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East National Loop

Difficult

Trail

9.7 mile 15.6 kilometer loop
90% Singletrack
Difficult

Elevation

Ascent: 1,042' 317 m
Descent: -1,041' -317 m
High: 2,363' 720 m
Low: 1,398' 426 m

Grade

Avg Grade: 4% (2°)
Max Grade: 19% (11°)

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Map Key

Trail shared by Hunter R

The reigning king of Phoenix's metro area rides.

Hunter R

Electric Mountain Bikes Allowed

Features -none-

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!

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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Check-Ins

Apr 11, 2020
Brady Is Awesome
Mar 23, 2020
Brandon Traut
Feb 29, 2020
Randy Maner
Feb 29, 2020
Julien Frolov
took National down to dirt road after climbing Mormon. Very technical decent for me. practice before attempting again 4mi
Oct 1, 2019
Ryan Castro
6.7mi
Jun 7, 2019
Dylan Eggebrecht
Very technical ride 5mi — 0h 36m
May 17, 2019
Lost Justpastnowhere
May 11, 2019
Mando Gonzalez
Did half was fun, busy and good hiking trails. Hiking and biking mixed.

Trail Ratings

  4.5 from 51 votes

#184

Overall
  4.5 from 51 votes
5 Star
63%
4 Star
31%
3 Star
4%
2 Star
2%
1 Star
0%
Ride Rankings

#12

in Arizona

#184

Overall
140 Views Last Month
12,069 Since Oct 24, 2016
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Photos

There's high-fives from hikers and plenty of rocks to smash on National Trail.
Apr 7, 2017 near Guadalupe, AZ
Desert Classic Trail
Dec 25, 2014 near Guadalupe, AZ
Trials pro Jeff Lenosky cleaning the National Trail in his video series, Trail Boss.
Sep 19, 2016 near Guadalupe, AZ
A brilliant sunset behind petroglyph rocks.
May 11, 2017 near Guadalupe, AZ
East national overlooking Phoenix below.
May 19, 2016 near Guadalupe, AZ
South Mountain, Arizona 8
Mar 3, 2015 near Guadalupe, AZ

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