Explore the most popular mountain biking trails in Phoenix Sonoran Desert Preserve with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

I think this is not an easy trail but moderate. maybe its easy if you are an avid hiker. the trail was very rocky and mostly steep; I did the loop clockwise. my device measured 5.3miles and took me 2 hours to complete the loop. 5 min before I arrived I asked myself why I drove 40mins for a trail thats has no shade, but then I started to see so many air balloons on the sky. They were lots bigger seeing by eyes. they were there early in the morning till around 7am. I also saw a big rattle snake was rattling and camouflage on the ground but he was climbing up on the mountain not on the trail. Overall this trail does not worth the drive but worth for one time experience.

My favorite moderate trail for a morning hike

A good challenging hike in the summertime. Last time I was here, I only did the loop and Dixie Summit.
This time I did both summits and the loop. Started getting a little hot and worn out towards the end of the hike, but it was worth it. A lot of good up and down on this one and pretty scenery. Just watch out for all of the Cholla cactus!

Hard hike. Elevation changes.

Well marked, easy to moderate with great vistas along the trail. Many bikers not aware of the right of way culture.

Decided to hike this trail for the first time on Labor Day. Unfortunately, got a late start and it was HOT. There is no shade to speak off - only the partial shade of a few Palo Verde trees along the way. I would recommend this trail if you want something close to the Phoenix metro area where you would get a decent workout. However, the views are nothing special and not much variety in plant life...mostly cholla, saguaro, and Palo Verde trees, with an occasional cactus barrel and ocatillo.

Nice parking lot and bathrooms! Also have dog bags ready if you forgot. We brought our golden retriever on a fairly hot day. Didn’t hike too much due to the heat but it was a very easy trail to follow!

Our favorite trail in Phoenix.

Set out this morning to do the desert tortoise loop, accidentally took the turn up the hill. Not even mad! This trail is gorgeous, with beautiful vista views. Even with the clouds I got a great view of the sunrise over the mountains. Saw 3 other people the entire time, and it was on our way down the loop. Watch out for cholla cactus on the trail, there are definitely *a lot* of them, and if you're hiking with your dog like I was, you're not going to want any of them in their pads. Easy enough to avoid though.

First time there yesterday. Great hike for rehabilitating my knee. Good workout and great views. It’s going to be a regular for me.

Great hike. Lucky that it was a cloudy day. Good elevation gain, and enough switchbacks to keep the hike interesting.
Few people on the hike, so was peaceful. Look out for lizards.

This is a top 5 hike for me right now. Great views, good mix of incline and flat. Not too crowded, well maintained site with bathrooms at the trailhead. Good hike for 1.5 - 2 hours.

I drive 20 miles to hike this; it's worth it. Great mix of incline and flat, you can do the loop only with only one or both summits. The first part (Hawk's Nest) is most difficult part in my opinion. Would hike here every day if I lived closer. Not much loose rock and no scrambling. Great views, the east view is basically open desert. There is shade for 1/2 the hike if you go in the morning.

Easy Hike. Great Mountain Views. Easy to Moderate. Very quiet, not too popular, for those looking for a peaceful hike.

Great hike! Good trail for bringing your dog. I would say this is a moderate trail, not easy. Great to see the owl’s nest at the beginning and the old crashed SUV at the end. Awesome hike

Baby owls were super cute! Did not realize it gets so hot quickly, we started our hike 9ish and it got too hot too soon

This is my preferred trail in north Phoenix. Never too crowded and feel like you've left the city soon after starting.

Awesome. Saw the new baby owls. Mama enjoying the sunrise. Balloons right above. Another beautiful morning in the desert.

No shade be prepared. Great trail that is wide enough to wall side by side. Not to strenuous, conducive for talking and actually site seeing. You don’t have to focus on your footing. Great option to take dogs, good distance even without the summits. I went clockwise, ran a bit and did the two summits in 2 hours flat.

really nice hike! People on here said to took about 2 hours but i finished it and the connector in 1hr and 20min. But, that is just because i am a trail runner so it was not long. Only had very minimal periodical stops. Overall, nice hike. I'm more for difficulty but, this hike is beautiful non-the same. You'll enjoy it! It is worth the drive. And it is free no fee to hike it (the best pat lol)

mountain biking
7 months ago

7 months ago

very easy to follow, nice trail head. A good hike

Excellent trail, plenty of up and down terrain.. beautiful views, so clearly se to the city

Nice views with reasonable elevation, especially at the two summits. You can expand this hike by using adjacent trails. Restrooms and water at trail head.

It was a great Saturday morning walk with the dogs but was crowded, lots of bikes. Will come back during the week and check out the traffic.

Dependable, go-to trail. Add the Dixie Mountain Summit if you’re wanting a little extra kick in the workout. Nice views and moderately trafficked. Good variation and many different trail options/combinations you could do!

Long gentle inclines that skirt two summits. If you want more challenge, take the Spurs up to the summits. Mostly away from civilization and noise so very relaxing.

This is the second hike I have done in this area (Go-John was the first). I enjoyed this one more because of the variety of vistas. Very cool to see an owl in nest along the Hawks Nest trail leading to the Dixie Mountain loop. The extra 0.4 each way to the summit is worthwhile.

I like the Desert Vista loop trail. Very quiet typically and not a lot of traffic. The climb to the summit half way in, which is a side trail off the main loop trail, is worth the aerobic effort.

It’s a moderate trail due to the up and down nature of the loop and the distance. Clean restroom at the trailhead.

A great easy to moderate trail with facilities and lots of parking at the trailhead. We want to go back with our bikes.

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