Desert Classic, South Mountain Park
View Desert Classic at South Mountain in a larger map
It’s called classic for a reason. Desert Classic, known affectionately as DC by locals, is one trail with many faces. As in many faces on the trail. It is a regular hike, bike and run for the masses. DC calls riders at all hours of the day; before work, during lunch, after work and even at night.
I’d been living in Phoenix more than seven years before I finally ventured out to Desert Classic at South Mountain. I’ve been riding South Mountain for years, but never opted to ride the classic. From what I read it was the “easy trail” on SoMo and that’s all I knew about it.
Whether the trail is easy or not all depends on your fitness and skill. Yes, this trail is a piece of cake, compared to National, but it’s still fun, fast and furious and a singlespeeder’s hammerfest.
The most traveled section of DC is the east end from the Pima lot. Bikers, hikers ride out as far as they have time, then turn around and head back. The full trail is about 9 miles long complete with spurs and other optional loops to really spice up the ride.
My favorite section of DC is the West end from the Desert Foothills lot. It’s more technical out West and closer to Helipad and Goat. Two of my favorite spurs.
Be prepared to practice trail etiquette out on Desert Classic, it gets crowded out there–especially after work before sunset.
Desert Classic elevation profile. Westbound from Pima to the Desert Foothills lot
South Mountain Trail Guide phoenix.gov