Being one of the least rocky trails in the Phoenix area makes this a great place for the cross country rider. Lots of twists and turns around cacti begging to lay some love on your shins. Very scenic Sonoran desert with picturesque views of Red (McDowell) Mountain.
The last of half of the Saguaro Trail
(aka Mine Trail) passes by three abandoned mines. There are several other connecting trails and routes in the area for more riding options.
Many people park behind the Walgreens on Power and Recker and then ride across Power Road as Recker turns into Eagle Crest Drive. Just past the canal and canal access roads and before the Las Sendas sign the Fenceline Trail
heads north behind the houses.
There is also parking just past the canal after Power Road becomes Bush Highway. If you park here it's closer to access the Hawes Trail
System entrance directly off of Bush Highway.
Most, but not all, of the trails have signs at the intersections.
Starting from the Las Sendas entrance the Fenceline Trail
is a very easy, smooth ride behind the neighborhood houses. You can fly through on the large chain ring here, but be aware that someone coming the other direction may be doing the same thing, and often the tunnels formed by some of the trees and bushes growing over the trail obscure your view as you duck under them.
As soon as you cross through the break in the fence, the terrain starts to get a little more interesting as you come to the first intersection with Hawes Trail
. Continuing straight will take you on a moderately strenuous climb up around the hill in front of you, but going left will be an easier climb with a lot more twists and turns. You'll only be on Hawes Trail
for 0.3 miles before you reach the intersection to Saguaro Trail
on the right (some maps call this Story Trail). Continue the singletrack fun, twisting through some washes as you come to the crossing of the Ridge and Saguaro Trail
. Taking an immediate right will be a short climb up at the start of the Ridge Trail.
After the quick climb and descent it will be a long gentle climb up the Ridge Trail to the intersection with Saddle Trail
. Take a right and follow Saddle trail down and back up out of a valley. As you climb up Saddle Trail
, winding between large boulders, there will be an unmarked intersection. Taking a left will put you on the Secret Trail
that is now one of the more popular and fun trails. There are a few sandy wash bottoms to cross and short climbs, but there will also be picturesque views of Red Mountain. After the final climb will be a rollicking, roller-coaster descent rolling in and out of a downhill wash.
Just after another nice photo op of Red Mountain, the Secret Trail
rejoins the Saddle Trail
at an unmarked intersection. The natural flow of the trail would continue north on Saddle Trail
, which has a steep, challenging descent. Personally I prefer to take the longer route on the left and head back south on the Saddle Trail
, and then retrace the Ridge Trail with a fast, rolling downhill, staying right at the unmarked intersection and taking the short connector trail over to Saguaro.
After the wash crossing on the Saguaro Trail
, there's a strenuous climb up to the top, passing intersections for the Saddle and Twisted Sister trails. Continuing the climb will take you by the first of three abandoned mines. The first mine is the most interesting, as it's a cave that you can climb into for a very short distance. The Mine Trail has some exposed sections that will keep you on your toes. Once you start descending there are some sections that are a little more challenging, either from rockiness or tight switchback turns. There will also be some great views of Red Mountain, Salt River, and Four Peaks.
The Saguaro Trail
ends as it connects with the Granite
Trail. Much of the Granite
Trail has been slightly rerouted in recent years to get it out of the sandy bottom of the wash. After 0.4 miles it connects with the Ridge Trail. Either direction will get you back, but going right will send you up another moderate climb with another postcard view of Red Mountain.
The descent from here is another rollicking good time all the way down to the bottom of a normally dry wash, followed by a short, steep climb up to Hawes Trail
with Bush Highway just off to your right. Right at the intersection will take you out to the road, but that's no fun, so go left for some ups and downs and one short exposed rocky section as you follow Hawes (some maps refer to this section as Pig Trail) south all the way until you are heading back on the Fenceline Trail
, re-tracing your path back to the parking area.
Most of the trails were built by mountain bikers, so naturally there are a lot of fun twists and turns. Development ate up some of the original trails, but there are still plenty of miles of great singletrack. Tonto National Forest adopted the trails a few years back and has put up some signs on most of the official trails.