MTB Project Logo

East National Loop

 36 votes

Length

9.7 Miles 15.6 Kilometers


90%

Singletrack

Elevation

1,086' 331 m

Ascent

-1,085' -331 m

Descent

4%

Avg Grade (2°)

21%

Max Grade (12°)

2,371' 723 m

High

1,396' 425 m

Low

Conditions


All Clear 28 days ago
Dry History

Getting forecast...

The reigning king of Phoenix's metro area rides.

Hunter R

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!

Contacts

You & this Featured Ride


Rate Quality


   Clear Rating

Rate Difficulty

Get On-Trail Navigation

Send to Phone
Your Check-Ins

Check-Ins

Apr 13, 2018
Steve Gerber
Apr 11, 2018
Jason Douglass
Apr 6, 2018
Derek Lindberg
Mar 27, 2018
Jorden Whicker
Did not do the entire loop. Climbed up Mormon Loop then connected to National where I started heading back to the trailhead. Great, quick, fun loop! 6mi — 0h 55m
Mar 16, 2018
Mandy Mae
Mar 4, 2018
Karl Phelps
Jan 16, 2018
Desi Hollingsworth
7.9mi
Jan 6, 2018
Steve Montano
8mi

Trail Ratings

  4.5 from 36 votes

#152

Overall
  4.5 from 36 votes
5 Star
53%
4 Star
42%
3 Star
6%
2 Star
0%
1 Star
0%
Rankings

#13

in Arizona

#152

Overall
228 Views Last Month
6,961 Since Oct 24, 2016
Difficult Difficult

0%
0%
3%
6%
84%
6%

 
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
Michael Turner
Boulder, CO
Michael Turner   Boulder, CO
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

MTB Project is part of the REI Co-op family,
where a life outdoors is a life well lived.

Shop REI Mountain Bike

MTB Project is supported by

Support Your Local IMBA Chapter