“This is a great trail to prep for non-technical riding, and it has it all: flats, climbs, turns.
— Brandon Rolfes
This is not a technical trail, but it really has a nice terrain balance. You'll get a lot of climbing, rollers, weaving around cactus, tight turns, downhills, and level ground. Great views throughout. Recommend going clockwise. The climbs are a challenge but the reward is nice, long, flowing downhills.
Need to Know
This is a multi use trail, so there are hikers, bikers, horses, and dog walkers. If you plan to rip on it, find a time when most people will not be able to use it, like mid-morning on a weekday.
This loop can start/finish from 2 different trailheads. Southern side at Apache Wash TH at 1600 E. Sonoran Desert Dr. or the northern side at Desert Hills TH at 705 W. Carefree Hwy. Please note there is no water available at this trailhead. Please bring adequate supplies for your planned activity.
All parking lot hours 6 a.m. to sunset or 7 p.m. (whichever comes first). The gates lock to go IN at 7 p.m. They lock to go OUT at 11 p.m.
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.
This ride itself isn't overly technical, making this an enjoyable experience for riders of any skill level. This is certainly a leg and lung burner however, as the large amount of climbing will leave you huffing and puffing at times. Enjoy the descents though, as you'll be zipping past cacti, weaving in and out of tight turns, and hurtling over sharp descents and level ground.
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. This was built in Q4 of 2013.