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Figure 8

Intermediate
 3.9 (14) RECOMMENDED ROUTE

Singletrack through the Sonoran Desert


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Map Key

6.1

Miles

9.8

KM

100%

Singletrack

1,981' 604 m

High

1,615' 492 m

Low

656' 200 m

Up

656' 200 m

Down

4%

Avg Grade (2°)

17%

Max Grade (10°)

Dogs Unknown

E-Bikes Unknown

Features -none-

Overview

The Desert Vista Trailhead offers access to the south end of the Sonoran Desert Preserve Trail system. There are 10 intersecting trails for over 13 miles of singletrack. The system is multi-user, shared between bikes, hikers and equestrians.

Need to Know

The Great Horned Owl trail is somewhat steep in rocky in places and is at an intermediate riding level, but most of the trail is easy/moderate singletrack.

Description

Park at the free Desert Vista Trailhead - 1900 W Desert Vista Trail. The ride starts uphill, covering half of Hawk's Nest. About .25 miles up, take a right on Desert Tortoise. The trail will end at a T-junction, go right on the Valle Verde Trail. There are a couple of looping options available here. On this ride, we took Valle Verde all the way to the Great Horned Owl loop, then took the left-hand (or clockwise) turn. There is a decent elevation gain here, and the climb to the first false summit is fairly steep.

After a nice descent, take a left on Canyon Wren back to Valle Verde all the way to Dixie Mountain loop. At this point, you could have the option to go right for a longer ride back to the trailhead, or take the left on Dixie Mountain for a short ride to Hawk's Nest and back to the trailhead.

This trail system has very clearly marked trail markers with QR scans to see both the color coded trail map and the exact point you are on the map.

History & Background

This area is the newest addition to Phoenix's vast desert preserve system. Purchased with voter approved funds and state grants, the new preserve has added a whole new element to the city's expansive desert preserves -- and we're still adding land.
Much of the Sonoran Preserve is located in the transition zone to the Arizona Upland subdivision of the Sonoran Desert, which has higher amounts of rainfall per year (up to 12.5 inches per year). This increases both the lushness and diversity of plant life. South Mountain, Camelback Mountain and Squaw Peak, on the other hand, are located in the Lower Colorado River Valley, the largest and most arid subdivision of the Sonoran Desert. With only 7.5 inches of rainfall a year, vegetation in these areas is sparser and less varied.

Contacts

Shared By:

Wendy Sweet

Trail Ratings

  3.9 from 14 votes

#1688

Overall
  3.9 from 14 votes
5 Star
50%
4 Star
14%
3 Star
21%
2 Star
7%
1 Star
7%
Recommended Route Rankings

#64

in Arizona

#1,688

Overall
65 Views Last Month
6,576 Since Jan 18, 2014
Intermediate

0%
0%
89%
0%
11%
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Photos

Sonoran sunset in January.
Oct 8, 2015 near Anthem, AZ
Sunrise from Great Horned Owl
Jun 11, 2019 near Anthem, AZ
Plenty of shin-grazing cacti. The Figure 8 loop on a warm October morning.
Oct 16, 2015 near Anthem, AZ
Sonoran Figure 8 - Sonoran Mountain Preserve
Nov 6, 2017 near Anthem, AZ
Intersecting Trailheads Trail V to DT or ride D as a loop
May 2, 2014 near Anthem, AZ
Nice vista and flowing downhill
May 29, 2016 near Anthem, AZ

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Check-Ins

Apr 14, 2020
Milko D
Good trail overall. Easy to go the wrong way so pay close attention to the markers. A bit busy with hikers between 5 30 and 6 30p. 5mi — 1h 05m
Sep 28, 2019
Ben Rakozy
Jun 4, 2019
Brian Kelley
Dec 9, 2018
Chris Hentz
Oct 21, 2018
Nick T
Mar 17, 2018
Matt Armstrong
7mi
Mar 8, 2018
Benjamin Backus
Sep 23, 2017
Jacob Panican
Great ride with the exception, some trails are more technical. 6.1mi