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East National Loop

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 4.6 (58) RECOMMENDED ROUTE

The reigning king of Phoenix's metro area rides.


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Map Key

9.7

Miles

15.6

KM

90%

Singletrack

2,363' 720 m

High

1,398' 426 m

Low

1,042' 317 m

Up

1,041' 317 m

Down

4%

Avg Grade (2°)

19%

Max Grade (11°)

Dogs Leashed

E-Bikes Allowed

Features Drops/Jumps · Views

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!

Contacts

Shared By:

Hunter R with improvements by Morty Rudegar

Trail Ratings

  4.6 from 58 votes

#193

Overall
  4.6 from 58 votes
5 Star
64%
4 Star
29%
3 Star
5%
2 Star
2%
1 Star
0%
Recommended Route Rankings

#12

in Arizona

#193

Overall
131 Views Last Month
14,250 Since Oct 24, 2016
Difficult

0%
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2%
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90%
8%

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

Weather


Current Trail Conditions

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All Clear 17 days ago See History
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Check-Ins

Nov 29, 2020
Mike Schen
Nov 15, 2020
Morty Rudegar
Oct 12, 2020
Tim Heid
first time at somo. super fun trail. 10mi — 1h 30m
Jun 25, 2020
Dillon O
Super techy uphill, slightly big downhill. Be in better shape 6.5mi — 9h 00m
Jun 7, 2020
Mario Tapia
Apr 11, 2020
Brady Is Awesome
Mar 23, 2020
Brandon Traut
Feb 29, 2020
Randy Maner