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.
4 Things You Should Know Before Riding in the Phoenix Mountain Preserve:
1) Hard-packed rocky sections make up most of the terrain in the Phoenix Mountain Preserve. 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.
2) Many trails within the preserve may seem difficult to follow as they are not well-signed or unnamed, but nearly every trail will reconnect to Trail 100. Trail 100 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. Unfortunately, these trails are not well-signed so 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) 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 Mountain Preserve are multi-use and you will likely see many hikers and other mountain bike riders along the trails, so remember to smile, say hello, and announce your presence.
4) Prepare to work yourself and your bike on your mountain bike ride in the Phoenix Mountains Preserve. A hard and fun ride in PMP deserves celebrating with a victory beer and grub. The Phoenix Mountains Preserve is close to many bars and restaurants and the 51 freeway provides easy access to central Phoenix. Check out Culinary Dropout for post-ride games and pretzels with cheese fondue, North Mountain Brewing for a cozy atmosphere and excellent beer, 32 Shea for trendy cafe bites, or OHSO’s 40th St. location for a delicious beer brunch (bring the dogs, too).
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 AOA’s mountain bike rentals before you go!