Nestled amidst the picturesque backdrop of Phoenix, Arizona, the Estrella Mountain Park's biking trails are a true testament to the region's diverse landscape. Merging the raw beauty of the Arizonian desert with adrenaline-inducing tracks, this route promises to keep the pedals turning and the heart racing.
The trail network here comprises three main loops: the Junior Loop, the Long Loop, and the Technical Loop. All of them begin from the parking lot, journeying through the first half-mile before branching off.The Long Loop, extending 9.5 miles, is a harmonious blend of single and double tracks. With 788 feet of elevation gain, riders traverse washes, and small passes, presenting a mix of mild climbs and fun descents. The loop becomes particularly thrilling with its rocky and technical descent. However, anticipate sections laden with loose rocks and sandy riverbed-type crossings. As some cyclists mention, it's a fantastic scenic trail overlooking the Phoenix International Raceway, though it can get slightly challenging due to the washed-out sections.For those who fancy a more challenging experience, the Technical Loop beckons. Clocking in at 5 miles, this route, although described as more "technical," doesn't deviate much from the challenge posed by the Long Loop. Both these loops have their fair share of loose rocks and dry patches, making them worth multiple visits.However, if you're just easing into mountain biking or introducing a newbie to the sport, the Junior Loop might be the best bet. Covering a distance of 1.5 miles, it's a short yet enjoyable ride that introduces riders to the desert's landscape without overwhelming them.
For travelers from Phoenix, take the I-10 westbound and exit at Phoenix International Raceway, possibly marked as 118th Avenue. Keep heading south, crossing the Gila River, with the Raceway visible in the foreground. Go past the Raceway and turn left at the sign indicating Estrella Mountain Park's competitive loop. Trailhead signs will guide the rest of the way. Note that there's a fee system based on the honor code during weekdays. Suggested fee amounts are $5 for cars or $2 for those riding in.
The consensus among riders is clear: the Estrella Mountain Park trails offer an easy, scenic experience ideal for all levels. It's more than just a biking expedition; it's a journey through the vast expanses of Phoenix's desert, peppered with challenges that test skill and stamina. Whether you're a beginner looking for a smooth ride, an expert chasing technical thrills, or someone in between, Estrella awaits. Happy riding!