A lot of mountain bikers have heard of Fantasy Island, the trail network down in Tucson. But there is also an area called Fantasy Island North Singletrack (FINS) in Phoenix that is worth checking out as well.
FINS is kind of like the misfit of Phoenix mountain biking. It’s quirky, it’s unique, and it can be a little bit vindictive if you get on the wrong trail.
But I love FINS. It has a locals-only, bootleg trail kind of vibe and it keeps you on your toes. Whether you’re struggling up Exposure Grunt, trying to figure out where you are (it’s legitimately a maze), or unexpectedly finding yourself on the Boneyard rock garden, FINS is a cool place to check out for a day.
I’ve ridden all the trails at Fantasy Island North Singletrack and here’s everything you need to know about planning your ride there.
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Where is Fantasy Island North Singletrack?
Fantasy Island North is located in southwest Phoenix, technically in the ‘city’ of Goodyear. It’s set in the middle of a housing development.
The first time I visited, I was a little worried that FINS would get shut down and the available space be turned into cookie-cutter houses, but I think that Estrella Regional Park has adopted the trails and that they are here to stay (yay!).
Where to park
The parking and riding at FINS is free, no fees are required.
Why Mountain Bike at FINS?
FINS is a unique place to ride in Phoenix. It’s kind of like a jumble of all the trail networks around the city. It’s got a little bit of desert riding, some rock garden tech, a steep and very loose climb, a great lookout, and a variety of descents.
Here are a few main reasons to head to FINS for a spin:
Important things to know
Before you commit to a ride at FINS, here are a few things you should know about mountain biking there:
Best trails to ride
So what trails should you ride? Fit and experienced riders can get all – or most – of the trails in on one big ride, but if you’re just looking for the cream of the crop, here are (what I consider to be) the best trails at FINS:
Note: FINS isn’t the most beginner-friendly place to ride in Phoenix. The trails are rocky and loose and there are some technical stretches on most of the blues. If you’re a beginner, head over to my post on the Best Beginner-Friendly Mountain Bike Trails in Phoenix.
- Harv’s Howl – a short, fun downhill that can easily be lapped by climbing back up Kim’s Climb.
- Kimurel’s Hurl – probably the most popular trail at FINS. It says ‘expert-only’, but it’s a solid intermediate trail with some wood bridges, dodgy jumps, and bermed turns.
- Muriel’s Mile – A nice cross-country pedal.
- Exposure Grunt – Split this trail into two sections: the western (switchbacked) section is better as a descent. The eastern (traverse) section is mostly used as a climb to get to the Northstar lookout. The climb is very loose, technical, and challenging.
- Northstar – A beautiful ridgeline trail that takes you to a nice lookout.
- Boneyard – My favorite trail at FINS. It’s short, but packs a lot in!
- Tiki Man – A moderately fun descent with tight switchbacks
As I mentioned above, it’s pretty hard to follow a pre-planned route at FINS. The trails are short and there are a lot of lefts and rights.
That being said, it’s good to have a general idea of what route you’re going to do because a number of the trails are best ridden in one direction.
Below is a good intro to FINS route.
FINS Greatest Hits
This route hits most of the trails at FINS in the proper direction. If you want to make your ride harder/longer, see below on how to add Exposure Grunt and Northstar.
Ride it for:
- A bootleg trail network feel
- Some of the best west-side riding
Need to know:
- You’ll probably get turned around
- Harvs Howl & Kimurel’s Hurl are downhill-only
Route directions: FINS Trailhead Parking > Northeast Passage > Muriel’s Mile > Kim’s Climb > Harvs Howl > Joey’s Jaunt > Spent Spade > Mark’s Meander > Exposure Grunt > Kylie’s Cross > Brian’s Brink > Wayne’s World > Rusty Rake > Kimurel’s Hurl > Muriel’s Mile > Boneyard > Tiki Man
Make it shorter: A great way to make this route shorter is to descend down Bluff Trail, which is arguably more fun than completing the full Pemberton Loop
Make it longer and harder: If you’re up for a technical climb on loose sidehill, it is worth taking Exposure Grunt to Northstar.
What to wear & pack
There’s nothing too technical or backcountry at FINS, so you’ll just want to make sure you have your mountain bike pack essentials and enough water for a 2-3 hour ride.
If you’re newer to mountain biking and want some gear recommendations, check out these posts:
Looking for a new helmet?
Protect your precious noggin. If you’re in the market for a new mountain bike helmet, I recommend the Giro Manifest.
At over $250, I get that it’s not the most budget-friendly helmet out there, but after using it for two seasons, I can say that it is the best helmet I’ve tried.
It’s lightweight, has great ventilation, fits well (for me), and is comfortable to wear even on long rides. I barely know that I have it on.
But what about safety? The Manifest is designed with Spherical MIPS technology, which means that it helps prevent injury from rotational forces when you crash (think your head getting rolled around on rocks).
I love it and I think you will, too!
Ready to tackle FINS? I hope this post gives you all the info you need to head out to Goodyear for a fun day at Fantasy Island North Singletrack.
It’s a unique place to ride with a local’s vibe and some fun trails to explore. I hope you like it as much as I do!
Looking for some great riding around Phoenix? Check out these other mountain bike networks to explore:
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Have you checked out the trails at FINS? What did you think? Are they worth spending a day at? Leave a comment below!