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East National Loop

 4.6 (45)
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9.7 Miles 15.6 Kilometers



1,042' 317 m


-1,041' -317 m



Avg Grade (2°)


Max Grade (11°)

2,363' 720 m


1,398' 426 m


Shared By Hunter R


All Clear 15 days ago
Dry History

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The reigning king of Phoenix's metro area rides.

Hunter R

Dogs Leashed

Features eMTB allowed


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!


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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Mar 6, 2019
Joe Silva
Mar 5, 2019
Jan 12, 2019
Steven Spicka
Dec 1, 2018
Jacalyn Clawson
Nov 4, 2018
Blake Stallworth
Oct 10, 2018
Andrew Kaluza
Damn awesome trail (Very Technical) 5mi
Sep 15, 2018
Jeff Hauser
Aug 12, 2018
Reid Archibald

Trail Ratings

  4.6 from 45 votes


  4.6 from 45 votes
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in Arizona


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Anonymous User
Anonymous User  
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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