Desert Classic, South Mountain Park

South Mountain GPS tracks from Dave Wissenbach Desert Classic kmz file.  You must have Google Earth installed for this file to work. Desert Classic reviews on MTBR South Mountain TOPO by Dale Wiggens Desert Classic on YouTube


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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-East to West
Desert Classic elevation profile. Westbound from Pima to the Desert Foothills lot

And a shout out to Brazen Cycleworks for the cool video on YouTube.

South Mountain Trail Guide phoenix.gov

Trails Nearby: Javelina, Mormon/National Loop

Desert Classic at South Mountain

{ 2 trackbacks }

MTBikeAZ.com » I Rode a Goat on Desert Classic
November 19, 2008 at 9:21 pm
MTBikeAZ.com » AZ Meets UT
February 20, 2009 at 11:10 am

{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Tyson Dale September 22, 2008 at 3:17 pm

The Desert Classic Trail is quick and fun. Ride the Desert Classic trail to Telegraph trail and carry your bike up the hill and come back down on the National Trail. Gets pretty narly over the rocks. Have fun!

Jerome March 25, 2010 at 8:12 pm

I live in Flagstaff and we stay at my mother in-law’s over the holidays and on weekends in the winter, she lives just off the Warner/Elliot loop. So I get to ride the DC and it is a blast. Tyson mentions going up Telegraph and down National, highly recommended, especially on Thanksgiving and Christmas days.

Andrea January 3, 2012 at 1:15 pm

Just tried this trail out for the first time yesterday (I’m pretty new to biking). It was really fun! I’ve been riding mostly the Usery Park trails so this was more technical than I’m used to but I had a blast! I will definitely be going back

Lance March 9, 2012 at 11:35 pm

Sorry but this trail sucked. When you pass several cyclocross bikes on your way out you know you should have brought your Segway and not a bike. The decent down Telegraph is another story :)

WntSolstice March 29, 2012 at 1:34 pm

Fun trail, easy, simple. Good for riding with older kids/family.

Not for people like Lance, who failed to notice the lack of double black diamonds :D

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