Arizona Mountain Biking

Visitor Guide

Phoenix Area Trailheads

For trial info and suggested rides, visit the MTBR Arizona Forum sticky Local Riding Advice

If you like epics, Chad Brown has chronicled the top 10 places to visit in AZ (on your bike of course). The pictures alone will make you want to get here.

A great thread popped up on MTBR asking all to rate the difficulty level of the trails in the valley. I think it’s a good place to get a feel for what to ride if you are visiting. Take note that this is MTBR posters collectively rating the trails. They (we) tend to give trails easy Green levels, when in fact a real beginner would think it tough. Case in point. If you are a beginner, do not go off and ride the Long Loop at the Estrellas… it may be Green but it’s long, remote, and has more than beginner sized rocks.

Rental Shop | nearby trails:

Global Bikes Rentals 1-866-91-BIKES | South Mountain (Awatukee)

REI Co-op Experiences (formerly AOA Adventures) | McDowell Sonoran Preserve

Cactus Bikes | South Mountain

Trailhead Bike Shop and Cafe
(They Rent Pivots!) | Phoenix Mountains Preserve and the famous Trail 100

Slippery Pig | McDowell Mountain Park

Good luck.

15 thoughts on “Visitor Guide

  • Gary C

    Mike, Thanks for this great resource.
    I’m visiting the Phoenix area from the UK for a week next November with a bunch of MTB friends.

    I was wondering if you had any advice on a good area in which to rent an AirBnb to give reasonable access to the McDowell Sonoran trailheads, BCT etc. Looking at the trail maps, we were thinking of the central Scottsdale area.

    (Currently dreaming of sun and dry trails from grey and wet London)


  • Daniel

    I’ll be in Mesa for Christmas and wanted to check out Hawes trail system. But I am a trail runner. Is running allowed on those trails? Thanks.


  • Mike Larson

    Greetings from Northern Minnesota. Today’s high – a balmy -4 F. Had a low last night of -22. It’s not bad when it’s a bluebird day and no wind – which really means we are all in denial about our weather up here.

    My wife and 20 year old daughter will be in the Mesa/Scottsdale area last week of March 2014 (March 23-30). I’d like advice on a couple things. 1. Best location for lodging relative to ease of hopping on our Mountain Bikes and pounding down some miles. In other words, since we will be renting a car and bikes, would like to limit running around the valley to some degree – but clearly will drive to ride. Second, we like long distance rides – single track is fine but prefer tote roads, USFS roads, two tracks, etc. We ride 29ers and 20-80 mile routes work for us…..and we like hill climbs. And three, too expensive to ships our bikes so we will rent. Any recommendations. We will bring our pedals, shoes, helmets etc.


  • I am visiting for a few months and would like to try the Hawes trail. I did not bring my mountain bike but have a Trek multitrack. Are there some tails I could try with this bike.
    Another thing is I am looking for a group ride either on or off ride.
    Any help would be appreciated .

    Sent from my iPad

  • Coming south for a few days of warmth, wanting to ride around Yuma. However, I’m not hearing about too much in the way of trails down there. I now about Laguna Mtns and Sugarloaf – anyone know if there’s anything else?

  • Mike,
    Did I mention to you when you came by the shop the other day that we are making our AZ ave and Pecos Global Bikes store location the AZ bike rental superstore? It will be rad! Mountain, Road and hybrids will be available and it’s all online so it limits the paperwork and hassle. Check it out:
    Mark Funicello
    Global Bikes Chandler

  • carterofmemphis

    Hey guys,

    I’m in town for business till sunday morning.

    I need to get some riding in. I usually average about 10 hours a week, I like technical trail, and I’m not afraid of climbing.

    I need to rent or borrow a bike so I can get some miles in, I’l be bringing my pedals, shoes, camelback, and kit. So I’ll be marginally prepared.

    What advice can you guys give?

  • Greg in Michigan

    Will look u up next time I come to Phoenix area. Off to Florida to ride Santos trail this weekend. not nearly as beautiful as the desert but i beats the trail in Michigan in Jan.

  • Thanks Greg. I love hearing from riders in the winter time. Glad I can be your virtual ride while you are stuck on a trainer. Glad to know I have a friend in Michigan! Let me know when you are in AZ again and we’ll ride.

  • Greg in Michigan

    Just wanted to say thanks> Great to see you are riding and posting on your site. I ride and race here in Michigan and have been out to Arizona 6 times in the past 7 years. Hit a couple of AZSFs. Your information has been the best source for riding in the Phoenix area… I have been a fan of your site for a long time>> Really helps me get through winter here seeing the places you ride. If youever want to bike in Michigan and a place to stay you have a friend. Keep it up!!!

  • Chase Granberry

    Hey Mike… a buddy of mine pointed me to your site. I’ve got a buddy sailing from Florida to Australia and he’s going to be documenting the whole thing. He wants to upload daily maps, and I’m helping him figure out how to do that. Yours look really nice so I was wondering if you could share your setup and process. Appreciate it!!

  • Hey Mike- I rode the BCT from the TH on Warner Rd, south around the Little Pan loop and back. Great trail. Amazing wild flowers right now. Gila Monster and a 4 ft Rattler- what a treat! Thanks once again. Brent

  • Hey Mike- I’m staying near Pima & Dynamite, so BCC is much closer so I’m going to give that a try. Your advice and efforts on your site are much appreciated. If you’re ever looking for suggestions for shreddin’ Canadian dirt, drop me a line. Thanks again. BK

  • Brent,

    One more rid eh? One of the best little singletrack secrets is the Alamo Canyon section of the AZ Trail. It starts at the Picketpost TH just west of Superior off the US 60. It’s an 11 mile out-n-back that is amazing. I’ve done 5 miles of the out-n-back and it was gorgeous riding.

    Here are my links with trail info:

    Another option is the Black Canyon Trail. I still gave not ridden it yet, but I hear it is the greatest trail on earth. Beautiful flowing singletrack. Start at Table Mesa TH and head North to Black Canyon City or start at Black Canyon City and head south. There are other options too, heading north from Black Canyon City to Bumblebee. I just haven’t ridden it so I can’t recommend the best route.

    Either of these and you will have a great day with great views.

  • Hi MtBAZ- I’m visiting from Canada and have gotten lots of great advice from your site- thanks a ton. I’ve had a chance to ride the McDowell Mt trails and National Trail. They were both great. I’ve only got time to get out once more on Monday. I was hoping that you might recommend something for me. I’m looking for more great single track, in the 20 mile’ish range. Since it’s my first time to AZ and really, first time in the desert, I’m also interested in local topography, and seeing different areas. Is there anything that jumps out as a “you gotta do this” kinda thing? Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Thanks. bk

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