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East National Loop

 29 votes

9.7 Miles 15.6 Kilometers



1,086' 331 m


-1,085' -331 m


2,371' 723 m


1,396' 425 m



Avg Grade (2°)


Max Grade (12°)

All Clear

72 days agoUpdate

The reigning king of Phoenix's metro area rides.

Hunter R


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


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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4.4 from 29 votes

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May 19, 2017
Cj Procyk
May 15, 2017
Riley Wicker
Mar 31, 2017
Brian Klimaszewski
awesome! 9.7mi
Mar 25, 2017
Donald Riddle
Trail in good condition. Amazing wildflowers up and back. Great technical ride. Not for beginners. 9.7mi
Feb 20, 2017
Tyler Stewart
Feb 2, 2017
Amy W
Super fun trail!! 9.7mi — 2h 00m
Jan 21, 2017
Andrew Carges
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

Trail Ratings

  4.4 from 29 votes


  4.4 from 29 votes
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All Clear 72 days ago

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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
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

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