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Mountain Biking

The 3 Best Mountain Biking Locations in Scottsdale and Phoenix from Easy to Advanced

The valley is home to one of the most extensive mountain biking networks
anywhere in the U.S. There are hundreds of miles of easy to very difficult trails to explore in and around the region. Here are a few to check out:

1. Easy – Advanced: Brown’s Ranch Trail System
This trailhead accesses an expansive network of diverse trails that make this one of our favorite areas to mountain bike ride in Scottsdale. Most of the trails are hard-packed, decomposed granite, allowing for stability and comfort or speed and excitement. From groomed desert singletrack perfect for an introductory Sonoran Desert mountain bike ride to flowy, windy, and fast trails, you’ll be sure to enjoy the riding at Brown’s Ranch.

  • Difficulty: Beginner-Advanced
  • Recommended Bike: Standard-Performance Hardtail

Address: Brown’s Ranch Trailhead, 30301 N Alma School Pkwy, Scottsdale, AZ 85262

2. Intermediate: McDowell Mountain Regional Park Trails
McDowell Mountain Regional Park has two great trail networks with something for everyone to ride on. Beginners can ride short loops or out-and-backs and those looking for more of a challenge can add some distance by checking out the fast, directional trails of the McDowell Competitive Track.

If you take the Pemberton Trail, get ready to work hard and play hard. You’ll start the ride clockwise up a long, gradual climb on nice singletrack through the McDowell Mountains with monster-sized saguaros on either side of the trail. At the halfway point it’s time to play. Ride downhill on rewarding high speed double track all the way back to the parking lot. Other local favorite trails include the rocky climb up Dixie Mine on the southern side of the
Pemberton Loop or a fun detour up the “Scenic Trail” beginning and ending at the Pemberton trailhead.

  • Difficulty: Intermediate
  •  Recommended Bike: Performance-High Performance Full Suspension

Address: McDowell Mountain Regional Park Trails, 16300 McDowell Mountain Park Dr, Fort
McDowell, AZ 85264

3. Advanced: Gateway Access Area Trails
If highly technical, steep, and rocky trails are your cup of tea, Gateway may be what you are looking for. If your preference is not for challenge and chunk, this is not the ride for you. The Desert Park Trail Loop begins with a rocky climb and provides access to Gateway Loop Trail, Windgate Pass Trail and Tom’s Thumb Trail. Ride a loop or an out-and-back, either way, you’ll have a rewarding (and bumpy) downhill ride on your return. Try not to get distracted
by the McDowell Mountains towering around you!

There are many great and equally challenging options to try from Gateway. Take Paradise Trail south to the Taliesin-Quartz Trail Loop or build a bigger challenge and hit the Double Bypass over Windgate Pass to the east and then back west over Bell Pass.

  • Difficulty: Advanced (Not for beginners)
  • Recommended Bike: Performance-High Performance Full Suspension

Address: Gateway Access Area Trails, 18333 N Thompson Peak Pkwy, Scottsdale, AZ 85255

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