Guide Mountain Bike Trails in Arizona

(Last Updated On: April 28, 2022)

Arizona has a lot of great outdoor activities you can partake in. From hiking to biking, you can find plenty to keep you active while in the state. If you are interested in getting some mountain biking while in Arizona, there are some hot spots you should definitely check out.

Best Mountain Bike Trails in Arizona

broken arrow trail

The best trails for mountain biking in Arizona include:

Hangover Trail

While only three miles long, this trail is a definite challenge. You need to be a serious, experienced rider to handle the large climb and steep drops. The scenery you will see makes it worth it, but you can get seriously hurt if not careful.

Hiline Trail

A much more technical ride, you will be climbing up steep rocks and risk serious drops on this 3.1 mile trail. It is one of the most unique trails in Arizona, and has lots of amazing views. It is recommended though that you don’t attempt this 10-mile lollipop trail without a guide as there are a lot of cliff edges throughout. The beginning of the trail especially is rather steep.

50-Year Trail

With a name like 50-Year trail, you may be expecting something longer for the 20 miles you get with this trail. However, this single track trail will make up for it in scenic views, rock climbs, and diverse terrain. Great for beginners, advanced riders or anyone in between, you’ll find just the right balance of fun and challenge on this trail.

Slim Shady Trail

While you may be picturing a certain rapper right now, he is sadly not involved in this journey. Instead, you will experience a more leisurely ride compared to some of the other trails on this list. It is only 2.5 miles and is great for beginners. There’s not a lot of elevation and the trail will take you past smaller trees.

Schultz Creek Trail

riding Schultz Creek Trail
image source: Outdoor Project

If you want to experience the forest side of Arizona, Schultz Creek trail is going to provide that. It is a 25- mile ride that brings you through the Coconino National Forest, and is best experienced during the summer months. There are fantastic views and lots of uphill and downhill riding and you’ll also see your fair share of hikers too.

National Trail

If you are interested in challenging your endurance, the National trail in Phoenix is your best bet. This trail is 14 miles long and cuts through the South Mountain, providing you with a need to also use your climbing abilities and technical skills.

Broken Arrow Trail

Encompassing Chapel Trail, Pit Trail, and Hog Heaven, this is by far the most famous trail in Sedona. The views offered are stunning, but the trail gets more and more difficult the further in you go.

Black Canyon Trail

Known as one of Arizona’s best riding experiences, the Black Canyon trail has something for everyone. It spans over 80 miles and goes from the Sonoran Desert to the Prescott National Forest. From stunning views to a wide range of terrain for all experienced riders, you’ll come to understand why this is well loved as one of the best biking trail in Arizona.

Sonoran Desert Loop

Just over 13 miles long, this trail does not require a lot of technical riding. While easier, it does pose a different kind of obstacle in the form of hikers and horseback riders also on the trail.

Chuckwagon Trail

If you are willing to deal with some hikers and more leisurely adventurers at the start, you can get a good intermediate level ride at Chuckwagon Trail. There is a good mix of red dirt, small cliffs, stream crossings, and slick rocks.

Hawes Trail

Roughly 11.2 miles long, this trail is mostly single track, but does offer some variety. It is not too rocky, but has lots of twists and turns and cacti you need to watch out for.

Mescal Trail

A pretty short ride, this two-mile trail is quick, but by no means for beginners. The scenery is fantastic and great for pictures, but the terrain is challenging and the rocks are slick.

Arizona Trails Biking Tips and Guide

Some of the things you need to consider when mountain biking in Arizona include:

The Weather: The heat in the Arizona desert is by far one of the biggest things you need to consider. But Arizona has a variety of weather issues, making it important to always check the weather before you head out.

The Wildlife: While there are not bears or wolves that you need to worry about, there is dangerous wildlife you need to consider while you ride. These threats come mainly in the form of poisonous insects and snakes, including a rattlesnake. You need to keep a close eye out for these threats, and make sure to protect yourself and those you are with.

Your Gear: You want to make sure that the gear you are bringing, and the gear you are wearing, all work to improve your chances of a successful ride. This includes making sure you have a hydration pack, thick clothing that still allows airflow, and a proper helmet. You should bring plenty of water, a snack, and a light jacket to protect you from any rain that may fall. Also include at least a basic first aid kit and a way to communicate if there is an emergency.

Your Bike: You should always get a tune up before you head out mountain biking and make sure everything is in good working order. You should also make sure your bike is either a hardtail cross-country bike, or an all-mountain/ enduro full- suspension bike.

The Time: The time you go also matters when it comes to weather conditions and safety. To help you avoid the heat, you want to aim for a 5am wake up to get out early. You should also look into going in the winter months, between November and April when it is cooler.

Conclusion

Don’t risk your day on some trail you hear is good from random passersby. Go with the sure thing and choose one of the trails listed above. This will not only help you find something that matches your skill level, but will allow you to get the most out of each ride by knowing what to expect.