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These 10 Best Bike Trails in Arizona are Perfect for an Outdoor Adventure

Suny Errot

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There are many people who love to seek adventure. If you are one of those, then maybe you can hop on a mountain bike and hit the trail for a one-of-a-kind experience. In doing so, you’ll reach the relatively untouched areas throughout Arizona, and see the state from a different perspective. You only need to equip yourself with a trusty bike and a great attitude. After that, just enjoy the challenging terrain and dramatic landscapes along the best bike trails in Arizona. Feel free to check these out yourself.

Here are the 10 best bike trails in Arizona that are perfect for an outdoor adventure:

1. Honeybee Canyon Loop

Honeybee Canyon Loop arizona

Source: MTB Project

Say hello to a smooth trail that features lots of singletrack hiking! Honeybee Canyon Loop is perfect if you only want gradual elevation changes in the trail. In fact, it’s recommended for the beginners, as long as you can handle the distance. That said, you better step up your endurance training. The best view will appear just before the halfway point, so while you’re pedaling, you should still be wary of your surroundings.

What to Expect:

  • A smooth yet hard-packed dirt trail.
  • Stick close to the GPS route or use the MTB Project mobile app, as there are plenty of places to go off-route. There are no signs marking the trails here so there’s a chance you might be headed in the wrong direction.
  • After the climb, you’ll be treated to a fast, smooth and fun downhill all the way back the fork. Then, you’ll head back out the way you came in.
    The best place to park at if you want to access this trail is along Oracle Road. Just look for the gravel and dirt parking area.

Honeybee Canyon Loop Details:
Trail Distance: 31.4 km loop
Elevation: 264 m ascent and -263 m descent
Location: Rancho Vistoso Blvd, Oro Valley, Arizona

2. Hangover Trail

Hangover Trail arizona

Source: MTB Project

As if Sedona will ever run out of magical places you can explore. Many say that hitting this trail will prove to be one of the most unique experiences you can have in Sedona. We don’t necessarily disagree with that. Come on, we’re talking about climbing up to a saddle that bisects two large red rock formations rising out of the canyon. It’s so picturesque so it will surely be unforgettable. However, not everyone can actually ride along this trail.

The Hangover Trail is recommended for experienced riders who are willing to take on some risk. This is a serious trail, and you can’t go unless you are 100% confident in your fitness and ability. You should also be comfortable with heights. It’s not the White Line Trail. But overall, this one is intense because you’ll be riding mostly on slick rock and be exposed to the edge of a cliff.

What to Expect:

  • Expect the ride to go over challenging and scary step-ups, roll-offs, and even off-camber sections.
  • You can take a break on the flat saddle, or even contemplate if you want to go back. If you want to go for it, you will need to descend down the rock that hangs over the trail, forcing you close to the edge.

Hangover Trail Details:
Trail Distance: 5.1 km point to point
Elevation: 74 m ascent and -229 m descent
Location: Sedona, Arizona

3. Hawes Trail Network

Hawes Trail Network best bike trails in arizona

Source: MTB Project

Hawes Trail Network is one of the best bike trails in Arizona for a good reason – it has a bit of everything. It’s a scenic ride that will surprise you with moderate to tough and fun climbs, as well as twists and turns here and there. Not to mention, it’s not a rocky trail (at least, if you’re in Phoenix), and is perfect for cross country riders.

You will enjoy magnificent views of the Sonoran desert with the Red Mountain peeking in as well.

What to Expect:

  • You’ll pass by three abandoned mines at the last half of the Saguaro Trail.
  • You have the option to try several connecting trails for more riding options.
  • Some people park behind Walgreens on Power and Recker, then ride across Power Road. You’ll find the Fenceline Trail (be on the lookout for the Las Sendas entrance sign) just past the canal and canal access roads.

Hawes Trail Network Details:
Trail Distance: 18.8 km point to point
Elevation: 296 m ascent and -298 m descent
Location: Superstition Mountains Area, Mesa, Arizona

4. Pemberton Loop

Pemberton Loop az

Source: MTB Project

Some think the best bike trails in Arizona involve a scary and intimidating ride down the edge of the cliff. That’s not always the case. Other times, it’s just a slow climb to the halfway mark before you quickly doubletrack back to the parking lot.

The Pemberton Loop is ideal for beginners because there are many different places you can start it. You may even opt to take the shorter ride by cutting the loop off by several miles. On the other hand, you may also make the trail longer. You don’t need to worry because the desert trail is wide and fast. It’s just a very fun ride that lets you enjoy the best of nature.

What to Expect:

  • You won’t get lost here because the trail is well-marked with signs.
  • Don’t be surprised if you encounter horses somewhere along the trail. There is actually a wild horse population nearby.
  • The Pemberton Loop can be pretty warm in winter, and “un-rideable” in summer.

Pemberton Loop Details:
Trail Distance: 25.3 km loop
Elevation: 242 m ascent and -241 m descent
Location: McDowell Mountain Park, Scottsdale, Arizona

5. 50-Year Trail

50-Year Trail arizona

Source: MTB Project

If you’re looking for a bike trail that has something for everyone, you better head to 50-Year Trail fast. Beginners, intermediate riders, and the most experienced riders can find something to enjoy on this route. Just be on the lookout for snakes during night rides as well as some unexpected ruts.

What to Expect:

  • Hikers say the first part of this trail is relatively easy flat singletrack. You may want to prepare for the second part of the trail because it’s more technical and may require some hike-a-bike.
  • The 50-Year Trail is said to be in a good condition and is very rideable.

50-Year Trail Details:
Trail Distance: 6.1 km point to point
Elevation: 120 m ascent and -17 m descent
Location: Golder Ranch, Tucson, Arizona

6. Schultz Creek Trail

Are you looking for a great uphill grind? Then it’s a good thing that we know the one just for you from the best bike trails in Arizona. The Schultz Creek Trail is a popular trail near Flagstaff that many bikers take to get to Schultz Pass. You’ll be starting at the bottom of Schultz Pass Road before heading up the valley on a steady climb. It will be an incredible ride because you’ll see the Schultz Creek that’s lined with tall and beautiful pine and fir trees.

What to Expect:

  • This trail is not just popular with mountain bikers. Many hikers and dog walkers frequent this area too. Be ready for encounters especially during peak weekend times.
  • There are many playful features to exploit along the trail.

Schultz Creek Trail Details:
Trail Distance: 6.7 km point to point
Elevation: 266 m ascent and 0 m descent
Location: Flagstaff, Arizona

7. Black Canyon Trail

Black Canyon Trail bike trails in arizona

Source: MTB Project

What would a “best bike trails in Arizona” list be without the Black Canyon Trail? This is a completely exciting long-distance singletrack that will take you through the foothills of the Bradshaw Mountains. It actually parallels Interstate 17 and offers expansive views of the Sonoran Desert, including its saguaro forests and rugged canyons. If you’re hitting the Black Canyon Trail, you better prepare for an epic experience!

What to Expect:

  • Advanced riders are recommended to hit the singletrack trail.
  • It’s best if you use and carry a GPS or map so you can easily navigate the different branch trails that lead off of the main route.
  • Gear up. The long downhill sections on desert terrain have some cacti that are generally impossible to avoid.

Black Canyon Trail Details:
Trail Distance: 124.8 km point to point
Elevation: 1,188 m ascent and -2,024 m descent
Location: Phoenix, Arizona

8. Lime Kiln Mountain Bike Trail

The name of the trail is a giveaway of what you’ll see when you hit the trail. There are mostly lime rocks and dust, and probably a few short rollable rock drops. It may surprise you, but this route is known within some mountain biking circles throughout the southwest. It treats its bikers to a picturesque red rock country view that the state has to offer.

What to Expect:

  • This trail is a blast back to the park.
  • You’ll encounter a few steep inclines. The red rock outcroppings may remind you a bit of Sedona.

Lime Kiln Mountain Bike Trail Details:
Trail Distance: 4.2 km point to point
Elevation: 36 m ascent and -90 m descent
Location: Cottonwood, Arizona

9. Sonoran Desert Loop

Sonoran Desert Loop az

Source: MTB Project

Experience all the flats, climbs, and turns you so badly miss when you ride the Sonoran Desert Loop. You’ll enjoy this trail because it’s not so technical, but just gives you the nice terrain balance. The climbs may be a bit challenging, but the flowing downhill ride will be much more rewarding. You can start your ride at the Apache Wash Trailhead in the north section of the preserve.

What to Expect:

  • The climbing sections of the Sonoran Desert Loop are no joke. Your legs may feel like it’s already burning. Just push through and be rewarded by the long flowing downhills.
  • Since this is a multi-use trail, expect encounters with dog walkers, hikers, and horses. If you want to hit the trail when it’s less crowded, you may come here mid-morning on a weekday.
  • You will get a lot of rollers, climbing, tight turns, downhills, and level ground.

Sonoran Desert Loop Details:
Trail Distance: 21.5 km loop
Elevation: 339 m ascent and -338 m descent
Location: Cave Creek, Arizona

10. Cathedral Rock Big Loop

Cathedral Rock Big Loop best bike trails in arizona

Source: MTB Project

Sometimes, you just need to ride your bike and enjoy Arizona’s beautiful scenery. The Cathedral Rock Big Loop is a perfect morning activity for both intermediate and advanced riders. This one has a nice flowy trail, but isn’t short of advanced and technical rock sections. You will surely enjoy the challenge of conquering this ride. And of course, there’s also the beautiful scenery too. The Cathedral Rock Big Loop crosses the Cathedral Rock Trail (for hikers only), so remember to slow down when you’re nearing the crossing point. You may startle or cause injury to some inexperienced hikers.

What to Expect:

  • There are lots of twisting red dirt and rocky areas.
  • The trail will take you along Slim Shady Trail and Templeton Trails, before descending from Cathedral Rock. It’s tricky and you’ll face terrible consequences if you fall. Towards the end, you’ll find comfort in the lush area along Oak Creek, before hitting Baldwin Loop and riding back to Templeton.

Cathedral Rock Big Loop Details:
Trail Distance: 20 km out and back
Elevation: 321 m ascent and -321 m descent
Location: Oak Creek, Arizona

What’s the first trail on your list?

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