East National Loop

 16 votes
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Featured Ride
Trail

9.7 Miles 15.6 Kilometers


90%

Singletrack

1,086' 331 m

Ascent

-1,085' -331 m

Descent

2,371' 723 m

High

1,396' 425 m

Low

4%

Avg Grade (2°)

21%

Max Grade (12°)

All Clear

44 days agoUpdate

The reigning king of Phoenix's metro area rides.

Hunter Robertson

Overview

The National Trail continues all the way across South Mountain, but if someone tells you they did the National Trail this is most likely what they mean. The return descent from the Buena Vista Lookout is technical and rocky all the way back to the Pima Canyon Trailhead. On the way up, most people tackle the climbing on this ride by going up the Mormon Loop Trail, arguably the simplest way to get from Pima Canyon Trailhead to Buena Vista Lookout. While it's easier than climbing up the National Trail, it's by no means easy! People do climb National, but the vast majority ride it as a descent only.

To see trials pro Jeff Lenosky clean the National Trail in the uphill direction, check out Trail Boss: Climb the Treacherous Waterfall on Phoenix, Arizona's National Trail!
Dogs: Leashed

Description

From the Pima Canyon Trailhead, ride the wide, smooth Dirt Road to a junction with the National Trail just before a sandy wash. Follow the National Trail across the small wash, past the junction with Pima Wash Trail to your right. At the second junction, follow the signs right to get on the more climbable Mormon Loop Trail.

Follow the signs up the Mormon Loop Trail for quite a ways until it joins the Mormon Trail proper, at which point, take a left. After a few minutes, the Mormon Trail meets up with the National Trail. Turn right to continue up National to Buena Vista Lookout. Many people also go left and descend National from here.

Upon reaching the lookout, be sure to take time to rest, get some water and a snack, and mentally prepare for the demanding technical downhill that awaits on the National Trail. When you're ready, head east on the National Trail, keep left at the sign for Hidden Valley and right at the Mormon Trail. After that, it's more or less a straight shot down to the Dirt Road and the Pima Canyon Trailhead.

You'll find abundant rock gardens, drops in the 2-foot range, and plenty of bigger stuff too. Most of the hardest spots can be hiked down or ridden around, but bring as much suspension travel as you own. And remember that you'll have to make up for anything less than 6" with that much more guts and skillz!

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4.3 from 16 votes


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Check-Ins

Oct 16, 2016
Edward Diaz
Started at Javelina, up Mormon to National. Down National to Javelina, down Javelina to where I began. Total awesomeness, even being "crowded" i... 6.1mi
Apr 6, 2016
brian biang
Feb 23, 2016
Pascal Nobecourt
Jan 25, 2015
Ed Arnold
Nov 10, 2014
Patrick Hall
Jan 5, 2013
Andrew Goad

Trail Ratings

  4.3 from 16 votes

#197

Overall
  4.3 from 16 votes
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Rankings

#14

in Arizona

#197

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3,097 Since Oct 24, 2016
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Conditions


All Clear 44 days ago
Dry: Dry, rock, typical. Fun!
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East National is still "The King," a bunch of us Ultimate Frisbee players dubbed it that back in the mid 80's. Don't pay attention to the write-up, ride up it too. Sep 11, 2014


The king of Phoenix metro area trails. It's a technical and rocky descent from Buena Vista lookout all the way to the main parking lot at the east side. People do climb National, but the vast majority do it as a descent only. See more of these, and photos and videos at Tucson Bike Rentals at tucsonbikerentals.org Jul 19, 2016


Definitely some super difficult sections, I rode it as an out and back from Pima Canyon parking lot. Up is extremely tough from a skill level. I come from Boulder, CO and ride at elevation a lot so the lungs felt fine but you need to have some chops to ride up this section. Down is almost completely doable by someone of my intermediate/advanced skills. I skipped the lower waterfall up and down Oct 21, 2016


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