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South Mountain National Trail

MODERATE 90 reviews
#12 of 81 trails in

South Mountain National Trail is a 8.5 mile heavily trafficked loop trail located near Tempe, Arizona that features beautiful wild flowers 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 but must be kept on leash.

8.5 miles
1,141 feet

dogs on leash


mountain biking

trail running




wild flowers



The National Trail crosses South Mountain Park from the east to the west ends and intersects with most of the other trails in the park. A very scenic hike with moderate ups and downs along the way. Most of the traffic is on the east half of the trail. From the Pima Canyon trailhead on the east side of the park, take the Pima Wash Trail for about 1.2 miles, and this will meet up with the start of the National Trail. The National Trail skirts the ridges of the park, passing Hidden Valley, Buena Vista Lookout, Chinese Wall, Telegraph Pass, Goat Hill, and finally descends on the west end of the park, ending at San Juan Lookout. There are abandoned mines, petroglyphs, and initeresting rock formations along the way. The views of the Phoenix valley are spectacular.

18 days ago

Great for hike or bike. Easy to moderate hiking. Intermediate to advanced mountain biking.

1 month ago

Great trail with some amazing views. Would like to see some better trail markers to be honest. It was a busy time when I went and had to share the trial with lots of bikers, most of which were nice some that wanted to run you over... if given the option I’d do it again in a heart beat

no shade
2 months ago

I would definitely consider this a moderate in difficulty, not difficult. There are lots of mountain bikers on this trail, and there are parts of the trail that are skinnier with blond turns, so be on the look out. First 1.5(ish) is a dirt road walk which is blah, but the rest of the hike is very beautiful with multiple spots to gaze out at downtown Phoenix and the surrounding mountains. One one suggestion is when you get to the end of the trail, there is a fork that takes you to two different “peaks.” The per the map, it wants you to take the smaller “peak” to the right, but I recommend taking the trail to the left. The ending view point is more grandiose in my opinion.

6 months ago

You feel like you're outside of AZ in some of the cool spots. It feels like there should be water close.

8 months ago

I started hiking South Mountain in June and have loved every minute of it. From the steep climbs to flat ground, I definitely get a good workout. The views are incredible in the early morning hours.

10 months ago

Nice challenge for a beginner level. The Classic Trail rocky terrain made it cool. I hiked today, while cloudy and windy. I will definitely hike this again.

11 months ago

A good little trl. Pretty exposed.

Monday, March 05, 2018

I enjoyed my hike immensely. Not only was I surrounded by the beauty of the desert, I was able to challenge myself physically. I scrambled, jumped, ran, and climbed with a grin. It’s an active trail with lots of bikers so it’s best to keep your wits about you. Most people I passed were polite and the bikers were appreciative when I let them pass.

Friday, February 09, 2018

Challenging right from the start but got easier when you reached the ridge.

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Monday, January 22, 2018

My limited experience with all trails in south mountain there are many mountain bikers. All have been friendly and courteous. Recommend leaving the headphones behind in order to hear bikers on trails.

Friday, January 05, 2018

A great fitness hiking trail. Lots of people and dogs, sometimes coyotes. I love this trail, quick and easy access on days where there isn’t a lot of time to hike. My kiddo and dog love it too.

Sunday, March 26, 2017

My poor rating is a direct result of all of the in different people that bring their dogs and do not clean up after them. Certain times of the year it smells terrible. for some reason on this trail people just don't care. As for the trail take The mountain on the south side of the Pima wash trail and walk along the Ridgeline last dog poop there plus it's a good workout. The trail is actually very well-maintained due to the higher amount of traffic it gets. You need to make ensure to bring enough water for the entire hike. The trail is a pretty easy walk the entire way but the desert will sneak up on you. I have found this is also an excellent trail for night hiking on the mountain. Starting at 6pm on a full moon it is an absolutely breathtaking view of the city the trail is somewhat well lit I had light would be required but what a wonderful trail

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

beautiful scenery, well maintained trails, great views. plenty of options for side hikes.

Monday, February 27, 2017

This is a beautiful trail with alternating terrain. Dry enjoyable.

Friday, February 17, 2017

I did a bit more then map indicates (ends right before Buena Vista lookout) to Telegraph Pass lookout and back. The hiking itself was easy - gradual incline/decline and if you are fit and start early, you may be able to finish entire trail (14 mile one-way). The view was great and weather was nice. I would not give 5 star because the trail itself built for mountain biking and there are too many MTBers. Most of them were very courteous and nice to hikers but couple Red Bull addicts just passing in high speed and I was not feel safe. Just watch out those bikers in this trail.

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Great trail, can run the whole thing.. was 70 degrees and over cast..

Sunday, February 05, 2017

Mostly uphill. Too many slow bilaganas you have to go around. Bring water-which my dumb ass didn't. Started cramping at the end! Good run!

Sunday, September 25, 2016

I did 6 miles this morning. I came from California. I just moved here like a week ago. This trail was awesome and beautiful sightseeing. I can't wait to try the long miles next time.

Tuesday, August 02, 2016

Amazing trail

Monday, May 23, 2016

The cactus were in bloom in March.

Sunday, March 13, 2016

this map isn't true. the full trail is over 15 miles and starts at 35 ave. great hike. there is no water available any where along the trail.

Friday, March 04, 2016


Tuesday, February 16, 2016

This trail is awesome. Lots of great views of he desert and urban areas around Phoenix. Plenty of wildlife as well. Just be prepared to step aside for a lot of mountain bikers.

Sunday, February 07, 2016

I really like the trail's location and the scenery. I'm only giving it 4 stars because with a puppy and a 4 year old child in tow, it's hard to navigate this trail with all of the bikers coming up and down. They do it so quietly and they are moving pretty fast and it's kind of hard to keep the kid and dog on the right side of the trail so as not to block the path for the bikers. I would give this trail 5 stars if I was able to hike it alone or with other adults; no kids and no dogs. Also, with the dog, there is a lot of broken glass on this trail. I have shoes for my dog but it's still disheartening. My kiddo loves the ruins of the buildings that are up there and the view of the valley is awesome!

Sunday, November 29, 2015

My least favorite hike so far. Will have to find a different trail and hope for something better.

Monday, July 20, 2015

Great trail. Runs along the entire ridgeline of the park. I hiked it from the top of Kiwanis to the top of Holbert. Some very nice scenery and views. Bring lots of water.

Thursday, April 02, 2015

I like Holbert-National-Ranger, or maybe Kiwanis. That's a good, reasonably challenging, loop totaling around 7 miles. My first time on Holbert-National-Ranger I nearly died when I ran out of water! That was late June and it was blistering hot. I began and ended on 15th Ave. south of Dobbins. Bad planning on my part. Anyway, that's a great hike, sweeping directly under the radio towers at the top of the mountain. Lots to see and photograph. I will definitely go again.

Monday, March 30, 2015

Went on the trail off of central st, parking was limited but free. Took my two year old and small dog and wife. As we approached higher on the trail, there were a lot of bees swarming which caused us to turn back, so went only for like an hour, but breeze was nice on top of mountain, had to carry my son on my back most the time.

mountain biking
Saturday, November 09, 2013

Probably my favorite trail in the Valley! Lots of technical areas and rock gardens strewn across this 15mi beauty. Not for the beginner biker however.

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