Sonoran Long Figure 8

 11 votes
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Featured Ride

10.5 Miles 16.9 Kilometers



1,091' 333 m


-1,082' -330 m


2,032' 619 m


1,616' 493 m



Avg Grade (2°)


Max Grade (9°)



A 10-mile loop through the Phoenix Sonoran Desert Preserve

Pierre Munger


The Sonoran Long Figure 8 is a 10-mile intermediate loop through the Phoenix Sonoran Desert Preserve near 19th Ave & Jomax. Depending on your skill level, you may or may not need to hike-a-bike in spots.

This ride is clear most weekday mornings, and only sees minimal traffic on the weekends. Make sure to watch for hikers and other riders, as there are some blind turns throughout.


Start at the parking lot behind the community center on Desert Vista Drive. From the get go, the trail climbs steeply enough that some riders may need to hike up. Halfway to the summit, the trail separates in two. You can either keep going up or take the trail on the right. I would highly recommend continuing to the top and continuing the ride from there. The climbs this way are harder, but generally shorter, and the descents are a bit longer.

Once you reach the summit of Hawk's Nest, turn left on Dixie Mountain Loop. At the beginning of this trail, a very short climb leads to a long downhill around the mountain. This portion of the downhill is mainly smooth without many tricky sections. Once you learn the trail, you can really fly.

Upon reaching the bottom, the trail levels out for a short distance before reaching a low-grade climb for about 100 feet. At the top of the climb, you'll begin a very gradual downhill that's a good section to rip through. It's got one or two tight turns to look out for, but otherwise, it's very calm and steady. As you near the end of the downhill, continue on the Dixie Mountain Loop. There is an exit for Bobcat but it takes you north towards Dove Valley Drive.

Next is a low-grade climb for a few hundred feet followed by a steep uphill. This section up a mountain reaches the highest point of the ride and may require you to hike-a-bike. Upon reaching the highest point on the trail, the Dixie Summit Trail veers right to the summit of the mountain. This trail is not recommended for mountain biking.

Now that you've crested the mountain, let the downhill begin. The first portion of the downhill is rocky and loose, so keep your brake fingers at the ready. As you continue downhill, a marker for the Valle Verde Trail will appear. Take the Valle Verde Trail left and continue following it downhill. At the bottom is a low-grade downhill that's rather enjoyable. Continue following the trail past the Desert Tortoise trail marker.

Next, you'll reach a junction with the Cactus Wren Trail. I recommend following the left fork of the trail. This is a lower-grade climb with a few descents that lead to very steep but short uphills. While it may sound hard, this is the easiest route. As you come around the top of the steep hill, a low-grade downhill approaches and you end up back at the fork for Cactus Wren Trail.

Head back the same way you came on the Valle Verde Trail until you connect with Desert Tortoise. Turn left on this trail for a slow uphill and then a long "roller coaster" downhill section. The trail ends at the midpoint of Hawk's Nest mentioned earlier. Follow it back down to the parking lot to complete the ride.


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3.8 from 11 votes

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Dec 14, 2016
Iordan Iordanov
did the long great owl and dessert wren 13.4mi
Nov 20, 2016
Neil Turpin
Sep 1, 2016
Nathan Howard
Fun stuff great sunset. 5mi — 6h 00m
Aug 21, 2016
Ryan Rebennack
Did first part counter-clockwise instead - climb was tough 10.3mi
Aug 20, 2016
Lee Timlick
Good variety and beautiful. Lots of cacti pods on the trail, rec tubeless. This is my favorite hardtail XC trail in greater Phoenix right now. 10.5mi — 1h 45m
Apr 8, 2016
Neil Turpin
Jan 12, 2016
Paul Harwood
Nov 25, 2015
Paul Davis

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  3.8 from 11 votes


  3.8 from 11 votes
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A 10 mile loop through the Sonoran Preserve. This trail is clear most weekday mornings, however there is minimal traffic on the weekends. Make sure to watch for hikers and other riders as there are some blind turns throughout. All these, and more photos/videos at Tucson Bike Rentals at Jul 19, 2016

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