South Mountain Trails (Desert Classic Trail)

MODERATE 32 reviews
#3 of 25 trails in

South Mountain Trails (Desert Classic Trail) is a 5.6 mile heavily trafficked loop trail located near Phoenix, AZ and is rated as moderate. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible year-round. Dogs are also able to use this trail.

5.6 miles 764 feet Loop

dog friendly

hiking

mountain biking

trail running

walking

washed out

trail running
17 days ago

I think it's a better run clockwise with the initial longer slow uphill on the unimproved road before you get to the real hills. Ridge line trail on the way back has some nice short steep climbs and technical downhills to pound your quads.

You can also turn off and run down the wash not be way back if you want to avoid any repeat of the trail. Just turn down the wash and follow the trail signs downhill when you begin the cross back to the initial toad. You will see the parking area pavilion at the bottom and just beyond it you can leave the wash trail for direct access up to the parking lot.

Either way, the ~10k distance is just about right for 1.5 liters of water and when you get back there is water to refill for another loop starting at the same point if you want more distance. There are several less-travelled and shorter loops to choose from as well.

Park entrance closes at 7pm for new entries, but you can leave up until 11pm, allowing you to do night runs if you'd like. Plenty of people on the main trails even up through around 9pm. Not enough to be irritating, but enough for comfort if you're running alone.

Lastly, good AT&T service on the mountain, but no T-Mobile.

hiking
22 days ago

love this trail

hiking
2 months ago

Great hike.

mountain biking
3 months ago

I loved it. Definitely good for beginners

hiking
4 months ago

hiking
4 months ago

This is a great full moon hike! park just outside the entrance and just go.

4 months ago

Nice trail stunning when the cactus are in bloom. Saw three coyotes run across the trail and plenty of other wildlife. Fairly easy with some uphill switchbacks.

5 months ago

hiking
5 months ago

I would not rate this as an easy hike. We followed the map as presented and walked/hiked over 6 miles. It was beautiful and we enjoyed it but if you intend to do the loop I would rate as a moderate plus. Great views and plenty of picture opportunities.

6 months ago

Great views of Phoenix

6 months ago

7 months ago

Just a typical trail. Good change in terrain

8 months ago

Can get very crowded in the evenings.

10 months ago

cross country skiing
1 year ago

Good hiking with 2 dogs.

walking
1 year ago

hiking
1 year ago

Great trail. At the southern end you end up moving to the side a lot for the mountain bikers. And there are a lot of them on the weekend.

hiking
1 year ago

Awesome Trail! Worth checking out.

hiking
1 year ago

Excellent trail for any fitness level. I take the Desert Classic Trail to the Mormon Loop Trail and it's always great to start on a no elevation trail, hike the Mormon Loop Trail, and finish on the Desert Classic trail back to the parking lot. I've taken my dog on the Desert Classic Trail as well. It does get crowded on the weekends so I tend to hike on my off Fridays from work. The Desert Classic Trail is shared by mountain bikers, dog walkers, and hikers who are moving on to other trails in South Mountain Park. There is not a lot of elevation gain from the parking lot to the National Trail or the Mormon Loop trail and I'm not sure about the trail after that since I don't hike past the National Trail or the Mormon Loop Trail.

hiking
1 year ago

Always good for an easier 'walk in the park'. ;o)