Best Mountain Bike Trails in Arizona

Welcome to Arizona, where the riders are just as daring as the terrain! The great thing is, if you live here, you don’t have to go very far to find a mountain biking trail. From Flagstaff to Tucson and everywhere in between, there are plenty of opportunities to show off your riding skills.

Read Also: The Best Mountain Bike Trails in The US

In the following guide, I will present to you the best mountain bike trails in Arizona and what you can expect to find when you get here. I will also let you know about the characteristics of each.

TL;DR – The Top Mountain Bike Trails in Arizona

Want to get straight to the point and find out what the best mountain bike trails in Arizona are? Below are the top mountain bike trails in Arizona organized by difficulty.

Easy Trails (perfect for beginners and families)

  • Campbell Mesa Trail, Campbell Mesa Trail System
  • Moonrock Trail, Usery Mountain Regional Park
  • Bunny Trail Loop, Fantasy Island Mountain Biking Trails

Intermediate trails

  • Tunnel Vision, Spence Basin
  • Rimview, City of Page
  • Champagne Trail, Laguna Mountains

Difficult trails (perfect for experienced riders)

  • Slim Shady, Village of Oak Creek
  • Badger Trail, Monolith Gardens
  • Eliminator II, South Mountain Park

Easy Trails

These trails are usually marked at the trailhead and display a round, green symbol. Here in Arizona, the fact that you are on a technically easy course does not mean there is no danger.

It is best to steer clear of cactus plants and steep cliffs. And although it is very rare for someone to get bit by a rattlesnake, you should not purposely mess with them. If you do all that, you are well on your way to enjoying a safe adventure here in the wide-open desert.

Campbell Mesa Trail, Campbell Mesa Trail System

Only a few minutes from downtown Flagstaff, this mostly flat collection of trails is great for beginners. However, it has plenty of rock gardens, downed tree branches, and tree roots.

The first third of the trail is a bumpy ride, with some rocks and roots along the way. It is slightly at a decline so that you can pick up a little speed before it levels out again.

The next section has you peddling a little harder before opening up into a vast meadow. This segment is the smoothest and easiest part of the trail. If you are lucky, you may even spot a grazing deer or elk!

  • Web:
  • City: Flagstaff
  • Distance: 6 miles
  • Climb: 368 ft
  • Descent: -367 ft
  • Surface: Dirt, rock gardens, downed trees, roots
  • Configuration: Singletrack

Moonrock Trail, Usery Mountain Regional Park

If you’ve ever been curious about real desert mountain biking, this is the place to go. Only a few miles from Mesa, Arizona, the Usery Mountains offer a vast network of trails for all riding levels.

The Moonrock trail is the most popular with its easy-going flow, mostly downhill. Unlike many other routes in the southwest with deep, sandy areas, the surface here is compact and comfortable to ride.

A smattering of Saguaro cactus guards the outline of the trail as you twist and turn your way through the desert landscape. Birds, rabbits, and other wildlife are abundant here, also. There’s so much to see that you’ll want to go around a second or third time!

Bunny Trail Loop, Fantasy Island Mountain Biking Trails

The truth is, it isn’t easy finding beginner trails in Tucson. That’s because the desert here is brutal. You not only have to watch out for the usual rocks, sand traps, and giant boulders. If you fall one way or the other on any given trail, you’ll end up in a bed of cactus!

Still, I managed to locate Bunny Trail Loop at the Fantasy Island Mountain Bike Park just south of Tucson. It’s perfectly flat all the way around, and it’s nearly free of any obstacles. Besides, it is somewhat wider than most trails in the area, so the turns are a little more forgiving in most sections.

An advanced rider may also enjoy this route. Without the confines of obstacles, you can really turn on the speed and practice your cornering technique. Also, you may cover a lot of open ground in a short amount of time, which is a great way to enjoy the open desert scenery.

  • Web:
  • City: Tucson
  • Distance: 4 miles
  • Climb: 27 ft
  • Descent: -64 ft
  • Surface: Dirt
  • Configuration: Singletrack

Intermediate trails

There is not much in between easy and difficult in Arizona. It can be a bit subjective here. The locals tend to think of trail ratings based on how many hospital visits they cause each year.

Still, there are some transition trails available throughout the state that are reasonably safe. Here are a few of my favorites.

Tunnel Vision, Spence Basin

Prescott is another go-to destination for mountain biking in Arizona. A nice flow through Ponderosa pines around the scenic hill country, Tunnel Vision is an excellent place to transition from beginning rider to intermediate.

Since the trail is in the heart of the Spence basin, you will have to take an easy route from one of the parking areas. A casual starting point will allow you to warm up before tackling this challenging course.

Once you wind through a few hairpin turns while going down a moderate incline, you’ll rifle through a 100-foot tunnel the trail is named after. The next section has you traversing challenging obstacles such as rock outcroppings and tricky creek crossings.

The one-mile straightaway ends with a slight incline for about 500 feet. It then connects to other intermediate trails so you can continue your journey through the basin.

  • Web:
  • City: Prescott
  • Distance: 1 Mile
  • Climb: 214 ft
  • Descent: -139 ft
  • Surface: Dirt, Rock outcroppings
  • Configuration: Singletrack

Rimview, City of Page

Up in the northeast corner of the state, this 10-mile loop circles around the entire city of Page. Although lacking somewhat in features and challenges, the views around Lake Powell are spectacular.

That doesn’t mean there is no danger on the trail. One wrong move in some places, and you could tumble down 100 feet to some jagged rocks below the ridge.

You have to cross a few busy highways during the course, which may be a bit offputting for some riders. Still, Rimview is a nice mixture of scenery and challenges that will satisfy most mountain bikers who happen to be in the area.

  • Web:
  • City: Page
  • Distance: 10 miles
  • Climb: 970 ft
  • Descent: -958 ft
  • Surface: Dirt, slickrock
  • Configuration: Singletrack, primary downhill

Champagne Trail, Laguna Mountains

The Champagne Trail is located near Yuma and is a local favorite. It doesn’t look like much from the top. But this course will challenge you all the way down.

The only negative is, you’ll have to climb a bit to get to it. The locals don’t mind, though; they practically worship this trail for being fast and formidable. It is a true testament to desert mountain biking.

  • Web:
  • City: Yuma
  • Distance: 3 miles
  • Climb: 46 ft
  • Descent: -498 ft
  • Surface: Fine desert gravel, rocks
  • Configuration: Singletrack,downhill

Difficult Trails

Difficult-rated trails are marked with a black diamond and are only for expert, seasoned riders. The most dangerous courses are marked with two black diamonds and represent the most challenging trails.

Slim Shady, Village of Oak Creek

Locals nickname the city of Sedona “Shredona” due to it containing some of the best mountain biking in the southwest. One of the many legendary trails here is Slim Shady, a fast, bi-directional concoction of mother nature’s droll sense of humor.

Suppose you are fit enough to ride it to the top, good for you. But most people have to get off and push about halfway up. Yeah, it’s that steep.

On the other hand, if you are brave enough to ride it down, you may need psychological counseling when reaching the bottom. It’s that fast.

But what makes this trail diamond-rated is the fine dust covering over the slippery rocks. If you make one mistake flying down the mountain, your bike could slip out from underneath you. And there isn’t much that will provide a soft landing, unfortunately.

  • Web:
  • City: Sedona
  • Distance: 2 miles
  • Climb: 344 ft
  • Descent: -147 ft
  • Surface: Dirt, deep sand, rocks, boulders, downed trees
  • Configuration: Singletrack, downhill primary

Badger Trail, Monolith Gardens

The hard part about this fast downhill is negotiating the hairpin turns and switchbacks. As you speed down the hill, you suddenly have to apply the brakes to negotiate each troublesome turn. It can be terrifying.

Once you get past the first third of the trail, the flow gets much better. The straightaways become much longer, and the turns get a lot wider.

You still have to watch the rocks as they pop up at you very quickly. If you allow one to bounce you to the left or the right, even slightly, you will find yourself going off the side of the mountain.

  • Web:
  • City: Kingman
  • Distance: 3 miles
  • Climb: 282 ft
  • Descent: -1,361 ft
  • Surface: Dirt, desert gravel
  • Configuration: Singletrack, downhill primary

Eliminator II, South Mountain Park

Eliminator could very well be the most difficult double-black-diamond trail in Arizona. To say it is insane is an understatement.

This is a hike-a-bike trail, with a lot of effort needed to get to the top. But the effort is worth it since the ride down is fantastic. It’s high up enough that you have a pretty nice view of metro Phoenix.

The thing that makes this narrow trail so dangerous is the exposed spots that lead to several hundred-foot drops. For that reason alone, Eliminator II is only for the most advanced riders. But it is still one of the best mountain bike trails in Arizona.

  • Web:
  • City: Phoenix
  • Distance: 1 mile
  • Climb: 74ft
  • Descent: -1,031 ft
  • Surface: Dirt, rock gardens, boulders
  • Configuration: Singletrack, downhill primary

Leave Me A Comment!

Have you ridden any of the trails above? If you have, I would love to hear what you thought about it! So please leave me a comment below and tell me about your experience riding the mountain bike trails in Arizona.

Are there other trails in Arizona that you think should rather be on my list of bike trails in Arizona? If so, leave me a comment below and tell me about!