge Overlook then continue on Hawknest to The Divide. Cut over to Cholla Mtn. Loop and make your way down to Latigo Trail which will take you back to the parking area.
  • GPS/Map: TrailForks

Did I miss any? What would you say are the best Phoenix mountain bike trails? Leave a comment below!

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Discover the best Phoenix mountain bike trails to ride around the city from beginner-friendly cross-country singletrack to expert-only routes.

Share it!

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  1. Hi Becky! My husband Anton and I are going to be in town over the holidays. We see that the forecast for Thursday Dec 23rd is rain. We are still hoping to ride the 24th and 25th. What rides would you recommend for just after a rain where we won’t ruin the trail? We typically ride blue.

    1. Hey Rachel! I haven’t specifically ridden Phoenix after a rain, but I would recommend heading to Brown’s Ranch. The soil is sandy, so it should be really good after a rain (unless it’s a heavy rain). I would stay away from South Mountain, FINS, and anything with steeper terrain. Have fun and happy holidays!

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