Mountain Bike Phoenix Mountains Preserve

Feb 2019

4 Things to Know Before Mountain Biking the Phoenix Mountains Preserve:

Mountain biker at Phoenix Mountain Preserve.

1) Not for Beginners

The terrain in the Phoenix Mountains Preserve is made up of mostly hard-packed rocky sections. If you are just starting to get into the sport, you may want to warm up on more forgiving trails as this area is not for the beginner rider.


2) Know Your Route

Many trails within the preserve may seem difficult to follow as they are not well-signed or even go unnamed, but nearly every trail will reconnect to Trail 100. Trail 100 (also officially named the Charles M. Christenson Memorial Trail) is the most well known trail within the preserve, but there are many side trails (220, 1A, 1B, 220A, etc.) to explore if you’re looking for more technical and challenging terrain. We recommend doing some research on Strava before you go and try to follow a fellow rider’s previous route. Alternatively, a number of local shops offer informal group rides in the Phoenix Mountains Preserve. A quick call to either Shadetree Bikes or Cranky Monkey will be the best way to find out if there’s a scheduled ride this week.


3) Know the Rules

Before you ride, be courteous and know the rules. Bikers always yield to horses and hikers, and hikers always yield to horses. All of the trails in the Phoenix Mountains Preserve are multi-use and you will likely see many hikers and other mountain bike riders along the trails. Remember to smile, say hello, and announce your presence.


4) Prepare to work yourself

…and your bike on a mountain bike ride in the Phoenix Mountains Preserve. A hard and fun ride in the preserve deserves celebrating with a victory beer and grub. The preserve is close to many bars and restaurants and the 51 freeway provides easy access to central Phoenix. Check out Press Coffee (coming spring 2019!) for a quick pick-me-up, Lovecraft Ale House and Smoke Kitchen for droolworth meats, 32 Shea for trendy cafe bites, or OHSO’s 40th St. location for a delicious beer brunch (bring the dogs, too).


Where is the Phoenix Mountains Preserve?

The Phoenix Mountains Preserve is a group of parks among the Phoenix Mountains that are nestled within the Phoenix metropolitan area, giving the desert room to spread out into many secluded valleys full of amazing multi-use trails. The preserve includes many parks and peaks such as Shadow Mountain, Lookout Mountain, North Mountain Park- which provides access to Shaw Butte and North Mountain, and the Phoenix Mountains Park and Recreation Area and Dreamy Draw Recreation Area- which surround the base of Piestewa Peak. Of all these parks, all except a few summit trails allow mountain biking! With multiple major highways (51, 202, 101) surrounding the Phoenix Mountain Preserve, you can get there easily from Scottsdale and Phoenix hotels.


Where to start your ride?

The best known trail in the Phoenix Mountains Preserve is called Trail 100. It stretches across the preserve from Tatum Boulevard in the east to 7th Ave in the west and can be accessed from many different points. A few of the best places to start a ride through the Phoenix Mountain Preserve are at the 40th St. Trailhead, the North Mountain Visitors Center, or Dreamy Draw Recreation Area.


Surrounded by civilization, each trail in the Phoenix Mountains Preserve will give you pristine 360-degree city views while you’re crushing the trails. If you’re looking to ride here, be sure to check out our mountain bike rentals before you go!