Trails & Tips

Explore in and around the phoenix area to find some of the best trails. Be it easy or challenging, find bicycle rides in Arizona. Links to trail maps.

Favorite Trails

Hawes Trail System (Tonto National Forest)
The Hawes Loop Trail system in North Mesa is a collection of great singletrack trails that wind and loop through fantastic desert landscape. It is a local favorite that has a little bit of everything for every rider, novice to expert. Across the street, west of Power, is the TRW loop - a great beginner ride (although some parts of the trail do wind through the Reservation, which technically, requires permission to cross).

Access to parking for the Hawes trail system is on the West side of Power, just as it descends to Bush Hwy. (unmarked, unimproved, dirt lot). Look for it on the West side after crossing over the canal.

McDowell Mountain Park (Maricopa County Parks)

These are some of the best trails in the area and very well maintained. It is not as rocky as other Phoenix area trails. It consists of several twisty single track on rolling (and some steep) trails. The surface consists of decomposed granite and small stones which can be challenging, but very fun, especially when turning. Some of the trails are directional, all are very well marked, and they have facilities throughout. Some of the loops are easy, like Pemberton, while others are a little tricky, like the Sport Loop. All are continuously groomed. The park is located just North of Fountain Hills.

Sedona (Coconino National Forest)

Sedona provides some of the best trails in the world. If you live here and mountain bike, you must make a trip to Sedona for a riding adventure.


Trailforks is a mountain biking trail database & management system, supplemented with Pinkbike content. Trailforks is a platform for riding associations to keep track of trail conditions, builders to log work & riders to share and plan their rides. 

Emergency Preparedness

Emergency first aid kit for the road or mountain bike.

When you ride, especially in the desert, it's a good idea to think about first aid and survival. Here is a quick reference guide to help you assemble a good kit when you go out into the desert or a road ride:

  • Water - plan at least one quart (32 ounces - about a liter) per hour, and have some for backup, in case you break down. Water bottles hold 16-24 ounces. A Camelbak© can hold around 100 ounces. See the Camelbak© website for more on hydration. Plan at least 50oz (1.3l) per hour in the AZ weather. (Archer's Bikes is a Camelbak© dealer.)
  • Have a snack in case you bonk - carbohydrates are better on the road than protein
  • A cheap hair comb - used to help pull of cactus and spines (tweezers are good for the small stuff)
  • Antiseptic spray, like Bactine©, to clean scrapes immediately (improves healing time, prevents infection)
  • Several gauze pads (3") to clean wounds and cover them for the ride home
  • Athletic tape to hold the gauze pad in place
  • A repair kit (folding multi-tool, plastic ties, tire levers, spare tube, patches, pump and/or CO2 and $5 to give to someone that stops to help you)
  • An emergency whistle and small red flag to signal for help 
  • Charged cell phone
  • Your glasses or reading glasses
  • Put everything in a gallon freezer bag to keep it all dry

Don't forget your water bottleCamelbak makes bike-specific hydration packs


Repair kit what to carry to fix a flat.

Flat tires are a part of cycling. Every cyclist, from professionals to the complete beginner gets them, but don't fret - a flat tire doesn't have to be the end of your ride. With practice you can change a flat in about 5 minutes and get back on the road. 
When you head out for bike ride, you should always carry the gear needed to fix a flat, every time. Even if you don't know how to change a flat yet, bring these items anyway. Someone else might be able to help you. 

  • A spare inner tube (or two, for longer rides)
  • Tire levers
  • Pump or CO2 cartridge
  • Wrench to loosen your axle nuts
  • Before you start out on a ride, check your tire pressure and make it at least the rating listed on the side of the tire. 

If you want to avoid most flats, 
Desert-Proofing your tires is a good investment. It provides three layers of protection, Slime tire sealant, a heavy duty tube, and a lightweight plastic liner. The Slime will seal any small punctures, the heavy duty tube works with the Slime to make a good barrier and better sealing and the liner guards against sharp objects. Our desert-proof option includes the Slime, tube, liner and installation.

Tire levers to take off tireHandy wrenchesCO2 InflatorsCarry a spare tube


Mountain Bikes and Trails Around Mesa, Arizona

By Tom Canavino  

    If you are seeking an awesome mountain bikes adventure, be sure to check out Mesa Arizona, a favorite for bike trails. For those that don't already know, Mesa was voted one of the top 10 cities for riders, and such accolades don't just come from an obscure publication, but by Forbes magazine itself.
    Therefore, with such high praise, get your bike and head out to a trail, you won't be disappointed. Life is full of fun and adventure for all those who are ready to go for a ride, pun intended.
    For all those that are new to the trails around Phoenix and Mesa you are in for a real treat. The fact that the city offers more than 40 miles of bike lanes paired with close access to a plethora of desert biking trails certainly helps! There is no better way to meander through some of the southwest's most stunning landscapes than using mountain bikes. This could be a fun adventure for the entire family.
    Let everybody grab their bikes and head out for some fun in the sun. Finding affordable trail bikes is now much easier than ever thanks to the internet and innovation in general. You can get quality used bikes without parting with a fortune. Even the brand new ones offer so many choices and incredible bargains, there's really no excuse for not getting yours and joining countless others on the trails.
    You will often find riders zooming down the popular Usery Pass Road toward Usery Mountain Regional Park with rows of saguaro cacti and desert brush at your side. It's a fantastic sight to behold. Many people often overlook the landscape when it comes to mountain biking, it's really one of the best ways to explore the beauty of nature available to us every day.
    The area is full of wonderful residents who are friendly and nicely accommodate you. The area offers unique landscape and scenery not seen anywhere else in the world, never mind just the United States.
    Riding is commonplace and most residents seem to own a bicycle so they can explore the vast terrain. Riders can delve deep into the wilderness or for those that are more conservative, there's always the scenic route along Power Road into the Tonto National Forest.
    In this place, you can ride parallel with the Lower Salt River while capturing some of the best views of the iconic Red Mountain. And, let's not forget that Mesa attracts riders from all over the world via numerous cyclist events and festivals, including El Tour de Mesa. It's a wonderful opportunity to celebrate a sport that has brought so much fun and joy to many folks around the globe.
    The choices are plentiful when it comes to choosing a path and the natural beauty of the gorgeous landscape along old roads and trails will make you want to slow down on the pedals so you can absorb the ambiance, taking in all the fantastic views. Get on your bikes and take the entire family on a fun adventure in Mesa, Arizona.

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