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South Mountain National Trail is a 16 mile heavily trafficked point-to-point trail located near Tempe, Arizona that features beautiful wild flowers and is rated as moderate. The trail is primarily used for hiking and mountain biking and is accessible year-round. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

Length 16.0 mi Elevation gain 2,217 ft Route type Point to Point

Dogs on leash

Hiking

Mountain biking

Views

Wild flowers

Rocky

No shade

Description
Waypoints (0)
Facilities
Contact
Getting There

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.

Parking at the trailhead.

Ranger Office Phone: (602) 262-7393 Hours for all trailhead areas and entrances: 5 a.m. to 7 p.m. (entrance gates close). Trails remain open until 11 p.m.

To get to the Pima Canyon trailhead, take I-10 to the Elliot Road exit, go west on Elliot Road, then north on 48th Street, and west on Pima Canyon Road.

Weather
UV Index
Daylight
Reviews (520)
Photos (2773)
Recordings (543)
Completed (1916)
Fernando Hernandez
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HikingNo shade
View Fernando's Recording
Kyle Glenn
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Hiking

I did the entire National Trail, plus Basura trail. Started on Basura, (parked at 16th St Lot) followed that West to National. Started at 5am. Too late to do this time of year. Bottom line, I Should not have done it today. Total was 19 miles. Left at 5 am, arrived to Pima Trailhead at 11:15am, on the verge of heat stroke. Lesson learned. Was strong until Mile 14. Last 5 were brutal Plus: Saw lots of wildlife. The middle 10 miles saw very few people. Maybe 3. Beautiful hike if a bit cooler.

Christy S.
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Running

My favorite trail so far! I love the variation of terrain and ability to run a lot of it. Beautiful views of the city and cool spots to stop and check things out along the way.

View Christy's Recording
Albert M.
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Hiking

Nice trail with decent views and beautiful vegetation.

Lexi Herr
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HikingRocky

Both me and my husband truly enjoy this trail. today was the second time going on a hike here and not only is the scenery beautiful in our opinion, but have found that the hike is easy-intermediate. We are starting to hike more and have found that this is an excellent starting place for us, as well as a place to continue going further given the large stretch of land here!

Sara Lapp
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Hiking

Great trail lots of option for distance and difficulty.

View Sara's Recording
Annmarie DeAngelis
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HikingRocky
View Annmarie's Recording
Blonde Polack
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HikingNo shade

This 12 miles hike is pretty tough. We went through 4 L of water. reapply sunscreen and wear a hat.

Hoai Le
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarFebruary 1, 2020
Hiking

Great long distance trail in the Phoenix Area. Lots of mountain bikers even in the higher elevation.

Chris Becraft
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Hiking

We loved this trail! Very challenging end to end

View Chris's Recording
Kandice Kardell
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Hiking

Great 16 mile thru hike, not an 8.5 mile loop. The loveliest parts are on the west side where there are far less hikers and mountain bikers. The west side of the trail is a little less kempt in comparison to the highly trafficked East side, but I didn’t find it bothersome or dangerous. It’s a beautiful thru hike, perfect to do during our valley winters.

Kristina Hargrave
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Hiking

awesome trail...great ups and downs

View Kristina's Recording
Diwakar Parajuli
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Hiking

Great hike, with hidden valley and Fatman's path

View Diwakar's Recording
Elizabeth Plata
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Hiking

Excellent

View Elizabeth's Recording
Ian Hervert
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HikingRocky

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

View Ian's Recording
Steve Blom
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Hiking

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

Marty Loehr
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarMarch 13, 2019
HikingNo shade

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.

View Marty's Recording
Jodi Edwards
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Hiking

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

Rosalie Contreras
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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.

Daniel Borkovec
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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.

Chris Newkirk
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A good little trl. Pretty exposed.

Samiyra Nuri
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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.

Jeff Jenkins
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Hiking

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

Teresa M.
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Hiking
Teresa M.
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Hiking
Aaron Cook
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Hiking

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.

k r i s t i n
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarJanuary 5, 2018
Hiking

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.

Court N.
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarNovember 18, 2017
Hiking

Well travelled path. Going in and coming out has wide, moderate incline paths. Rest of trail is narrow and very rocky, calves were screaming. More than 50 percent of people encountered were bikes who, due to the narrowness of the trail, were not great at sharing!

Randy Voigt
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarMarch 26, 2017
Hiking

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

Jim Caruso
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarMarch 14, 2017

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

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