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Level: Intermediate
Length: 9 mi (14.5 km)
Surface: Singletrack
Configuration: Lariat
Elevation: +431/ -453 ft
Total: 227 riders

Mountain Biking Desert Classic

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#20 of 405 mountain bike trails in Arizona
#469 in the world

Trail is relatively flat. A few small climbs and fun little up and downs but overall little elevation change. Trail is very well marked and broken in from high mountainbiking trafic. the trail is riddled with small rocks (up to 12 inches in width/length). The trail tends to be very busy during the weekend. I usually like to catch it early in the morning during the week. The trail is approximately 9 miles out and 9 miles back Good cardio workout.

First added by searsandrewj on Nov 23, 2008. Last updated Apr 28, 2020. → add an update
Before you go
  • Drinking water: unknown
  • Lift service: unknown
  • Night riding: unknown
  • Pump track: unknown
  • Restrooms: unknown
  • Fat bike grooming: unknown
  • E-bikes allowed: unknown
  • Fee required: unknown
This trail information is user-generated. Help improve this information by suggesting a correction.
Getting there
Take Elliott off the 10 and go north on 48th until it bears right toward baseline. Go left at this point then take another quick left (thnik its Pima Canyon Road) toward a small gaurd tower (don't need to stop) and park anywhere on the side or at the end is a small parking lot. Desert Classic trail is to the left of the parking/picnic area.
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Desert Classic Trail map

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Trail conditions

Good (on Mar 9, 2020)
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Desert Classic videos

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Mountain Biking South Mountain Desert Classic…
Mountain Biking South Mountain Desert Classic…
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Mountain Bike Trails Near Phoenix, Arizona

Beginner | 10 mi
Advanced | 5 mi

Rider questions

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  • Christopher M

    Nice to be able to add some miles to a ride if you are hitting up South Mountain. The trailhead is right at the parking area which has maps as well as bathrooms (that are big enough to get changed into/ out of riding clothes in). There are a lot of hikers/ walkers on the trail so ride with caution. Its also very close to downtown Phoenix which makes it a good choice for post work rides. The DC trail is relatively boring compared to many of the South Mountain trails.

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  • Jeff Goldberg

    Great workout trail. It has a little bit of everything. Some good flow sections on the way back to the ramada.

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  • lahrk

    A mix of beginner trail, but some serious downhill and climbs dealing with rock making it intermediate. A fun trail from start to finish.

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  • trinalclub957

    This is one of the best trails in the Phoenix area

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  • Jenny Corso

    A great trail for XC, and a good choice when the other trails on SoMo are covered in hikers. Not very technical, but fun nonetheless.

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  • [email protected]

    Did not like desert classic, it was very boring. I only did this trail because my riding patprtner could not do national so we rode desert classic.

    Update: I went and rode the whole thing with my other friend, so much fun. It's in my top 5 favorite trails. I did the whole loop make sure your legs are fresh and you have water

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  • digicook

    I was introduced to this trail by a friend and I enjoyed the trail so much that I plan on returning and doing the full 9 miles. I had to cut my ride short to make other family activities. I highly recommend this trail if your riding alone or with friends.

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  • 03passat

    This trail gave my 2005 RHCOMP a vertical test that I will always remember.

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  • RyanFPrice

    This is a good beginner trail. Its wide, pretty flat and aside from a few of the washes not very technical.

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  • aaen

    Was looking for something easy to stretch the legs on after riding national the day before and taking an interesting wipeout on the waterfall (still not sure how that happened, basically my front wheel stopped dead and launched me over the handlebars).

    Anyways no real obstacles or technical features in the trailm, except for hikers, dogs and horse droppings. Few good spots one can catch some air at the entrances to washes or on a few spots in the trail that has some flow.

    Overall a good trail to introduce someone to desert riding before hitting up the hard stuff on SoMo. End to end should be about 2-3hrs depending on fitness level.

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  • boleslav

    went to phoenix for thanksgiving and decided to check out a few trails. weather was awesome in comparison to the 30 degree highs at home. trail was littered with small rocks in the washes and alot of hikers and sight see ers on thanksgiving day. still had a great time and at no point felt over challanged. a great expierence for a 44 year old beggining mountian biker. would like to start the trail from the north end next time.

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  • Bluff Rider

    Rode this on vacation in Feb 2014. The Desert Classic is just that, a "classic desert" AZ trail! Nice flow, some tech rocky sections, good length around 9 mi. Not much climbing, but enough rhythm to get your heart pumping! Rent a Santa Cruz mtb from Action Rideshop in Mesa and enjoy this great trail on a quality mtb! I did, and now I own one...

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  • BWWise

    At 47 and getting back into mountain biking after 20 years, the Desert Classic has been a challenge. I have yet to conquer it completely; however, being so close to my house with great views and wildlife I'm sure it will be conquered in the next 6 months or so with frequent riding. This trail is well worth the time and has the feel of being much more out of the city than it is.

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  • mtbiker1300

    Grat technical ride had a lot of fun a good intermeadate ride if you want to do it in the summer though loom out! :)

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  • stumpyfsr   ✓ supporter

    Nice easy trail with up and down and some rocks. better to ride it in the morning or evening, when it's not hot. beginner friendly.

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  • [email protected]

    The trail was in good condition, lots of fun little ups and downs, but very busy. A great trail if you're close to the city, but there are better rides out there.

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  • abegold

    The trail parallels South Mountain in Ahwatukee, south of Phoenix. It rolls thru numerous arroyos as it gently climbs. The trails on the mountain, such as National are more tech than this easy wide path. Scenery is pretty, best ridden in late autumn, winter or spring.

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  • Casey_Anderson

    I have ridden this trail a few times when visiting Phoenix on business -- I think the locals may not fully appreciate it because there are so many amazing places to ride in the area. I thought the ride was a lot of fun -- fast, relatively flat for the most part with several sudden descents into gullies, etc., with beautiful desert scenery.

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